Published June 12, 2023, 4:20 a.m. by Monica Louis
Welcome to my channel! If you're a fan of sci-fi movies and are looking for some hidden gems, you're in for a treat. In this video, I'll be sharing my top picks for the most underrated sci-fi films that deserve your attention. These movies may have been overlooked or underrated upon their release due to various reasons like bad timing, marketing, or being ahead of their time. However, they offer something truly special and creative to the genre. Prepare to be amazed by clever plot twists, stunning visual styles, thought-provoking premises, and memorable performances.
Which one of these underrated sci-fi movies do you think deserves more recognition? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let's dive right in!
05:25 John Carter (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
10 Underrated Sci-Fi Movies You Should Watch At Least Once | Sci-Fi Movie Recommendations
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Hello everyone and welcome to my channel.
If you're looking for some hidden gems in the sci-fi genre, you've come to the right
In this video, I'm going to show you some of the most underrated sci-fi films that you
should watch at least once.
These are films that may have been overlooked or underrated when they were released.
Some suffer from bad timing or marketing.
Others are simply too innovative for audiences to fully grasp at the time of their release.
but they have something special and creative to offer the genre.
Whether it's a clever plot twist, a stunning visual style, a thought-provoking premise
or a memorable performance, these films will surprise and delight you.
But which one do you think is the most underrated?
Let me know in the comments and let's get started!
The Abyss (20th Century Fox)
James Cameron is a master of blockbuster cinema, with hits like the Terminator series, Titanic,
and Avatar under his belt.
But there is one of his most ambitious and overlooked projects, the 1989 sci-fi adventure
It tells the story of a team of scientists sent to investigate a sunken nuclear submarine
at the bottom of the ocean.
There they encounter a hostile environment, a mysterious force, and a possible encounter
The film was a passion project for Cameron, who was fascinated by the underwater world
and wanted to push the boundaries of filmmaking technology.
He designed a complex system of underwater cameras, lighting and sets to create a realistic
and immersive experience for the audience.
The production was plagued by delays, accidents, and budget overruns.
It cost $43 million to make, but grossed only $54 million in the U.S. He also demanded a
lot from his actors, who had to endure long hours in a giant water tank, wearing heavy
diving suits and breathing apparatus.
Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who starred as a divorced couple who still
have feelings for each other, nearly died during filming and have since refused to speak
publicly about the movie.
Critics praised the visual effects and stunning underwater scenes, but criticized the film
for being "overlong" and "implausible" with a "ridiculous" finale.
It was also poorly timed.
Two other films with similar themes, had bombed earlier that year, so audiences lost interest
in another underwater thriller.
The Abyss remains one of Cameron's most underrated films, though it shows his visionary talent
and ability to create exciting and emotional stories.
Dark City (New Line Cinema)
A year before The Matrix blew everyone away with its sci-fi twist on reality, another
film explored similar concepts with a noir aesthetic and a mind-bending plot.
Dark City is a cult classic that deserves greater recognition for its originality and
Directed by Alex Proyas, Dark City follows the story of John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell),
who wakes up in a strange hotel room with no memory and a murder scene.
He soon realizes that he lives in a city that is constantly being manipulated by mysterious
entities that can alter people's memories and identities.
He must find out who he is and what is going on before they catch him.
Dark City pays homage to many cinematic influences, from the expressionist masterpiece Metropolis
to the cyberpunk anime Akira to the neo-noir Blade Runner.
Some critics dismissed it as derivative, while others hailed it as a "masterpiece" and a
Roger Ebert gave it four stars and later called it one of his "great films".
The movie was not well received by test audiences, who found it confusing and dark.
In addition, and worst of all, the studio decided to cut some scenes and add a voice-over
narration that revealed the main twist in the first minute.
Proyas was unhappy with this decision and felt that the film was "lost" in the marketing
The film had a budget of $27 million, but only made $5 million in its opening weekend.
Dark City is a film that deserves to be rediscovered and appreciated for its artistic vision and
The film uses its production design and cinematography to create a unique and compelling world that
reflects its themes of identity, memory, and reality.
