Science fiction films offer us visions of the future (well, from the perspective of the times in which they were made) that open our minds to the possibilities of what humankind might be capable of, in both the good and bad sense. These are some of the best sci-fi films on Stan.
Ready Player One
Based on Ernest Cline's best-selling novel of the same name, Ready Player One sees mega-director Steven Spielberg return to science fiction for the first time since 2005's War of the Worlds. Set in a distant future where humanity spends most of its time within a virtual reality realm known as The Oasis, Ready Player One sees Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) and friends attempt to track down a hidden Easter Egg that would grant them ownership and control of the whole virtual world. Of course, it's a race against time, as the nefarious corporate stooge Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) is also after the same prize, and has plans to exploit the online realm for commercial benefit. Packed with more pop culture references from the last 30 years than can be conceivably spotted in one viewing, Ready Player One is a delightful and visually spectacular adventure for fanboys and fangirls everywhere.
The film that put both director Neill Blomkamp (Elysium) and star Sharlto Copley (Powers) on the international stage, District 9 is an ingenious science fiction Apartheid allegory that puts marooned aliens in South African concentration camps. An anti-alien pencil pusher (Copley) has his whole world turned upside down when he is sprayed with some kind of liquid that's slowly turning him into an alien, and now he has to team up with one of the "prawns" he so despises if he has any hope of turning back to normal. Hilarious, action-packed and filled with flinch-worthy body horror moments, District 9 is an instant classic that rightfully earned a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Now available to stream on Stan in glorious 4K.
With director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie) announcing that he's bringing RoboCop back to cinemas with a direct sequel to the original 1987 film, now's as good a time as any to revisit this ultra-violent classic. A cutting satire of corporate greed in the '80s, Robocop is more than the sum of its parts. Brilliantly directed by Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Starship Troopers), the film sees a rookie cop viciously murdered by a group of criminals, only to be revived by a corporation and used as a robotic crime-fighting product. Pretty soon, his memories start to return, and it's only a matter of time before he tracks down his killers and discovers the real intents of his makers.
Ridley Scott's thought-provoking cyberpunk masterpiece wasn't fully appreciated until a decade after its release, where it received a director's cut that addressed and excised some of the studio interference that plagued the theatrical version of the film. Harrison Ford plays Deckard, the titular Blade Runner. He's a cop of sorts whose job is to hunt down and eliminate rogue replicants, which are like artificial humans created as off-world slave labour. When a group of them decide they'd rather live, going on a killing spree in the process, Deckard sets out to take them down, but maybe this time it won't be so easy...
A science fiction classic, The Matrix is a cautionary tale about artificial intelligence packaged as an action-packed, visual effects spectacular. Inspired by martial arts films, anime and cyberpunk literature, The Matrix sees Neo (Keanu Reeves) discover that the world as we know it is an elaborate computer simulation that masks the real truth – Earth is a wasteland and humans are being kept alive in chambers to act as the batteries powering our new machine overlords. Whoa.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Steven Spielberg is known for making heart-warming, sentimental movies, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial might be the one that best embodies that. A classic family film about a lonely kid (Henry Thomas) who develops a bond with a friendly alien marooned on our planet, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is capable of melting even the coldest of hearts.