The beauty of sci-fi is that it can permeate pretty much any genre of movie. Yes, you have your hard sci-fi with a Ray Bradbury-style style look at space or the future, but science fiction is really a sub-genre of speculative fiction.
There are plenty of brilliant movies that ponder a question and hold a fascinating (and sometimes frightening) mirror up to the way we use technology, more than the average person could ever watch. With that in mind, we want to help you only treat your eyes to the top sci-fi movies that the best streaming services have to offer.
Here are 5 movies with a coveted 90%+ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, an undoubted sign of quality whatever universe you're from.
1. Source Code
- Streaming on: Netflix (UK), Max (US)
One of the main reasons a list like this is needed. At first glance Source Code looks like a fairly by-the-numbers thriller, but give it a chance.
Jake Gyllenhal wakes up on a train, not knowing where he is or who he is. Then, 8 minutes later, the train explodes, killing pretty much everyone on board. But then... he wakes up and does it all again.
Colter Stevens to give Gyllenhal's charactter his full name, is actually a soldier who has been tasked with reliving the build-up[ to the attack over and over again until he can find the perpitrator. Not to prevent the attack, for it's all in the past, but to prevent a follow up attack.
It's a superbly original film woth a brilliant premise and much more than meets the eye, and you won't regret watching.
2. They Cloned Tyrone
- Streaming on: Netflix
This Netflix original is low-key one of the best movies released in 2023. John Boyega plays a low-life criminal who stumbles onto a conspiracy way beyond his pay grade.
Teaming up with a local pimp (a hilarious Jamie Foxx) and one of his girls (Teyonah Parris), our trio of unlikely heroes realise that life will never be the same and that no one is innocent in a government cover-up of the highest order.
With the name of the film, it's no spoiler to reveal that you can expect plenty of bizarre clone shenanigans as well as some of Jamie Foxx's finest work. One of the biggest strengths of sci-fi is its capacity for social commentary and underneath all of the goofy fun, you'll find plenty of that too. They Cloned Tyrone was Juel Taylor's directorial debut and marks him out as one to watch in the future.
3. Edge of Tomorrow
- Streaming on: Netflix (UK), Hulu, Max (US)
We'll never stop droning on about Edge of Tomorrow until they hurry up and make the long touted sequel.
Tom Crusie stars as an unusually inept officer demoted to the frontlines in humanity's war with the mysterious alien 'mimics'. After seeming meeting his maker, he wakes again like nothing ever happened. And again, and again, and again.
Much like a video game, he makes it further and further throught the battle each time, but it isn't until he teams up with a renowned hero (Emily Blunt) that he starts to make real progress and put his gift to real use.
This is a genuinely superb sci-fi/action mashup that makes for great popcorn viewing , and unusually given its subject matter it actually has sense of humour too.
- Streaming on: BBC iPlayer (UK), Rent on Amazon, Apple TV+ (US)
Another Duncan Jones film (he also directed Source Code) Moon is again a brilliantly fresh story. Sam Rockwell (one of the most underrted actors around) plays Sam, the sole human inhabitant of a moon base harvesting fuel from the lunar soil. With the rest of the system automated, Sam is on a three year contract which when it expires will let him go home to see his wife and daughter.
Just days away from freedom, Sam's crippling loneliness has him hallucinating, and a sudden accident leaves him questioning exactly what is going on. A great example of sci-fi not needing a massive scale and eye-watering budget.
- Streaming on: Sky (UK) Netflix (US)
And finally another time travel caper, this time with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Plus Emily Blunt again! How poetic for a film all about time loops. With Knives Out creator Rian Johnson on writer-director duties, you should already know you're in for a bit of a head-scratcher.
Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is a 'Looper' a professional assassin tasked with killing his targets in the past, because in 2074 it has become too much of a faff. But with his chosen career he knows that there will come a day that he has to off himself.
Cue multiple timelines and paradoxes. Imagine Back to the Future meets Inception and you're mostly there. It's a real thinker but that's by no means a bad thing. Give it a chance please.