The Top 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies of 2017, Ranked From Good To Best

Best Sci Fi Movies of 2017
I just cannot get enough of this shot by Roger Deakins from Blade Runner 2049

What were the best Sci Fi Movies of 2017?

When looking at all the fantastic science fiction movies that came out in 2017 it is both hard and easy to rate them. I would have loved to include some shorts like Neil Blomkamp’s RAKKA, but those are hard to judge against full length movies. Here are my top picks:

10. Downsizing

Starting with a funny little movie, Downsizing by Alexander Payne, it was a movie that was enjoyed by critics, but left audiences either confused or amused. Going along the lines of being a dramedy, this movie leads audiences on path of social satire.

A therapist undergoes a new therapy to shrink himself to four inches tall in order to help the overpopulation problem and so that he (Matt Damon) and his wife(Kristen Wig) can live a comfortable, better life.

It uses the shrinking as the mcguffin to start the plot, which is really typical of some sci fi flicks and it uses the shrinking to full effect with giant objects and people getting drinks from a tipped over vodka bottle, which is just fun. It is fun to have Matt Damon make the best of this new experience, while also juggling his wife’s feelings alongside fellow shrunken people. There are a lot of characters, which keep this concept from growing too stale too fast, but also makes it hard for the audience to track. The movie does promise a lot and attempts to deliver on those promises, while incorporating some themes about consumption and materialism. A decent movie that closed out 2017.

9. Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant brings viewers back to Ridley Scott’s Alien universe, while also putting it back on track after Prometheus. It is by no means a perfect movie or even specifically interesting, other than we finally get to find out what happened to David (Michael Fassbender) from the previous movie.

A colony ship bound for an uncharted world stumbles upon a paradise planet on their way. Little do they know the monsters that await them there…

Unlike its predecessor, Covenant brings back some of that good old monster horror that was lacking more than a little. Some of this movie goes through the familiar beats that followers of the franchise will enjoy, but what really carries this movie is Michael Fassbender as he plays another android in the form of Walter. I wish I could say more about this, but the appearance of the alien as we’ve seen from the trailers is as truly terrifying as it is expected. Overall, a decent entry into the franchise.

8. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets to some critics was a beautiful mess and sadly I wasn’t able to see it in theaters when it first came out. I was able to watch this on-demand. The reason why this is ahead of the other two films on the list for me is the visuals. I cannot get enough of this world. Luc Besson directed one of the best science fiction pulp films with The Fifth Element and he returns to awesome effect.

Alpha, the city of a thousand species, is being threatened by an unknown threat. Operatives, Valerian and Laureline, have been dispatched to identify the force in order to keep Alpha and maybe even the galaxy safe.

The first fifteen minutes of this film could honestly serve as a short fiction that does a great job of telling a story without any understandable dialogue. We start with watching an alien on a beautiful ocean world that ends up utterly destroyed by the end. And this only sets the stage of what ends up being this space-operatic adventure where we jump from world to world, reality to reality on what is an utterly wild eyecandy ride.

7. The Discovery

Netflix had a decent run of films this year and lucky for us, there were some science fiction gems that found their way onto my list. Discovery is a quiet film that received a lot of mixed reviews, but I appreciated this film, purely on the basis of how it incorporates people into technology, but not overwhelming the characters.

Set roughly two years after the afterlife has been scientifically proven. The scientist behind the discovery, played by Robert Redford, has a son (Jason Segal) who is not too sure if this breakthrough is that it’s all cracked up to be. Mara Rooney plays a woman, who comes onto the scene for her own reasons of exploring the afterlife.

This is one of those movies that is purely an exploration of an idea through the lens of science fiction. What if we knew of the afterlife and how would that impact us on our day to day? Pushing towards a more existential or philosophical bounds, The Discovery wants to thrill us with understanding ourselves in a finite experience and entertaining the thought of what comes after. Segal and Rooney have a great chemistry on screen and really carry the drama and tension through the movie.  Any lover of science fiction should give it a look.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

James Gunn returns with another bombastic installment ot the Marvel franchise with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The jokes fall a little more flat than first, but given what an incredible hit the first film was, that was a high bar to hit.

The Guardians must fight to stay together as they begin to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s parentage.

This list would not be complete if I left this film off it, and even though I overall enjoyed it far less than the first, I still found it to be a lot of fun. What struck me, was how much more cosmic this film felt, and we were finally able to see that sure this group of oddballs and rejects are endearing together, but could they be endearing by themselves. This movie does a lot of pushing and pulling apart of characters before we even get close to the climax. All of the actors provide their own brand of humor that will tickle just about anyone’s fancy and the adventure itself is as zany and off the wall as the first. Overall, another great installment from James Gunn.

5. Marjorie Prime

Marjorie Prime was a movie that slipped under the radar for most in 2017, myself included, but it takes a place on the ranking here, because it is a great existential science fiction movie. This indie film, directed by Michael Almereyda, was a hit among critics and viewers alike.

