Top 8 Best Sci-fi Movies on Amazon Prime

Top 8 Most Ambitious Sci-fi Movies on Amazon Prime

1. Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, a movie that made history in many ways, was the first and last feature film from Square Pictures, a branch of the video game company known only at the time as Square. It is comparable to other massive Hollywood failures, such as Heaven's Gate from 1980, in that its owners decided to exit the film industry as a result of its failure. Even after 20 years, though, this film continues to be noteworthy in unexpected ways.

Hironobu Sakaguchi, who oversaw the first five Final Fantasy games from 1988 to 1992, had the vision for The Spirits Within. With remarkable success, the franchise broke with the then-current video game storytelling conventions; retrospectives of this period point out that titles like Final Fantasy IV "pioneered the whole concept of dramatic storytelling in an RPG." As Sakaguchi rose through the ranks at Square, he produced and contributed to the development of Final Fantasy VII, the game that introduced Final Fantasy to a wider audience in the West.

Being a fantastic animated film wasn't the only goal for The Spirits Within. It aspired for animation to reach the same level of popularity as live-action celebrities. With Maxim covers and special photoshoots created for the DVD, Aki may gain the favor of teenage boys while also serving as an empowering figure for women in the film itself.

More than anything, The Spirits Within ended up confusing audiences, and Square spent almost $100 million making the film. The box office performance was so bad that it put talks on hold about a possible merger that Square was working on with another company, Enix. In the end, it led to Sakaguchi leaving to start his own video game company, Mistwalker, in 2004.

2. Dredd

Photo: Los Angeles Times
Photo: Los Angeles Times

The 2012 film, which was written and directed by Pete Travis and Alex Garland, is very different from other comic book movies of the same era. The year was full of franchises that were rebooting (The Amazing Spider-Man), ending (The Dark Knight Rises), or going through new phases. Critics predicted that 2012 would be "the year of the smart superhero movie," so there was hope for all of these.

Dredd is designed to be independent. Writing the script in 2006, Garland—who would go on to direct his own breathtaking sci-fi films, such as Ex Machina and Devs—hoped to avoid the mistakes made by Sylvester Stallone in the disastrous Judge Dredd from 1995. When reflecting on that film, Stallone once said that, "the philosophy of the film was not set in stone" during production, implying that nobody on the set knew if they were producing an action-packed comedy or a drama.

Movie adapters frequently show their devotion to comic books, but when co-creator John Wagner joins as a consultant, it's evident that Garland intended to portray Dredd as a stoic, fully realized character that everyone else measures themselves against.

3. The Abyss

Photo: The Guardian
Photo: The Guardian

The production of The Abyss was renowned for its difficulty. Forty percent of The Abyss's filming was done in enormous water tanks because director James Cameron wanted to capture the underwater scenes in the movie as realistically as possible. Because Cameron, the film's crew, and the actors had to spend hours underwater at a time, a decompression chamber had to be built on location, and each actor was given their own special safety diver.

Everyone involved in the film was exhausted during the process, but their efforts were rewarded. Thanks in large part to its practical shooting methods and cinematographer Mikael Salomon's work, The Abyss is one of the most visually stunning films that director David Cameron has ever made. You just have no idea how they made it, which is the kind of movie that makes you feel in awe as you watch it.

A WILD AND AWE-INSPIRING RIDE IS THE ABYSS. It has every characteristic that makes James Cameron's movies feel so unique, such as amazing spectacle and a cast of likeable but flawed real people. It's also propelled by Alan Silvestri's exquisite soundtrack, which contributes to the film's overall feeling of awe and passion.

All of this is to say that The Abyss is yet another brilliant work by director James Cameron; it's an underwater science fiction adventure that deserves to be regarded with the same reverence as his more well-known blockbusters. It is highly recommended to give it a try if you have some free time this weekend.

4. The Man Who Fell To Earth

Photo: The Ransom Note
Photo: The Ransom Note

Reissued after a 40-year hiatus, Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth appears more exotic, absurd, and captivating than before, akin to a hyper-evolved midnight movie a la Roger Corman. Some of Roeg's signature juxtapositions and narrative dislocations are on display; there are some similarities to Stanley Kubrick's 2001, but Roeg is genuinely unapologetically sexual in a way that Kubrick was never. Of course, David Bowie gives a remarkable sui generis performance as the intergalactic visitor Thomas Newton; in a way that they didn't in 1976, his frank gentleness and vulnerability now seem incredibly poignant and strangely authentic.

Is the film a parable about innovation, immigration, and a stagnant corporate culture? Or is it just a pop-culture allegory for the invasion of British music? Or is it just about David Bowie?

The narrative makes a bold series of leaps as the story progresses. After Newton crashes into a small town, he makes friends with Mary Lou (Candy Clark), the hotel receptionist, in whose company the delicate stripling passes out. It's an amazing scene as she has to carry him to his room. They merge into one thing. Soon after, Newton finds himself in New York, where his unparalleled knowledge and intelligence enable him to build a dominant energy and media company. This company hires a disillusioned, lustful chemistry professor named Nathan Bryce (Rip Torn), who happens to be the only person that the increasingly reclusive Newton feels comfortable confiding in. To use Earth's water resources for his own planet experiencing drought, Newton must demonstrate complete mastery of Earth's technological systems. Newton is not a menacing assailant; rather, he is a vulnerable prey, a Wildean holy child of poignant unworldliness, whose business is stolen. While everyone else ages, he remains youthful. An eerie, captivating concept album turned movie.

