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More Sci-Fi Movies I Like

In a continuing series, I discuss more sci-fi movies that I think are objectively awesome. These movies are mostly before 2000 except the first Resident Evil movie.

Sci-Fi Movies - 1. Sphere (1998 film)

Just as Dark City warped our perception of reality, Sphere takes us on a mind-altering descent into the depths of consciousness and existence. Released in 1998, this sci-fi thriller delves into the mysteries of artificial intelligence, human nature, and the very nature of reality itself.

The eponymous sphere in the Sphere movie

The film opens with four experts in their fields – a physicist, a psychologist, a mathematician, and a philosopher – mysteriously summoned to a remote underwater research facility. 

They are tasked with investigating an alien spacecraft retrieved from the ocean floor. But what they find within is not just technology beyond comprehension, but a living, breathing entity that challenges their understanding of everything they thought they knew.

Killer jellyfish in Sphere movie

As the team interacts with the sphere, the lines between reality and simulation blur. Memories become unreliable, identities shift, and the very fabric of their perceived world unravels. 

The film masterfully crafts a sense of claustrophobia and paranoia, mirroring the characters' own internal struggles as they grapple with the unknown.

Sphere is more than just a sci-fi spectacle. It's a philosophical exploration of consciousness, free will, and the nature of being. 

The film raises profound questions about what it means to be human, the limitations of our understanding, and the potential dangers of delving too deeply into the unknown.

The film boasts a powerhouse cast who deliver captivating performances. Dustin Hoffman leads the team as the brilliant but troubled physicist, Jeff Goldblum brings his signature eccentricity to the mathematician, and Sharon Stone shines as the enigmatic psychologist. Each character grapples with their demons and motivations, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.

Sphere may not have achieved the same level of mainstream recognition as Dark City, but it has garnered a devoted cult following for its unique blend of philosophical sci-fi and psychological thriller.

Its exploration of timeless questions about the human condition and the nature of reality continues to resonate with audiences today.

So, if you're looking for a film that will challenge your preconceptions, bend your mind, and leave you pondering the mysteries of the universe and our place within it, then descend into the depths of Sphere. You won't emerge unchanged.

2. Galaxy Quest (1999)

A light-hearted take on Star Trek, Galaxy Quest is as Seth MacFarlane would say " A loving homage" to Star Trek. Even the name of the show is identical to that of Star Trek. Tim Allen plays the lead role in this sci-fi comedy where an actor playing a starship captain is mistaken for the real-life thing.

NSEA-Protector Spaceship in Galaxy Quest

Aliens then appear of out nowhere to kidnap Commander Taggart played by Jason Nesmith in turn played by Tim Allen. The race of aliens known as Thermians have based their entire technology on the fictional concepts of the Galaxy Quest show. Such technological adaptation is a major plot hole but it is so entertaining that you side-step this completely.

The cast has a lot of familiar faces from Tim Allen in the lead to Sigourney Weaver as the eye candy on both levels of the movie, Alan Rickman, Rainn Wilson, and more. Justin Long plays the role of a fan named Brandon who helps Tim Allen's Nesmith defeat the alien Big Bad with an interstellar Mac-Guffin.

Robin Sachs as General Sarris in Galaxy Quest

The special effects, both CGI and practical are good for the time and have aged well too. My favorite aspect of this production is that it is a simple and unpretentious movie that you can watch with your family. There is a smattering of everything you would expect from an action movie - sacrifice, comedic timing, great quotes, and a good enough Big Bad.

This movie is a meta-commentary on the Trekkie culture that treats it with the reverence and love that Star Trek fans would expect. Watch this movie if you want a light action comedy sci-fi movie to brighten your day.

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3. Screamers (1995)

Released in 1995, Screamers offers a chilling premise: self-replicating robots designed for war evolve into deadly hunters, threatening the very humans who created them. Peter Weller delivers a gritty performance as a soldier trapped on a resource-depleted planet, navigating paranoia and physical threats in equal measure.

