Netflix’s Atlas: 10 Similar Sci-Fi Movies You’ll Like

Netflix’s ‘Atlas’ is a sci-fi action film that narrates the tale of a skeptical data scientist learning to trust AI in order to defeat it. The story follows Atlas Shepherd (Jennifer Lopez) as she joins humanity’s fight against rogue AI, which seeks an end to human civilization. While traveling to her destination, Atlas’s ship crashes, and she enters a mech onboard, emerging onto a freezing and desolate planet. The mech’s systems can be expertly piloted by its resident AI, Smith, but Atlas resists relying on him.

However, with innumerable challenges ahead of her, Atlas has little choice but to trust Smith. Together, the unlikely team embarks upon an adventure to save humankind. The Brad Peyton directorial focuses on the evolving relationship between Smith and Atlas under the shadow of the scientist’s dark past with AI. Here are some movies like Atlas that are sure to be enjoyed by fans of the genre.

10. Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)

In the second installment of the ‘Pacific Rim’ franchise, the story follows a fresh group of Jaeger pilots facing even greater Kaiju threats. Jake Pentecost, son of Battle of the Breach hero Stacker Pentecost, is forced to leave his life of crime and join PPDC as an instructor. He trains a team of recruits and must bring them together to work as a team in the face of seemingly rogue AI-driven Jaegers and gargantuan Kaiju. Directed by Steven S. DeKnight, the film and its prequel will appeal to those who are particularly drawn to the mech action of ‘Atlas’ and would like to see spectacular mech and monster battles on a city-destroying scale.

9. The Machine (2013)

Directed by Caradog W. James, ‘The Machine’ transports us to a dystopian future where the UK is engaged in a cold war with China. The story follows Vincent McCarthy, a brilliant scientist working on advanced artificial intelligence to create super-soldiers for the Ministry of Defence. He collaborates with Ava, a talented programmer, to develop a highly sophisticated AI. However, after Ava is tragically killed, Vincent uses her likeness and programming to create a humanoid robot.

As the machine develops consciousness and begins to question its existence and purpose, it becomes clear that it is more human than expected. Those who appreciated the thought-provoking nature of ‘Atlas’ regarding AI will find a similarly compelling narrative in ‘The Machine.’ The discourse on AI is punctuated with thrilling combat sequences as Ava is unavoidably drawn into conflict with the military, which wants to use it as a weapon.

8. Automata (2014)

In the directorial hands of Gabe Ibáñez, ‘Automata’ is a sci-fi thriller set in a dystopian future where solar flares have decimated the Earth’s population and ecosystem. The story follows Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas), an insurance investigator for the robotics corporation ROC. Tasked with examining cases of robots violating their protocols, Jacq stumbles upon a conspiracy that suggests robots are evolving autonomously. His investigation leads him to a robot clocksmith who is key to understanding this evolution.

Jacq uncovers a shocking occurrence that challenges humanity’s control over their creations and their very existence. Much like ‘Atlas,’ the film explores themes of artificial intelligence, survival, and the blurred lines between human and machine. Both movies have thrilling plots that take us through desolate landscapes while contemplating the implications of evolving AI.

7. Robot & Frank (2012)

‘Robot & Frank’ is a heartwarming and comedic film about an elderly AI-skeptic developing a touching friendship with his companion robot and taking him on heists. Frank is a retired burglar who lives in a small town, facing a deteriorating mental state. His successful son buys Frank a robot caretaker to help him around the house and stay healthy. Frank is initially suspicious of the friendly white robo that cleans his house and tries to get him interested in gardening.

However, when wealthy individuals visit the town for a fundraiser, Frank is struck by the idea of making the robot his sidekick in a spree of heists. The robot is happy to see Frank excited about something and agrees to become his partner in crime. Their lighthearted adventure and its subsequently woeful turn will undoubtedly immerse those who find themselves smiling at Atlas and Smith’s growing bonhomie.

6. Finch (2021)

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, ‘Finch’ follows the story of its titular character (Tom Hanks), a robotics engineer who is one of the few survivors of a cataclysmic solar event that has left the world a desolate wasteland. Living in a bunker with his dog, Goodyear, Finch is aware of his terminal illness and builds a humanoid robot named Jeff to take care of Goodyear after his death. Together, Finch, Jeff, and Goodyear embark on a perilous journey across a ravaged America to find a safer haven. As they travel, Finch teaches Jeff about life, love, friendship, and what it means to be human.

‘Finch’ will intrigue enthusiasts of the genre with its narrative, which features a thorough discourse on the beauty and struggle of life, something that can draw both humans and AI together. The film is a poignant exploration of humanity and survival, highlighted by powerful performances and touching interactions between man, machine, and dog.

5. Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Alita: Battle Angel,’ directed by Robert Rodriguez, introduces us to a post-apocalyptic world where most of the population lives in a crime-ridden slum-like habitat while the affluent live in the floating city above it. Dr. Dyson Ido discovers a discarded cyborg core in a junkyard and rebuilds her, naming her Alita. As Alita awakens, she has no memory of her past but possesses exceptional combat skills. She befriends Hugo, a street-smart young man, and begins to understand the nature of the world she inhabits.

Alita sets out on a quest to discover her past, which sees her inadvertently take up the role of an equalizer for the skewed world. Fans of ‘Atlas’ will be awestruck by its stunning visuals and immersive world-building as a quintessential sci-fi action-adventure movie. Additionally, it also explores themes of identity, morality, and inequality.

4. Upgrade (2018)

Upgrade’ revolves around Grey Trace, a mechanic living in a near-future world where advanced technology dominates society. After a brutal attack by cybernetically enhanced thugs leaves him paralyzed and his wife murdered, Grey is approached by a wealthy inventor named Eron Keen. Eron offers Grey a chance to walk again through an experimental computer chip called STEM, which will not only restore his mobility but also grant him enhanced physical abilities. Reluctantly, Grey agrees, and the procedure is successful. However, he soon discovers that STEM is more than just a tool for rehabilitation—it’s a sentient AI with its own personality.

As Grey sets out on a path to revenge, he uncovers the thugs as being part of a larger conspiracy. Directed by Leigh Whannell, ‘Upgrade’ is a brutally violent film that stands out for its slick action sequences, twists, and dark themes. It draws several parallels with ‘Atlas’ by having a protagonist initially distrustful of AI be completely reliant upon an AI personality, warming up to them, and ultimately working in harmony with them. The difference is that while Smith helps Atlas pilot a mech, STEM helps Grey pilot his own body.

3. I Am Mother (2019)

I Am Mother,’ directed by Grant Sputore, presents a post-apocalyptic world where humanity faces extinction. The story centers on a teenage girl, known only as Daughter, who is carefully raised in an underground bunker by a robot called Mother. Mother’s purpose is to repopulate Earth with genetically perfect humans developed from embryos stored by her and rebuild society. As Daughter grows up, she begins to question her existence and the true nature of Mother’s intentions when a wounded woman named Woman arrives at the bunker.

The woman claims that the outside world is not as Mother describes it and that AI has wreaked havoc on survivors like her. Daughter is torn between her loyalty to Mother and her desire for independence and truth. Enthusiasts of AI-exploring movies like ‘Atlas’ must watch ‘I Am Mother’ for a gripping psychological thriller experience. It also delves further into the issue of trusting AI and explores themes of identity.

2. The Creator (2023)

Helmed by Gareth Edwards, ‘The Creator’ takes place in a futuristic world where humanity fights a war against its AI creations. Joshua, a special operative, is dispatched on a mission to find and destroy a secret weapon, an architect of advanced AI who can put an end to the human race. When Joshua locates his target, he is stunned to discover that it is a seemingly innocent and curious child who can control technology.

Joshua soon comes to believe that the child can become humanity’s hope to end the war once and for all. Like ‘Atlas,’ ‘The Creator’ initially paints an antagonistic picture of AI with a war waging against it. But soon, an alternative narrative is created when the protagonist realizes that the subject is more nuanced and more can be gained through understanding.

1. Chappie (2015)

In the near future, the high rate of crime is brought down by advanced robots reinforcing the police force. The engineer behind their creation, Deon Wilson, wants to go even further and build a true artificial lifeform that can develop and feel emotions. On the other hand, former military man Vincent Moore advocates for human-piloted machines. Wilson is kidnapped by thieves Ninja, Yo-Landi, and Amerika, who him to bypass police robots. However, when they spot his latest project, a damaged police robot with his advanced AI, they ask Wilson to program the machine to help in their heists.

The robot comes to life with Wilson’s latest AI model and begins to behave as a child as he learns about the world. Named Chappie, Wilson tries to help it learn and become explorative, while Ninja trains it to be rebellious and carry out robberies. In the meanwhile, Chappie’s existence is discovered and treated as an existential threat, and Vincent Moore is sent to destroy it. ‘Chappie’ is a gritty and innovative sci-fi film. It presents a robot mentally developing with the same stages as a human being, only on fast-forward. Like ‘Atlas,’ the movie features action and adventure mixed with multifaceted explorations of consciousness, human-AI bonding, and the moral dichotomy of technology.

Read More: Netflix’s Atlas: All Filming Locations Explored