Christmas, who needs it? Christmas movies especially are an acquired taste of sickly sweet. If you aren't feeling all warm and mushy inside this year, then don't force it. Swap the same old festive flicks for some serious sci-fi.
Let's be honest, Santa is arguably the first bit of science fiction. One man going to every house in the world in one night? Without a Tardis that would be impossible. Here are 5 sci-fi movies to help you avoid Christmas overload, and where to find them across the best streaming services.
1. District 9
A unique movie from Neil Blomkamp, District 9 is an almost mockumentary-style movie about a fictional Johannesburg ghetto used to house aliens (the titular ninth district).
Although darkly funny, substitute the word prawn for immigrant or a variety of slurs and you have a clear and powerful metaphor for discrimination, especially considering the South African setting.
We follow Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) as he is tasked with relocating the aliens into an even more restrictive area, but things quickly start going wrong. This is a brilliant movie that every sci-fi fan needs to watch.
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
One of my all-time favourite movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a special piece of storytelling that we can all relate to. We've done things we wish we could forget, but Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufmann ponder a world where we can we erase entire people from our lives.
It sounds like an episode of Black Mirror but this movie is also surprisingly sweet, it's like a rom-com in places and one of the few films that can make me go from feeling warm and fuzzy inside to ice cool in moments. You won't stop thinking about it long after the credits roll and I love it.
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet lead a superb cast that also features Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Dunst. What more could you possibly want?
- Streaming on: Apple TV+
A 2023 effort you may not have heard about, FIngernails stars two of my favourite actors Riz Ahmed and Jessie Buckley. That should be enough to persuade you to tune in but if you need more, let me give you more.
This is another sci-fi/romance (what can I say I'm a sucker) set in a world where couples can test their compatibility by simply removing a fingernail, it seems like love has been solved with science. But it's never that simple.
Buckley's Anna has passed the test with her boyfriend already, but when she meets Amir (Ahmed), she starts to doubt whether you can really have empirical evidence of love.
A gentler sci-fi as a whole, do be warned there is lots of fingernail abuse, you'll want to treat your digits to a manicure after.
4. The Running Man
From a new slice of sci-fi to a classic now. The Running Man is a 1987 cult movie based loosely on a Steven King short story and boasting some of Arnie's finest work.
This is a gloriously 80's take on dystopian fiction. Arnie is a 'Runner' trapped on a gameshow that's far deadlier than your average episode of Deal or no Deal. He has to evade trained killers/entertainers dubbed 'stalkers' out to murder him for bloodsport.
It's incredibly cheesy, gory and full of atrocious one liners, and that's why I love The Running Man so much. Plus it's as relevant as ever.
5. Edge of Tomorrow
Groundhog Day meets Independence Day is quite the pitch, but Edge of Tomorrow delivers on its promise. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are superb in this action epic. In a world with aliens on the brink of total victory over humanity, Cruise's Bill Cage is a completely inept glorified pencil pusher sent to the frontline.
Needless to say he is almost immediately killed, but then wakes up when the day began. Stuck in a loop, he seeks out both a way to end the cycle, and how to end the war.
This is brilliant movie that I had absolutely no expectations going into and came out of demanding a sequel, which has been reportedly in development for far too long.