5. High Life

Poster photo
Poster photo

Claire Denis's trauma in deep space An Old Testament parable called High Life is hurled into the twenty-third century and depicts a primordial scene in a pressurized cabin of science fiction pessimism, horror that is denied and terror that is repressed. Denis repeatedly brings us to the scene of a cream-panelled spaceship corridor that curves sharply to the right, as if in a reoccurring dream. The area is initially immaculate and later becomes shabby and derelict, stained with what might be bodily fluids as the years pass. And what lies beyond that bend?

Robert Pattinson's character Monte, who appears to be alone on a spaceship that lacks the sleek, elegant curves of a craft intended for purposeful travel, is at the center of the story. Huge and rectangular, it hangs in midair like a massive, clunky container unit filled with trash. In actuality, Monte is not by himself. He is carrying a small baby named Willow, to whom he gives careful attention and converses in a serious but unfriendly manner.

There is a small onboard vegetable garden in Douglas Trumbull's 1972 film Silent Running that shares similarities with High Life's pure radioactive strangeness (perhaps symbolically represented). The glitzy, alienated weightlessness of everyone's spacecraft existence contrasted with the non-technological naturalness of Planet Earth—the soil, streams, grasses, those wild textures and smeared surfaces so different from the controlled metallic gleam of that incarceration way out in space—reminds me a little bit of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film Solaris. Here will occur a near-limitless display of violence, a psycho-chemical reaction, and a quiet explosion that will give rise to an enigmatic new hope or expectation for the future.

6. The Lighthouse

Photo: IndieWire
Photo: IndieWire

In his engrossing nightmare, Robert Eggers depicts two lighthouse keepers in 19th-century Maine who spiral tragically out of control together—a deadly marriage and a dance of death. Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke's fierce monochrome captures it both captivatingly beautiful and explosively scary, akin to a daguerreotype of fear. Additionally, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson deliver powerful performances; Pattinson, in particular, keeps getting better.

Tom Wake and Ephraim Winslow, played by Dafoe and Pattinson, are reserved, hard-bitten men who always have cigarettes or pipes stuck in the corner of their mouths. They are going to begin a four-week shift tending to a lighthouse on a remote, windswept rock. Tom is the elderly, seasoned "wickie," a former able seaman rendered incapacitated by an unexplained leg injury. As the senior officer, he has exclusive control over the light, a privilege that drives him irrationally irritable and belligerent.

The Lighthouse is thrilling and novel in that it refuses to identify itself as a horror movie, though an early allusion to Salem, Massachusetts allows us to remember director Todd Haynes's last picture, The Witch (2015). It is not a matter of a standard realist setup suddenly becoming supernaturally scary with strategically placed jump scares, etc. The apparent normalcy endures; maybe paranormal activity is taking place, or maybe this is a psychological suspense story concerning delusions. However, this generic ambiguity is not the point; rather, The Lighthouse grips us with its powerful intelligence, the theatricality of the performances, and its excellent writing. Willem Dafoe gets more out of the role of Tom than even Sir Donald Wolfit or Robert Newton could, and Pattinson's confusion and uncertainty are captivating.

7. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

Poster Photo
Poster Photo

Following the drowsy Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the nascent Star Trek film franchise required some energy, and The Wrath of Khan delivered just that. Star Trek II revived a concept that had been rendered lifeless by its first big-screen feature film by adding copious amounts of action, adventure, and suspense while keeping the thematic elements of the beloved original USS Enterprise crew and the late 1960s TV show. This is the greatest Star Trek film to date and possibly the best the series' motion picture adaptation could hope to be.

The Motion Picture's clinical whites and pastels have been replaced with a more aesthetically pleasing burgundy uniform. As the Enterprise gets ready for the movie's pivotal battle, you can see that the ship is smaller and cozier than it was three years ago, but it still has a decidedly military feel to it. The three-pronged friendship/rivalry between Admiral Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) harkens back to the best parts of the series, and the characters also appear more at ease here. Together with writers Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards, director Nicholas Meyer (Time after Time) has worked hard to bring back the humanity of Star Trek.

The Star Trek regulars carry out their duties as required. Despite not being widely recognized as one of the best actors, William Shatner does a great job in this part, balancing heroic haughtiness with unexpected vulnerability. Shatner gives one of his best performances in this, out of the seven Star Trek features he has been in. As always, Leonard Nimoy plays Spock with a hint of sarcasm, and DeForest Kelley is the ideal, nonsensical counterpoint. Notable actors Walter Koenig (Chekov), George Takei (Sulu), James Doohan (Scotty), and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) are all present, though Koenig only has a few token scenes.

8. Vivarium

Poster photo
Poster photo

Residents of the seemingly idyllic Peaksville find themselves cut off from the outside world and terrorized by the petty yet godlike mind of a small child in one of the spookiest episodes of the classic American TV series The Twilight Zone. The episode, which was based on a Jerome Bixby story and was titled It's a Good Life, terrified viewers in 1961 as they watched from behind picket fences. It depicted a darkly humorous world where failing to think positively was punishable by death or worse.

The name "Vivarium," which refers to a space where small animals can be observed in a replica of their natural habitat, gives an indication of the direction this is taking. It is enough to say that Tom and Gemma find themselves raising a monstrous child in a pastel-colored simulation of suburban hell, whose arrival is foreshadowed by a terrifying opening sequence in which a cuckoo invades a nest and cries out to be fed by its confused surrogate mother. Gemma tells one of her young charges, "That's nature; that's just the way things are." She then melancholy adds, "It's only horrible sometimes."

The ghost estates of Finnegan and Shanley's eerie 2012 short Foxes contain the seeds of Vivarium, and at times it seems like a single concept stretched to a feature length. However, there's enough inventiveness in the theme and visuals to keep viewers captivated and uneasy, especially in these rare and solitary times.

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