A Berserker in Screamers 1995 movie

The film's strengths lie in its atmosphere and creature design. The desolate landscapes and claustrophobic tunnels create a constant sense of unease. The Screamers themselves, grotesque amalgamations of organic and metallic parts, are genuinely frightening, thanks to practical effects that hold up even today.

Berserker in Screamers movie

However, Screamers stumbles in its execution. The plot, while intriguing, feels rushed in the second half, sacrificing character development for action sequences that, while tense, lack originality. The film's themes of trust, technology, and the nature of humanity are hinted at but never fully explored, leaving a sense of missed opportunity.

Screamers 1995 movie

Overall, Screamers is a decent sci-fi thriller with a solid concept and some memorable moments. However, its uneven pacing, underdeveloped characters, and familiar genre beats prevent it from reaching its full potential. If you're looking for a quick, suspenseful sci-fi fix, Screamers is worth a watch. But for a truly thought-provoking experience, you might want to keep searching.

4. The Abyss (1989)

One of my all-time favorites, The Abyss explores man's deep-seated fear of the unknown when it comes to oceanic exploration. One of James Cameron's most thought-provoking movies to date, The Abyss stars Ed Harris who plays an oil rig diver who is roped in for a rescue mission to save people from a sunken submarine.

Aqua Habitat in The Abyss 1989

As Ed Harris descends to the depths of the Earth's oceans, he transcends his mindset of a cynical skeptic to that of a broadminded explorer. In the movie, Cameron shows the concept of animals breathing through oxygenated water - which is fascinating to say the least.

Ed Harris in The Abyss

I particularly liked it when they showed white mice breathing through an oxygenated fluid - that was real, with the mice actually surviving. Ed Harris however did not breathe in the fluid as shown in the movie and said it was among the worst experiences of his life!

Aquatic Aliens in The Abyss 1989

James Cameron lives up to his reputation in this movie with stunning visuals of underwater life and conceptual renditions of aquatic aliens. There is a distinguished cast ranging from Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Brigman's wife to Michael Biehn of Alien fame.

The movie does suffer from pacing problems in certain sections, but the overall theme of the movie is ambitious. It seeks to make us question our existence and our place in the grand scheme of things. Only around 5% of the ocean has been explored to date - and it has been more than 33 years since this movie dropped.

The exploration statistic above strangely mirrors a philosophical concept of looking into oneself for answers as opposed to others for insights. The Abyss is definitely worth a watch for the acting, the special effects, and the conceptualization.

5. Resident Evil (2002)

To all you gamers out there - I know this movie is not faithful to the game adaptation, that being said - it still is a great movie. This franchise defined Milla Jovovich's action career and branded her as an action star.

Resident Evil Movie Poster 2002

You are thrown head-first into action as would expect in a computer game with a lot of martial art-powered fights with lasers heavily in the mix. Jovovich wakes up to kick ass without knowing who she is or where she is - in an underground lab facility of the Umbrella Corporation called the Hive. The whole facility as you would know is filled with undead - people and animals alike.

Milla Jovovich as Alice

There is a great action movie with computer game-level suspense and character development in the same measure. So do not expect plot twists that are next level, but do look out for a healthy dose of action and suspense.

The ambiance of the movie is that of a deadly maze with unseen horrors at every turn. These jumpscares are downright enjoyable with my favorite being the hallway that has a grid of lasers that dice things up like cubes of chicken in a salad.

Licker in Resident Evil movie 2002

The creatures called Lickers are exquisitely creepy and add a lot to the action sequences with Alice mowing them down like blades of grass.

The cast in this movie is solid with Ali Larter, Michelle Rodriguez, Jared Harris, Ruby Rose, and more interesting faces and acting veterans. Milla Jovovich herself comes across as a highly competent action lead, handing in a great performance and making way for a chain of sequels to come.

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