The film also has a surprising twist that reveals the true nature of the city and its
The film explores what makes us human and what defines our reality in a way that is
both thrilling and thought-provoking.
Event Horizon (Paramount Pictures)
Event Horizon was a flop when it was released in 1997.
Critics panned it as a mess of a movie that was too violent, too confusing, and too derivative.
Set in the year 2047, the movie follows a crew of astronauts sent to find out what happened
to a spaceship called the Event Horizon, which disappeared into a black hole seven years
When they arrive at the ship, they find it deserted.
But as they explore its dark and twisted interior, they discover they are not alone.
The film had a troubled production from the start.
When Titanic was delayed, Paramount gave director Paul WS Anderson a hefty $60 million budget
and unprecedented creative control, urging him to quickly bring his vision to life.
With a penchant for horror, Anderson set out to create a chilling sci-fi tale inspired
more by the psychological terror of The Shining than the cerebral journey of 2001: A Space
However, the first cut of the film, which veered into gruesome and disturbing territory,
was met with vehement disapproval from test audiences.
Recognizing the need for significant changes, Anderson was forced to cut numerous scenes
and tone down the explicit violence that had initially shocked viewers.
This process undoubtedly left the final version of Event Horizon a far cry from his original
Unfortunately, when the movie finally emerged in its revised form, it failed to resonate
with audiences and critics alike.
The visceral violence, which had been toned down, still left a lasting impression and
contributed to the negative reception.
As fate would have it, Event Horizon plummeted at the box office, grossing only $26 million.
This significant financial loss dealt a devastating blow to Paramount, adding to the disappointment
surrounding the ill-fated project.
But in the years since its release, Event Horizon has gained a cult following.
Even its tonal shift from sci-fi mystery to horror nightmare is praised, with the third
act being one of the most terrifying and shocking depictions of hell ever shown on screen.
John Carter (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
John Carter is one of the most infamous box office bombs in history.
It was supposed to launch a new blockbuster franchise for Disney, but instead it became
a huge financial disaster.
The movie follows a Civil War soldier who is transported to the red planet, where he
becomes involved in a war between different alien races.
The movie was directed by Andrew Stanton, who had previously made such hits as Finding
Nemo and Wall-E for Pixar.
The movie had a rich and imaginative world, full of strange and wonderful creatures, and
a hero as adventurous as Burroughs' other famous creation, Tarzan.
Disney invested about $350 million in the movie, hoping to recoup their investment with
a massive box office hit.
But the movie needed to make at least $600 million to break even, and it fell far short
of that goal.
It resulted in a $200 million loss for Disney, which led them to buy Lucasfilm a year later
and focus on more reliable franchises like Marvel and Star Wars.
John Carter may be known as the biggest flop of all time, but it was not as bad as its
Critics loved its original world-building and stunning visual effects.
Ironically, the source material - the Edgar Rice Burroughs series - may have hurt John
Carter's chances of success.
Both George Lucas and James Cameron have cited Burroughs' stories as inspiration for Star
Wars and Avatar, respectively.
And by the time John Carter finally made it to the big screen, everyone already knew the
exact same plot.
Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros.)
One of the most ambitious and daring sequels ever made, Blade Runner 2049 is a stunning
achievement that honors and extends the legacy of Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic Blade
Set 30 years after the original film, Blade Runner 2049 follows K (Ryan Gosling), a replicant
blade runner who hunts down and "retires" rogue replicants.
His life changes when he stumbles upon a shocking discovery: the remains of a female replicant
who died while giving birth.
This revelation threatens to upset the fragile balance between humans and Replicants, sending
K on a quest to find the missing child and the truth about his own identity.
Blade Runner 2049 is a visual masterpiece that immerses the viewer in a dystopian future
that feels both familiar and alien.
The film's cinematography, production design and special effects are stunning, creating
a rich and detailed world full of mystery and wonder.
