Children of Men was a largely overlooked film when it was released in 2006. Since then, the film has gained more and more attention to the point that it is now regarded as one of the best films of the 21st century. The film is set in a dystopian future in which children have stopped being born. When a pregnant refugee is discovered, a man becomes her reluctant guardian.
Alfonso Cuarón's film is intense and powerful. It is a brilliant and unique science fiction film, but it does share similarities with other excellent movies from that genre. Here are some of the science fiction films you should seek out if you like Children of Men.
10 The Road
The Road is based on the best-selling novel from acclaimed writer Cormac McCarthy. It stars Viggo Mortensen as a father trying to survive and get his young son to safety in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by violent and vicious people.
The end of the world is boiled down to a small and simple story about a father and son. It doesn't focus on what destroyed civilization, nor does it need to. It is more concerned with this very relatable journey of a man trying to protect his child from the horrors of the world while also preparing his son for when he will be on his own.
Danny Boyle's Sunshine is about a small crew of scientists who embark on a space mission to reignite the sun in order to save the earth. As with most of these cinematic space missions, things go horribly wrong. While the film can be chaotic and violent, it also tells a quieter story about the people on this ship.
The movie boasts an impressive cast which includes Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, and Cillian Murphy, among many others. The slow pace and emotional tone of the movie are somewhat unexpected for the genre but provides some very powerful moments.
Moon is the directorial debut of Duncan Jones (Source Code, Warcraft) and stars Sam Rockwell as an astronaut working alone on a lunar base. As Sam's time on the base draws to a close, he makes an unusual discovery that he is not alone after all.
The movie is basically a one-man show; luckily, Rockwell is the perfect actor for such a difficult role. He is charming and funny as well as heartbreaking and angry as the movie takes the astronaut on an intense journey. He is as compelling to watch as the mystery which unfolds onscreen.
Korean director Bong Joon-ho is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today and Snowpiercer was his first attempt at making an American feature. It is set in a future where the world has become a frozen wasteland. The survivors all live on a constantly moving train which is powered by the poorest citizens who rebel and make their way towards the front of the train.
The film serves as an examination of class systems and the mistreatment of those perceived at the bottom. It is also an exciting action film starring Chris Evans as the ideal reluctant hero.
6 District 9
Neill Blomkamp made a wild debut as a filmmaker with District 9, a sci-fi action film set in the future when an alien spaceship becomes stranded on earth and its occupants become refugees. After a low-level military worker becomes infected by an alien substance, he must sneak into the refugee camp and get help.
Like Children of Men, the film deals with the very real and timely issue of refugees within the context of a sci-fi story. It makes the movie more impactful and powerful even once the insane action sequences begin.
5 Minority Report
The film to unite the power of Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise proved that these two legends more than make for an excellent team. Cruise plays a cop working in a division of the police force where crime is predicted before it happens by three precognitive beings. However, when he is identified for a future crime, he must go on the run.
Minority Report is a fun chase movie with a very interesting premise. It builds a believable world that feels lived in. We understand the rules and the technology of this future as the mystery takes us on a ride throughout its many parts.
4 Twelve Monkeys
Terry Gilliam is a filmmaker known for his wild and outrageous style. That off-beat way of feeling is put to perfect use in this time travel mystery. Bruce Willis stars as a convict living in a post-apocalyptic world who is sent back in time to find out what happened to cause civilization to fall apart.
The twisted tale shows that, just like with Children of Men, the right director working in the science fiction genre can create a beautiful and unique film. Twelve Monkeys keeps the audiences head-spinning with Gilliam's insanity all the way to its brilliant end.
Most superhero films can fit in comfortably in the science fiction genre. Logan feels like the only superhero film that is closer to the Children of Men approach to sci-fi. It is a surprisingly personable story of Logan (aka Wolverine) nearing the end of his long life while being tasked with getting a mutant child to Canada safely.
Another film which touches on the refugee crises in our modern world as well as the protection of a young child in a violent world. Hugh Jackman's final turn as Logan is his best yet and a stand-out in the comic book genre.
2 Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the greatest action films of all time and a surprisingly brilliant return to the spotlight for the franchise. It follows Max (Tom Hardy) who finds himself the unwitting participant in the rescue of women who were used as breeders for a warlord.
The movie is like an amped-up version of Children of Men. Instead of one pregnant woman, the hero is trying to protect five. The world is even more dystopian and the action is even wilder.
1 Blade Runner 2049
Like Fury Road, Blade Runner 2049 revisited a movie from decades ago and proved to be a surprisingly excellent film in its own right. Ryan Gosling stars as a replicant working as a Blade Runner who begins investigating the mystery behind a replicant who appeared to have given birth.
Like Children of Men, the movie follows the main character living in an imperfect society who is suddenly awakened by a revelation that rocks his entire existence. It is a profound, entertaining, and beautiful film.