The best sci-fi movies on HBO Max

When it comes to classic sci-fi movies, HBO Max is absolutely stacked. It’s also added a handful of new titles this month, including Jurassic Park, Pacific Rim, and an awesome little Spanish gem called Timecrimes.

Scroll down for the many options available on HBO Max.

Digitizers (1981)

International Manson

A warning to the horror-averse body before playing on this David Cronenberg sci-fi. Scanners track people with special abilities, including telepathic and telekinetic powers. Not the first on this list to become a cult classic after a lukewarm initial response, Scanners left a lasting impression, not least because of a memorable scene involving a headshot explosion.

The Faculty (1998)

Miramax/YouTube/CNET screenshot

Robert Rodriguez is not the most popular among Star Wars fans right now, mostly for turning a character into a useless ballerina in the divisive finale The Book of Boba Fett. The faculty, led by Rodriguez, isn’t great, but it’s not bad either, following teenagers who investigate mysterious happenings at their high school.

Super 8 (2011)

Paramount Pictures

Basically, Stranger Things is set in the 70s. Super 8 follows a group of teenagers making their own movie when a train derails and a dangerous presence begins stalking their town.

Dunes (2021)

Warner Bros.

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi blockbuster is back on HBO Max. The epic based on Frank Herbert’s novel recently won a host of Oscars, including Best Original Score and Best Cinematography. Discover the sprawling history of the Atreides family, who find themselves at war on the murderous planet Arrakis. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya and many more make up an extremely impressive ensemble cast.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Universal images

A new Jurassic Park movie hits theaters this year, so catch up on the (superior) original now. In 1993, Jurassic Park launched the franchise, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Spoiler: Original cast members Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum are set to make a return in the upcoming 2022 film.

Rim of the Pacific (2013)

Pictures from Warner Bros.

Its sequel didn’t reach the same heights, so check out the franchise’s first monster epic Pacific Rim. 2013’s Pacific Rim is directed by Guillermo Del Toro, so expect a strong visual art twist on the monster mayhem.

Crimes Against Time (2007)

Karbo Vantas Entertainment/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

This truly mind-blowing Spanish sci-fi is a wild card to try if you’re in the mood. With all the trimmings of a low-budget thriller, Timecrimes follows a middle-aged man who finds himself stuck in a time loop. A flow of twists will keep you on your toes.

The Day After (2004)

20th Century Fox/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Roland Emmerich, “master of disaster”, presents The Day After Tomorrow. The director also made Moonfall this year, in which the moon falls out of orbit on a collision course with Earth. You already know what kind of fun this movie is going to be.

Oblivion 2013)

Universal Pictures/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Oblivion comes from the construction workshop of a science fiction film. Starring Tom Cruise, it follows humans at war with aliens, paying homage to ’70s sci-fi films including The Omega Man and Silent Running. A love letter in the form of a half-decent sci-fi action adventure.

Player one loan (2018)

Jaap Buitendijk

Based on Ernest Cline’s popular novel of the same name, Ready Player One is a nerd’s feast, dropping over 100 popular culture references from various time periods, including Minecraft, Batman and Back to the Future. There’s even a story in there, about a dystopian society finding solace in virtual reality.

Monsters (2010)

Vertigo Release/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

This solid British sci-fi comes from Gareth Edwards, who went on to direct Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Godzilla in 2014. His mastery of atmosphere, wonder and beauty is on display here, all with a minimal budget. Monsters follows a couple trying to cross an “infected zone” full of giant tentacled monsters.

Mr. Nobody (2009)

Screenshot by Magnolia Pictures/YouTube/CNET

Mr. Nobody is the kind of movie that nails the ending, leaving you on a thoughtful note to ponder. It helps to know that this is a story exploring the consequences of choices and why you shouldn’t worry about making the perfect choice.

The Matrix (1999)

Pictures from Warner Bros.

If you haven’t seen The Matrix and don’t know its main plot points, kudos for avoiding spoilers for 23 years. The Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions sequels are also on HBO Max.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Stephen Vaughan

Watch two and a half hours of atmospheric and lavish spectacle, but don’t expect any conclusions to the question posed by the original Blade Runner: Is Rick Deckard a replicant?

Blade Runner (1982)

Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Forever the pinnacle of neo-noir visual art, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner will never fade in time, like tears in the rain.

Principle (2020)

Warner Bros.

Love it or hate it – get it or find its confusing “science” – Tenet is mind-blowing entertainment. Best Advice: Don’t question Tenet, submit to the Tenet experience.

Creation (2010)

Screenshot Warner Bros./YouTube/CNET

The best Christopher Nolan movie on this list.

Soy Green (1973)

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

A dystopian thriller starring Charlton Heston and set in a year 2022 plagued by overpopulation, pollution and climate catastrophe. This is not a documentary.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

“Alexa, play 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Event Horizon (1997)

Photo by Paramount/Getty Images

A good bad movie bringing supernatural horror to space. A crew of astronauts goes in search of a missing spacecraft and discovers malevolent forces at play.

Gravity (2013)

Screenshot Warner Bros./YouTube/CNET

Gravity is the ultimate spooky and dizzying space movie, featuring zero aliens altogether. It follows Sandra Bullock’s Dr. Ryan Stone, an astronaut stranded in space, as she attempts a seemingly impossible return to Earth.

Reminiscence (2021)

Screenshot Warner Bros./YouTube/CNET

This sci-fi mystery of one half of the duo that created Westworld (Lisa Joy) is pure mind-blowing, but the interesting insights are worth a look. Reminiscence follows Hugh Jackman’s Nick Bannister, who uses a machine that can see into people’s memories.

Independence Day (1996)

20th Century Fox/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Oh look, it’s another Roland Emmerich movie! This one follows Earth’s resistance troopers making one last stand against an alien attack, an event they log into the calendar for the 4th of July.

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Katalyst/CNET screenshot

An enjoyable B-movie, The Butterfly Effect sees college student Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) tinker with the past and discover how each change affects the present.

Stalker (1979)

Mosfilm/YouTube/CNET screenshot

Walk through Stalker’s slow start and you can say you’ve watched an existential masterpiece of Russian cinema.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Buena Vista Pictures

Sci-fi comedy isn’t always a hit, and this Douglas Adams adaptation will either be weird in a good way, if you know the source material, or weird in an unfunny, confusing way. My 13 year old self loved it.

Solaris (1972)

Photo by LMPC via Getty Images

Before Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky made huge strides for sci-fi cinema, with his complex, character-driven play about astronauts having wild hallucinations that may or may not be real. The 2002 American remake of Solaris is also on HBO Max, with the added romance of George Clooney.

Cloverfield (2008)

Paramount Pictures

Matt Reeves has done some great things since directing this monster piece of found footage. Find out what he was doing before 2022’s Planet of the Apes and The Batman movies.

Me, Robot (2004)

20th Century Fox/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

A routine blockbuster for reliable entertainment.

The Running Man (1987)

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

It wouldn’t be a better sci-fi list without several Arnie films. The Running Man focuses on a game show where criminals must try to escape professional killers.

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