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The Hulu library tends to be something of an assortment for many film genres, fantasy included—films come and go fairly rapidly, making lists like this one that far more valuable. The sci-fi films now available run a gamut of various styles, from iconic anime like Akira to critically acclaimed works like Looper or horror films that blend genres like Come True.
Best Sci-FI movies on Hulu
The sum of anime cinema from the first ’90s to the present day is marked by the precedent of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. Adapted from the first chapters of Otomo’s landmark manga series, Akira was the foremost expensive animated film of its time and a cinematic benchmark that sent shockwaves throughout the industry.
Set thirty-one years after war III was sparked by a massive explosion that engulfed the town of Tokyo, Akira is about within the sprawling metropolis of Neo-Tokyo, built on the ruins of the previous and teetering precariously on the cusp of social upheaval. The film follows the stories of Kaneda Shotaro and Tetsuo Shima, two members of a youth motorcycle gang whose lives are irrevocably changed one fateful night on the outskirts of the town. While clashing against a rival bike gang during a turf feud, Tetsuo crashes into a weird child and is promptly whisked away by a clandestine military outfit while Kaneda and his friends look on, helplessly. Tetsuo begins to develop frightening new psychic abilities as Kaneda tries desperately to mount a rescue.
Eventually, the journeys of those two childhood friends will meet and clash during a spectacular series of showdowns encircling an ominous secret whose very origins rest at the dark heart of the city’s catastrophic past: an influence known only as “Akira.” Like Ghost within the Shell that followed it, Akira is taken into account as a touchstone of the cyberpunk genre, though its inspirations run much deeper than paying homage to William Gibson’s Neuromancer or Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
Star cast: Tetsuo Shima, Shotaro Kaneda, Kei, Kaori, Kiyoko, Mitsure Kuwata, Yuji Takeyama
IMDB ratings: 8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
The synopsis of Another Earth sounds misleadingly sci-fi heavy: Scientists suddenly discover a second Earth whose unusual orbit has hidden it from view behind the sun all this point and shortly learn that there are strange parallels between that Earth and our own, including the likelihood of alternate selves for every one among us. seems like an episode of The Twilight Zone, right? all that’s just a setup for a deeply personal and philosophical exploration of identity, remorse, loss, and reconciliation, which uses its sci-fi framework to probe universal human failings. Brit Marling turns during a powerhouse performance as a girl whose life has been consumed by guilt, who turns her face toward the heavens and wonders if somewhere out there, she is going to find a second version of herself who avoided making equivalent mistakes.
Star cast: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Meggan Lennon, DJ Flava, AJ Diana, Jordan Baker, Flint Beverage.
IMDB ratings: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
The barren, lonely, modest urban landscapes of Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor reflect a well-known perspective. Brandon is, as you either already know or have surely guessed, David’s son; he shares his father’s interest in corporeal grotesquery, physical transformation representing mental transformation, and an unnerving, topical preoccupation with viruses. Brandon cuts deeper than daddy, though, if not (yet) with an equivalent incisiveness, then with a clinical precision that only intensifies the oneiric oddness coursing intractably through Possessor.
Star cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tuppence Middleton.
IMDB ratings: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Joseph-Gordon Levitt channels his inner badass to act because the younger version of Bruce Willis, nailing (with the assistance of some CGI and prosthetics) Willis’s ubiquitous action presence. the simplest case made on film for “If time travel is outlawed, only outlaws will have time travel!”, writer/director Rian Johnson wisely treats the tech as a given, focusing instead on the dramatic scenarios humans use it might create. The result’s one of the more thrilling time-travel-infused flicks of the previous couple of decades, ably merging its paradoxes with a story about whether human change is ever truly a true possibility.
Star cast: Joseph Gorden, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano
IMDB ratings: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
The shape of Water
If there’s a waiting period filmmakers must abide by before they will borrow from their own body of labor, Guillermo del Toro either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. His latest, the form of Water, an ageless story of true love between a person’s woman and a fish-man, references his filmography both at and below surface levels: It suggests a riff on Abe Sapien, the psychic ichthyoid sidekick in both Hellboy films (who is himself a riff on Creature from the Black Lagoon’s Gill-man, fed through a copyright strainer by his creator, Mike Mignola), but directly invokes the structure and fairy tale trappings of his 2006 breakout picture, Pan’s Labyrinth.