The film's score, composed by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, is haunting and atmospheric,
echoing the iconic music of Vangelis from the original film.
Despite its critical acclaim and loyal fan base, Blade Runner 2049 was a box office disappointment,
grossing only $240 million worldwide against a budget of $155 million.
The film's failure can be attributed to several factors, including its lengthy running time
(nearly three hours), its R-rating (limiting its appeal to younger audiences), its complex
and cerebral plot (requiring familiarity with the original film), and its lack of mainstream
stars (aside from Ford).
However, these factors also make the movie a rare and remarkable work of art that respects
its source material and challenges its audience.
Blade Runner 2049 is not a conventional blockbuster that panders to the lowest common denominator;
it is a visionary and intelligent sci-fi epic that explores profound themes of identity,
memory, humanity, and destiny.
Annihilation (Paramount Pictures)
Annihilation is a mind-bending sci-fi thriller that explores the horrors and wonders of nature
and human nature.
Based on the first novel in the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation was
written and directed by Alex Garland, who previously helmed the acclaimed Ex Machina.
The film stars Natalie Portman as Lena, a former soldier and current biologist who joins
a covert mission into a mysterious zone called Area X.
Area X is a quarantined region where an alien meteorite has created a shimmering dome that
alters the environment and life forms within it.
Lena's husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) was part of a previous expedition to Area X, but he
returned a shell of his former self and fell into a coma.
Lena hopes to find answers and a cure for him by venturing into the unknown with four
other women: a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a physicist (Tessa Thompson), a geologist
(Tuva Novotny), and a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez).
What they discover inside Area X is both beautiful and terrifying, as they encounter mutated
creatures, surreal landscapes, and disturbing secrets.
Annihilation is a visually stunning and intellectually stimulating film that challenges viewers to
question their own perceptions of reality.
The film's sound design and score, composed by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, are equally
immersive and atmospheric, enhancing the mood and tension of the film.
The film's cast delivers powerful performances, especially Portman, who portrays Lena's complex
emotions and motivations with nuance and intensity.
Despite positive reviews and a loyal fan base, Annihilation was a box office flop, grossing
only $43 million worldwide against a budget of $40-55 million.
Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the film, lost confidence in the film after test
screenings showed that audiences found it too confusing and intellectual.
They decided to sell the international distribution rights to Netflix, which meant that the film
was released theatrically only in North America and China.
This decision robbed many viewers of the chance to experience the film on the big screen,
where its visual effects and sound design would have been more impactful.
Alien: Covenant (20th Century Fox)
Alien: Covenant is a sci-fi horror film that continues the Ridley Scott's saga, it is both
a sequel to 2012's Prometheus and a prequel to Alien, bridging the gap between the origins
of the monstrous Xenomorphs and their encounter with the crew of the Nostromo.
The movie follows the crew of the Covenant, a colony ship on its way to a new planet,
Origae-6, where they hope to establish a new home for humanity.
However, a freak accident forces them to divert their course to a nearby planet that seems
more hospitable and promising.
There they discover the wreckage of the Prometheus and its sole survivor, David (Michael Fassbender),
the android who has been experimenting with the alien life forms for over a decade.
David lures the unsuspecting crew into a trap, unleashing his creations upon them and revealing
his sinister plan to wipe out humanity and create a new species.
The film's action sequences are intense and visceral, featuring some of the most gruesome
and inventive kills in the series.
The film's visual effects are stunning and realistic, creating a vivid and immersive
world that is both familiar and alien.
Despite positive reviews and a loyal fan base, Alien: Covenant was a box office disappointment,
grossing only $240 million worldwide against a budget of $97-111 million.
The film's failure can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of marketing, its
dark and violent tone, its complex and controversial plot, and its crowded release date.
Prometheus had a similarly mixed reception five years earlier, but still managed to gross
$400 million worldwide.
Theories as to why Covenant failed to live up to its predecessor range from franchise
fatigue to gruesome content.
Compared to Star Wars, Alien: Covenant has a much more niche appeal.
