In a world of VR headsets and metaverses, sometimes we just need a good old-fashioned film to settle down in front of after a long day.
The good news for sci-fi fans is that there’s an abundance of top movies to check out this year, as the film industry bounces back from the effects of the pandemic.
From an animated adventure to scary talking cars, here’s a selection of the finest sci-fi flicks to sink your teeth into.
Mamoru Hosoda's ambitious new anime film Belle updates the plot of the classic Beauty and The Beast for the digital age. Enchanted singing candlesticks evolve into AIs, and carefully crafted online personas replace magical curses.
Belle is set in a near-future world where a virtual-reality platform called “U” dominates the global consciousness. Suzu, a little girl who has lost her mother, as well as her confidence to sing, is attracted to the virtual world which offers her anonymity.
When the unpredictable Dragon (Takeru Satoh) disrupts one of her performances while being hunted by a squad of warriors intending to unveil him, Belle sets out to learn his secret.
The animation is a visual feast, and the flawless mixing of styles is a sight to behold. The world of U is animated in dazzling 3D CG and Hosoda does a great job of blending it in with the real world.
Imagine having the ability to telepathically communicate with machines. The possibilities would be endless: you could convince the algorithm of an online casino game to pay you the jackpot instead of acting randomly or command a bus to stop in the middle of the street. Actually, maybe the second one isn’t such a good idea.
In King Car, this talent becomes a reality for main character Uno, a boy who discovers that he can talk to cars. He takes in an old auto, which he christens King Car, and gives it the ability to speak.
While it sounds a little like a modern version of Knight Rider, things take a slightly more horrific turn than in the David Hasselhoff series, as the newly vocal motor spins out of control, taking Uno and his unscrupulous Uncle Zé with it.
The result is 97 minutes of horror-comedy mayhem as we learn more about what King Car can actually do with its new-found powers.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a funny and heartfelt sci-fi action-adventure movie about an overworked Chinese-American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who not only can't finish her taxes but also has to contend with an infinite number of multiverses and an omnipotent villain hunting her down throughout them.
This distinctive and handcrafted action-adventure is the product of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (together known as Daniels), the award-winning pair behind Swiss Army Man (2016).
The extraordinary quantity of concepts Daniels can fit into this tale without it becoming a ludicrous tangle is part of the beauty of Everything Everywhere All At Once.
There are no constraints, no limitations, and no notion is too outlandish to make it into this movie. And, while the picture might feel suffocatingly dense at times, it's all part of a bigger plan, a movie where anything is possible.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
The MCU opens its own multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before in Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Travel into the unknown with Doctor Strange as he crosses the mind-bending and deadly alternate worlds of the Multiverse to battle a strange new opponent with the assistance of both old and new mystical friends.
This movie is visually stunning, particularly the sequence in which Strange and his companion travel between universes consisting of primary colors and jigsaw puzzle pieces.
It achieves what a movie is meant to do: entertain and wow the viewer, who might just leave looking at the world a little differently.
Moonfall depicts the horror of the moon falling out of orbit and colliding with the Earth. Just prior to that massive bump, Earth's gravity is steadily knocked off, while the moon would dump debris onto the planet as it nears.
The prologue is magnificent, and the mid-film launch scene amid a gravity wave is a must-see in IMAX or Dolby.
We then see a full-on action movie as our brave trio battles the demonic powers that have sent the moon on a collision course with Earth. We get some jaw-dropping graphics as well as surprising story twists that drive it even further into sci-fi craziness.
We often envision what it would look like if cloning was employed on a greater scale in society, but this film takes it a step further: what if your clone was superior to you in every aspect and then took over your life?
Sarah, played by Karen Gillan, is depressed after learning she has a fatal disease and just months to live. Sarah decides to invest in a procedure called “replacement,” which will allow for a clone to live on after she is gone.
Months later, the original Sarah begins to lose relevance in her own life – and suddenly learns that she is no longer dying. Sarah's Double, who is now living on her own, demands to "stay," and the heroine is forced to fight her other-self.
Even in her grim roles, Gillan manages to find comedy and tenderness, but the show's brightest star is Aaron Paul. The Breaking Bad star gets the most laugh lines as her fierce combat instructor.
Treat Yourself to Sci-Fi Swag!
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