One of the most popular genres in film history is science fiction. Over the years, audiences have been amazed as they are transported to exciting new worlds, meet alien creatures, face possible post-apocalyptic futures, or experience the thrill of adventure in space.
While sci-fi movies have been entertaining the public as far back as the 1930s with Flash Gordon serials, the genre experienced a wave of popularity during the early days of the summer blockbuster. Thanks in large part to the overwhelming success of George Lucas’ Star Wars in 1977, studios began developing similar projects of their own in an effort to capitalize on the new trend. The ’70s and ’80s spawned a batch of influential sci-fi classics including the two Star Wars sequels, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial, the Alien films, Back to the Future, and the start of the Terminator franchise. These movies aren’t just considered fine examples of sci-fi genre fare, they are also listed as some of the greatest films ever made.
Director Neill Blomkamp has emerged as one of the leading voices of this sci-fi generation with his Oscar-nominated feature length debut District 9and this month’s Elysium. Of course, Blomkamp is just one high-profile director to try his hand at the genre and his contemporaries have added some memorable entries to the realm of sci-fi.
Here are our picks for the ten best sci-fi films of the past five years (ordered by release date). Of course the list is not all-inclusive, so once you’ve had a chance to read our picks, share yours in the comments.