Not only the ‘Star Wars’ franchise has been a pioneer of sorts for all kinds of sci-fi films out there, but it also is perhaps the longest continuing fantasy franchise to date, with eight main films, three standalone spinoffs, television series and animated series, and counting. With several Star Wars films in the pipeline, we could see this universe expand further.
‘Star Wars’ began with ‘Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)’ which was the narrative of a young Luke Skywalker trying to learn his ropes in the Jedi world. The episodes IV through VI marked the Original Trilogy, which was followed by Episodes I through III that was the Prequel trilogy – that highlighted the journey of Anakin Skywalker till he comes to be known as Darth Vader and then followed by the sequel trilogy consisting of Episodes VII through IX, with Episode IX still in production. ‘Star Wars’ franchise has since become a phenomenon everyone likes to be a part of. Would you? Here’s the list of movies like Star Wars that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like Star Wars on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. Passengers (2016)
Set in the near distant future, a spaceship known as the Starship Avalon is transporting 5000 odd people to Homestead II, a planet which is 120 years away, to inhabit it. The crew and the passengers of the ship will be the first inhabitants of the distant planet. All the travellers aboard the spaceship are in a hibernation mode, meaning they would maintain the same state for the next 120 years. Jim Preston is one of the passengers who has woken up due to some trouble with his hibernation pod, that too 90 years early. After spending a year astray on the ship all alone, he wakes Aurora, a young and beautiful girl who is a journalist on planet Earth. He makes her believe that her pod malfunctioned to. They get closer over the course of next year. Soon, other pods start malfunctioning and Jim must sacrifice something to keep his newfound love Aurora alive. ‘Passengers’ starts off quite well and boasts of some good visuals and CGI. Overall, however, it doesn’t make its case for a very compelling narrative.
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11. The Fifth Element (1997)
The Fifth Element is a 1997 science fiction action film set in the future world of 23rd Century and features Bruce Wills as Korben Dallas. In the 23rd century, a New York City cabbie, Korben Dallas, finds the fate of the world in his hands when Leeloo falls into his cab. As the embodiment of the fifth element, Leeloo needs to combine with the other four to keep the approaching Great Evil from destroying the world. Together with Father Vito Cornelius and zany broadcaster Ruby Rhod, Dallas must race against time and the wicked industrialist Zorg to save humanity.
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10. Prometheus (2012)
In 2089, an ancient star map found inside a cave in Scotland leads a team of explorers to undertake a mission to a distant planet onboard the scientific vessel Prometheus in a quest to discover humanity’s origin on Earth. Once conclusive evidence is unearthed, the crew are then forced to fight a terrifying battle with mankind’s very survival at stake. It is the quasi-prequel to Alien and is directed by Ridley Scott.It is not a very logical movie but is a fun and scary watch and is a must watch for all the Alien fans.
9. Sunshine (2007)
It is Danny Boyle’s most underrated movie which will give you countless sleepless nights by just the thought of what will happen when the sun’s light starts to die out. It is more of a thriller than a horror flick but it is sure to scare you. Seven years after a failed space mission to reignite the Earth’s dying sun, a second spaceship Icarus II with eight astronauts sets off with a nuclear super-bomb as the Earth’s last hope. The mission soon turns into trouble after receiving an emergency signal from Icarus I, with their side-trip coming at an extremely high cost.
8. Pitch Black (2000)
In this Sci-fi Horror, a spaceship is transporting a disparate group of people to a far-away galactic outpost called New Mecca gets struck by a meteor and crash lands on an abandoned planet leaving only 11 survivors including one crew member, a police officer and the prisoner he is transporting. The survivors must find sustenance and avoid being hunted by the flesh-eating creatures that dominate the planet’s surface at night. It is a smart, suspenseful movie which is the right amount of derivative with original touches to make it stand out.
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7. Pandorum (2009)
Belonging to the sci-fi horror genre, ‘Pandorum’ is the name of an anxiety disorder commonly known to affect deep space travellers when they experience severe paranoia and a confused state of mind. The movie, set in 2174, begins with two astronauts who wake up from their hypersleep seemingly in a state of delirium, not knowing who they are and what their mission was. The spaceship looks abandoned with mild noises emanating from the belly of the ship and while one of them stays back, other ventures deep into the ship to know more about themselves and their mission, only to discover the deep, dark secrets the ship carries with itself. ‘Pandorum’ received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics calling it bloated while others calling it engaging.