But despite its occasionally flimsy script, it shows Ridley Scott at his best, combining
the body horror of the original Alien with the philosophizing about what it means to
be human that he explored in Blade Runner.
These qualities are matched by awe-inspiring visuals of a pristine planet, a decaying spaceship,
and even more realistic aliens, making Covenant a standout addition to the series.
Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)
Ad Astra is a sci-fi drama that follows the personal and cosmic journey of Roy McBride
(Brad Pitt), an astronaut who embarks on a mission to find his missing father and save
Directed by James Gray and co-written by Gray and Ethan Gross, Ad Astra is a visually stunning
and emotionally resonant film that explores themes of isolation, identity and humanity.
The film is set in the near future, where humanity has expanded its presence in the
solar system, but also faces a mysterious threat from power surges emanating from Neptune.
Roy McBride is a quiet and stoic space veteran who works for the U.S. Space Command (SpaceCom),
a branch of the military that operates in space.
He is informed that his father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), a legendary astronaut who
led the Lima Project, a mission to search for intelligent life beyond Neptune, may still
be alive and responsible for the surges.
Roy agrees to travel to Mars to try to contact his father and stop the surges.
Along the way, he faces many dangers and challenges, both physical and psychological, as he uncovers
the truth about his father and himself.
Ad Astra is a critically acclaimed film that received praise for its cinematography, production
design, score, and performances, especially Pitt's.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing.
However, the film was also a box office disappointment, grossing only $135 million worldwide against
a budget of $80-100 million.
The film's failure can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of marketing, a
slow and introspective plot, an ambiguous ending, and competition from other films.
Ad Astra had limited appeal to mainstream audiences who were expecting a more action-packed
and straightforward sci-fi adventure.
Ad Astra is a visionary and philosophical sci-fi masterpiece that examines the inner
and outer space of a man's soul.
Under the Skin (A24)
Under the Skin is a sci-fi horror film that offers a unique and disturbing perspective
on humanity and its environment.
Based on the novel by Michel Faber, Under the Skin is directed by Jonathan Glazer and
stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who takes the form of a seductive woman and roams the
streets of Scotland, luring unsuspecting men into her van.
She takes them to a dark and empty house where she leads them into a black pool that consumes
But as she continues her predatory routine, she begins to develop a curiosity and empathy
for the people she encounters, and begins to question her own identity and purpose.
Under the Skin is a visually stunning and daring film that defies easy categorization
The film's narrative is minimal and ambiguous, relying more on images, sounds, and atmosphere
to create a sense of dread and wonder.
The film's cinematography, by Daniel Landin, is striking and contrasting, capturing both
the natural beauty and urban decay of Scotland.
Despite critical acclaim, Under the Skin was a box office failure, grossing only $7.3 million
worldwide against a budget of $13.3 million.
The film's failure can be attributed to several factors, including its lack of marketing,
its unconventional style and structure, its challenging and disturbing content, and its
Predestination (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Predestination is a sci-fi thriller based on the short story "All You Zombies" by Robert
A. Heinlein, which twists and turns through time and paradoxes.
The film stars Ethan Hawke as a temporal agent who works for a secret organization that prevents
crime by traveling back in time.
His latest mission is to stop the elusive terrorist who has killed thousands of people
with his bombs.
To do so, he must track down the bomber's origin and identity, which leads him to a
mysterious stranger in a bar who writes confessions.
The stranger tells him his life story, which is full of temporal paradoxes involving different
versions of the same person.
It would take a long time to explain all the nuances of this story, but suffice it to say
that it is about a man who is both a mother and a father to himself.
Now live with it.
Predestination is a mind-bending movie that plays with the concepts of fate, free will,
The movie's plot is full of surprises and revelations as it gradually unravels the connections
between the characters and their roles in the time loop.
Despite positive reviews, Predestination was a box office failure, grossing only $5.4 million
worldwide against a budget of $5 million.
The film's failure can be attributed to several factors, including its lack of marketing,
its unconventional style and structure, its challenging and confusing plot, and its limited
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