A company offers a service, where it can create a holographic recreation of a deceased loved ones allows a woman(Lois Smith) come face-to-face with a younger avatar of her dead husband(Jon Hamm).

What’s great about this movie is that it centers on these two individuals, if we want to call the hologram of Jon Hamm an “individual.” Almereyda keeps the focus on Hamm as the lone “special effect” amid everything else that seems so modern. The film continually asks the reader if our memories are as great as we think they are, when faced with a creation that is supposed to be a mirror of the original. The audience joins Smith and her daughter (Geena Davis) as the widow spends her last remaining days with this hologram and as Davis wrestles with her hatred for the artificial recreation of her father. Overall, a truly cerebral film that should have never been passed over.

4. War of the Planet of the Apes

The final entry to the revamped Planet of the Apes came to a close this summer and this final installment had more than enough bang for its buck. This film closes the chapter on Caesar and his group of apes, which is both beautiful and sad, considering what a masterful job Andy Serkis has continued to do as the motion capture actor behind the CGI created hero.

We find Caesar and his group have made a home in Northern California and have attempted to remain isolated from the rest of the world. When humans strike a brutal blow against the apes, Caesar embarks on his own quest of vengeance, while attempting to cling to his ideals what have brought him this far.

As a finale, this movie holds a lot of emotional weight, which I believe director Matt Reeves is able to achieve through the painful loss of some characters, while giving us Caesar to root for through all of this. It is hard to imagine how a chimp can endear such emotion, but Serkis’ work goes without precedent. Woody Harrelson’s performance as a vengeful colonel is almost equally great, and provides a fantastic opposite for Caesar to bounce off of. Followers of the franchise should and will have obviously seen this film, but seeing the other previous two films will help, in receiving that full emotional impact.

3. Okja

Another Netflix backed movie, Okja, directed by Joon-ho Bong(Snowpiercer) is a fantastic, contemporary discussion of our culture. Starring Twilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, both who gave stellar performances, this film tackles animal cruelty in a sometimes humorous, but ultimately heart shattering way.

A young girl goes out on her own to risk her own life  to stop a multinational company from kidnapping and using her best friend, the amazing, almost one of a kind beast, Okja.

On its face, this movie is seemingly pretty simple and possibly derivative of other social message films, but Bong took what could be seen as a common tale and made it absurd. Twilda plays the megalomaniac, CEO Lucy Mirando, who is after the rare genetically altered beast, Okja. Seo-Hyun Ahn, plays and emotional performance as Mija, the little girl that dares to go against this gigantic company. The way the story plays out, it builds its message slowly until by the end it is very much in your face, but if it doesn’t bring a tear by the end, then I”m not sure you have a heart.

2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Who would have thought that a Star Wars movie could be so contentious at the tail end of 2017? Star Wars: The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson, truly surprised us with divided fans in a way that had not been seen since the prequels, but as you can tell by the number 2 spot here, I was a huge fan.

Picking up where The Force Awakens left off, we find our heroes scattered. Rey goes to train under Luke Skywalker, who becomes increasingly disturbed by her powers, but also restless in training a new generation of Jedi. The Resistance meanwhile, prepares for another clash with the First Order.

Rian Johnson proved that Star Wars can be unique again, with his subversive use of tropes and how he took expected story elements and inverted them. Without spoiling anything, Johnson encourages his viewers to realize that the Star Wars universe is so much more than what we have come to expect. And he continues to play with these themes against awesome cinematic backdrops as his characters come together only to be split part again by conflict. This is Star Wars after all. Overall, a thrilling and exciting middle installment to the new trilogy and you would have to be hiding under a rock to miss it.

1. Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is by far the cream of the crop for me this year. It’s hard for me to say if this movie outshines the original, but it surely does everything right as a sequel, building upon what has already been laid down in the first movie, while exploring themes and elements without retreading the same ground.

We watch Agent K, a blade runner, as he is tasked with hunting down the last of a new set of Replicants, the Nexus 8’s. Little does he realize that he soon stumbles onto a plot that could threaten the status quo and he is swept up into intrigue and mysteries that will lead him to search for the former blade runner Rick Deckard, who has been missing for 30 years.

After watching this movie, it's no surprise why it has won nominations for Best Production Design or Best Visual Effects. Roger Deakins totally deserves to finally win his Oscar after being nominated 13 times previous to this. Everything about this movie seems to have been made with incredible care and passion. Movie director Villeneuve had a hard act to follow after his beloved 2016 hit Arrival, but 2049 totally hits the ball out of the park. Between the Hans Zimmer soundtrack, the jaw-dropping cinematography of Deakins, masterful acting done by Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, and a carefully plotted narrative, Blade Runner 2049, is a must watch.

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Always fascinated by the night sky, Alex has spent plenty of time developing and writing stories about rocketing to space. When he'd rather stay planet-side, he enjoys an ice cold PBR.
Gamer Since: 1998
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: World of Warcraft: Legion
Top 3 Favorite Games:Stellaris, Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void, Mass Effect 2
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