Del Toro has us set down in 1960s Baltimore, where Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) works the janitorial night shift for the not-at-all-shady Occam Aerospace research facility. She’s alone, mostly, apart from her nearby neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins), and her coworker and friend, Zelda (Octavia Spencer). Giles and Zelda give Elisa a voice she quite literally lacks: She’s mute, and spends most of the film communicating with signing.
Elisa’s clockwork days are disrupted by the arrival of the Asset (Doug Jones, the actor behind Abe Sapiens’ prosthetics), the fish-man mentioned above, within the custody of Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon), directly the epitome of the del Toro villain and therefore the average Shannon role: He’s abusive, violent, dictatorial to a fault, but mannered, the type of bastard who thinks his dastardly bastard deeds are right and never thinks twice about his morality.
Star cast: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer.
IMDB ratings: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Glistening agitprop after-school special and gross-ass bacchanalia, Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers delights within the ultraviolence it doles call at heavy spurts—but then chastises itself for having such a lot fun with something so wrong.
Telling the story of a cadre of extremely attractive upper-middle-class white teens (played by shiny adults Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Nina Meyers, Jake Busey, and Neil Patrick Harris) who get their cherries popped and then ground into hamburgers inside the abattoir of interstellar war, Verhoeven cruises through the various tones of bellicose filmmaking: hawkish propaganda, gritty action setpieces, and thrilling adventure sequences, the maximum amount a bloodletting of Verhoeven’s childhood trauma, forged within the fascist mill of war II Europe, as a critique of Hollywood’s cavalier attitude toward violence and uniformly heroic depictions of the military, the sci-fi spectacle can’t help but reach an equivalent place regardless of which angle one takes: geeked out on some hardcore cinematic mayhem.
Star cast: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Jake Busey
IMDB ratings: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
The good news is that, three years later, a minimum of one among Alien’s descendants have found out that borrowing from its forebear makes much more sense than lazily aping Scott, which explains partially why Egor Abramenko’s Sputnik works so well: It’s Alien-esque because any film about governments and corporations using unsuspecting innocents as vessels for stowing extraterrestrial monsters for either weaponization or monetization can’t help evoke Alien. Abramenko has that energy. Sputnik’s style runs somewhere within the ballpark of unnerving and unflappable: The movie doesn’t flinch but makes a candid, methodical attempt at making the audience flinch instead, contrasting high-end creature FX against a lo-fi backdrop. Until the alien makes its introduction slithering forth from the prone Konstantin’s mouth, Sputnik’s set dressing suggests a lost relic from the 1980s. But the sophistication of the creature’s design, a crawling, semi-diaphanous thing that’s coated in layers of sputum equally audible and visual, firmly anchors the film to 2020. Let the new pop cultural line be drawn there.
Star cast: Oksana Akinshina, Pyotr Fyodorov, Anton Vasilyev,
IMDB ratings: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Come True, Anthony Scott Burns’ horror first, sci-fi second hybrid film essentially dramatizes what filmmaker Rodney Ascher gets at in his 2015 sleep paralysis documentary The Nightmare. What if your worst fears manifested within the real world? What if you couldn’t tell the difference between the land of the waking and therefore the realm of the slumbering? What if the difference doesn’t even matter because, whether the nightmares are real or not, they still smother you and deny you rest, respite, and sanity? Conceptually, the movie is frightening. in additional practical terms, it’s deeply unsettling, a terrific sharply made exercise in layering one quite dread on top of another.
Star cast: Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liborion, Tedra Rogers, Skylar Radzion
IMDB ratings: 6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Sprawling, ambitious, stylish, and quite a touch self-congratulatory, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen was immediately divisive on release and has seemingly only grown more so within the years since, with super fans of Alan Moore’s iconic graphic novel frequently bemoaning Snyder’s choices, while the director’s cadre of hardcore supporters defends it to the death. In truth, Snyder’s tendency toward slavish visual iconoclasm doesn’t rear its head an excessive amount here
Star cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Patrick, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
IMDB ratings: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Before 2005, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was the type of cult, an absurdist novel that one may need been tempted to label as unfilmable, not just for its strange characters and story but primarily for the ephemeral difficulty of translating Douglas Adams’ unique sense of humor to the screen. Director Garth Jennings, however, gave Hitchhiker’s Guide a fond and colorful shot, which, although not completely successful, could be the simplest that anybody could have done under the circumstances.
Star cast: Martin Freeman, Douglas Adams, Sam Rockwell, Zooey, Deschanel.
IMDB ratings: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%