6. Avatar (2009)
‘Avatar’ may have been criticized for being an overrated movie, but as far as my space movie choices are concerned, it makes just the cut. ‘Avatar’ essentially has all the elements of a space movie – aliens, a faraway planet, the human propaganda, never-seen-before phenomena and one man who rises above all. In ‘Avatar’, the humans are the invading race who have set up their base in a planetoid called Pandora, a moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri solar system. The humans are there to gather copious amounts of unobtanium, a rare superconductor element which is also the most prized possession on Earth. The element can be found underneath the Na’vi settlements – the indigenous blue-coloured tribe who are also vicious attackers. Thus begins the Avatar program, with Jake Sully, a former US Marine at the helm, who uses his Na’vi body to gain the confidence of the locals. An immensely fulfilling story, ‘Avatar’, even after 10 years of its release, boasts of never-seen-before visual effects.
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5. Event Horizon (1997)
‘Event Horizon’ is a great sci-fi movie. But what I liked most about it was the underlying horror theme. More than being a sci-fi genre movie the film is basically a haunted house movie with the ‘house’ replaced by a ‘spaceship’. The movie takes place in the future. It is the year 2047. A spaceship, known as ‘Event Horizon’, has sent a distress signal after suddenly appearing near the planet of Neptune. the spaceship was one of the best of its time in terms of technology. It was meant for scouting the vast expanse of space beyond the planet Neptune. To make the journey fast the ship was able to create black holes which would allow it to cover large distances in a matter of seconds. But during its maiden voyage, the ship mysteriously disappeared. Now, after 7 years it has reappeared. The crew of a spaceship, ‘Lewis and Clark’, along with Dr. Weir are sent to investigate the ship. But what they find puts them all in danger.
4. The Martian (2015)
The most recent film on this list follows a group of NASA scientists going on their expedition to Mars, when a fierce storm forces them to leave behind a crew member, Mark, on his own stranded on a planet where there is no life. It is with his wit that Mark keeps himself alive for more than a year when his crew hatches an immaculate rescue plan and pulls it off daringly. The film was an immense success in the box office and received two Golden Globes. It also received 7 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Damon.
3. Alien: Covenant (2017)
Katherine Waterston received tons of praise in portraying the lead role of Janet Daniels – a role that was often compared with Sigourney Weaver’s role as Ellen Ripley in Alien. ‘Alien: Covenant’ follows the events after ‘Prometheus’ and begins with an android Walter One who is on-board a spaceship carrying a crew of 15 along with many hibernating colonists. After a malfunction on the ship, Walter wakes the crew from their sleep and they land on a seemingly habitable planet. Curious to check the surroundings, the crew members step out, only to be infested with alien spores, followed by them dying one at a time. David, the droid from Prometheus rescues the remaining members, but his intentions are evil this time, for he was testing the aliens by evolving them to form the perfect organism. Michael Fassbender shines yet again in this fast-paced space thriller and the performances and special effects make ‘Alien: Covenant’ a wholesome space flick.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The glittery adventures of Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord along with his rag-tag group of lost space fighters – Gamora, Drax the Destroyer and Rocket, along with the tree-like humanoid called Groot, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ gave us what MCU couldn’t with its mainstream “Avengers'” films – a buttload of humour, a novel storyline and a bunch of crazy antagonists trying to wield control over the Power Stone – one of the MCU’s six infinity stones. The ethos of the MCU was embedded in GOTG’s timeline and we couldn’t simply ignore the easter eggs that were dropped at many important points in the film, also the post-credits. James Gunn really does wonder with his characters, has taken a lot of risks with the script and also forwards the timeline to align with that of the Avengers’ universe given the criticality of the release timeline of this film. What’s more, to say, the swag of the Star-Lord and the “humility” of Drax got me carried away.
2. Star Trek Into Darkness
The second film in the reboot of the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness dealt with the darker themes of vengeance, justice and crisis of leadership. It was a rock-solid space installment, with riveting drama and rousing action sequences. The movie introduced the iconic character of the space franchise, Khan, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Though it irked some die-hard trekkies with its uneven pacing, the movie wowed most audiences with huge doses of action and drama. With a runtime of more than 2 hours, which is a setback for most Sci-fi movies, JJ Abrams never failed to hook the audiences with his gripping narrative. With a worldwide gross of $467 Million, Star Trek Into Darkness is the highest grossing movie of this franchise.
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1. 2001: Space Odyssey (1967)
Undoubtedly one of the most authoritarian pieces of cinema ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ could aptly be described as the ultimate exploration of “the unknown”. With themes ranging from existentialism to evolution, the film has acquired cult status over the years. Inspired by a short story named ‘The Sentinel’ written by Arthur C. Clarke, who co-scripted the screenplay along with Kubrick; the movie chronicles the journey of a crew of scientists to Jupiter along with the sentient computer HAL 9000. The movie went on to become one of the biggest influences on future science fiction projects and is easily the best space movie ever made.
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