The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 30 “00s Sci-fi Movies”

This is to be the 3rd piece of a fairly new series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade, like, for example – the 25 Best Action Movies of the 90s or the 25 Best Comedies of the 80s. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific. We use Excel. So here it is…

30. Transformers (2007)
29. Signs (2002)
28. War of the Worlds (2005)
27.  The Island (2005)
26. Equilibrium (2002)

25. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
24. Idiocracy (2006)
23. Vanilla Sky (2001)
22. A.I. (2001)
21. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Sci-Fi

20. Evolution (2001)
19. Pitch Black (2000)
18. I Am Legend (2007)
17.  Sunshine (2007)
16. Terminator: Salvation (2009)

15. Cloverfield (2008)
14. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
13. Primer (2004)
12. Children of Men (2006)
11. Moon (2009)

Sci-Fi

10. Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

Sci-Fi

The third chapter in the prequel saga was easily it’s strongest, and though it obviously still can’t compare to the original movies, it’s not without its charms.

6 years worth of CG effects and stale acting all pay off when we finally see Anakin’s transformation. First he facilitates the murder of Mace Windu, slaughters some younglings, and then chokes out Padme. After that it’s all out war with Master Kenobi, which doesn’t go well for little Ani. The loss of his legs and subsequent dip into the river of lava left him slightly agitated, and triggered the emperor’s robots to transform him into the Vader we all knew and loved.

US Release: May 19, 2005
Director: 
George Lucas
Notable Cast: Ewan McGregorNatalie PortmanHayden ChristensenIan McDiarmidSamuel L. JacksonJimmy SmitsFrank OzAnthony DanielsChristopher LeeTemuera MorrisonKenny BakerJoel EdgertonPeter Mayhew, and James Earl Jones.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Makeup)
US/Total Box Office:
 $380,270,577/$848,754,768

Best Quote: “You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them. You were to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness.”

Trivia: George Lucas originally intended to have Peter Cushing reprise his role as Tarkin, years after his death, through the use of stock footage and digital technology. However, the idea was scrapped when the footage of Cushing was deemed unusable.

9. Minority Report

Sci-Fi

Welcome to the world without crime. In the futuristic Washington DC, there’s no crime because your ass is put away the moment you think of committing a murder. Thanks to the all-powerful ‘Pre Cogs’ and the Pre-Crime unit, murders are virtually unheard of. And the system is flawless, or at least we are lead to believe so until the head of the Pre-Crime Unit (Cruise) is pegged by the trio of psychics for future murder.

One of Crusie’s last big hits before jumping on Oprah’s couch and alienating half the country,  Minority Report also helped familiarize American’s with Colin Farrell’s name.

US Release: June 21, 2002
Director: Steven Spielberg
Notable Cast: Tom CruiseSteve HarrisMax von SydowNeal McDonoughColin FarrellTim Blake NelsonCameron CrowePaul Thomas Anderson, and Peter Stormare.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Sound Editing)
US/Total Box Office: $132,072,926/$358,372,926

Best Quote: “Mr. Marks, by mandate of the District of Columbia Precrime Division, I’m placing you under arrest for the future murder of Sarah Marks and Donald Dubin that was to take place today, April 22 at 0800 hours and four minutes.”

Trivia: The “PreCogs” were all named after famous mystery writers. Dashiell HammettArthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie.

8. Wall-E

Sci-Fi

ET meets Short Circuit. I think it was impossible for anyone who grew up in the 80s not to think that when they saw Wall-E. Pixar pretty much always hits it out of the park, but for me, this has to be looked at as one of their best. Poor little Wall-E, left to clean up the mess left by the lazy humans that thrashed the planet. So when we join him he’s plugging along doing an impossible job, doomed to die alone. Until that is the appearance of Eve. Wall-E falls in love and is inspired to follow her into space where we see what has happened to the remaining human population. This is basically a post apocalyptic tragedy disguised as a kids movie.

US Release: June 27, 2008
Director: Andrew Stanton
Notable Cast: Jeff GarlinFred WillardJohn RatzenbergerKathy NajimySigourney Weaver, Ben Burtt and Laraine Newman.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/6 (Won: Animated Feature/Nom: Original Screenplay, Score, Song, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing)
US/Total Box Office: $223,808,164/$521,311,860

Best Quote: “Too much garbage in your face? There’s plenty of space out in space! BnL StarLiners leaving each day. We’ll clean up the mess while you’re away.”

Triva: Within the first 5 minutes there is monologue via the holographic billboards. The first dialogue between WALL·E and EVE begins 22 minutes into the movie. The first human dialogue begins 39 minutes into the movie.

7. Avatar

Sci-FiThe single highest grossing film of all time (not adjusted for inflation) is 2009’s Avatar, a classic story that can be related to films like Disney’s Pocahontas, and has some pretty obvious pro-environment undertones. But it was successful not because of the story, but for 2 reasons in particular.

1. It was, simply put, the most visually stunning movie I have ever seen. It’s also the only movie I’ve seen where I can say it was worth the upcharge for the 3D.
2. The Party Crahser was in it.

What else did you need?

US Release: December 18, 2009
Director: James Cameron
Notable Cast: The Party CrasherSigourney WeaverZoe SaldanaSam WorthingtonMichelle RodriguezGiovanni RibisiJoel David Moore, and CCH Pounder.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 3/9 (Won: Art Direction, Cinematography, Visual Effects/Nom: Best Picture, Director, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, Original Score)
US/Total Box Office: $760,507,625/$2,782,275,172

Best Quote: Well, well, well. I’d say diplomacy has failed. ”

Triva: Michael Biehn was considered for the role of Col. Quaritch. James Cameron rejected him because he’d already cast Sigourney Weaver, and he didn’t want people to think it was Aliens all over again.

6. Serenity

Sci-Fi

Here it is again. Ineptitude at FOX killed Firefly, a show that could have been our generation’s Star Trek even quicker than NBC killed the original Star Trek. The result was creator Joss Whedon releasing Serenity as a way to help close off the story and give fans some closure. Granted, it didn’t work as most of us are still clamoring for a revival, but this is where we are.

The movie itself is all about the River Tam situation finally coming to a head, as our beloved outlaws are hunted down by the Alliance’s finest assassin. Though sad, it was a fitting end as we are allowed to see Mal come out on top and get a win for the Browncoats.

US Release: September 30, 2005
Director: Joss Whedon
Notable Cast: Nathan FillionAlan TudykAdam BaldwinSummer GlauDavid Krumholtz, Chiwetel EjioforGlenn Howerton, and Ron Glass.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $25,514,517/$38,869,464

Best Quote: “You all wanna be looking very intently at your own belly buttons. I see a head start to rise, violence is going to ensue. Probably guessed we mean to be thieving here but what we’re after is not yours. So, let’s have no undue fussing.”
Trivia: In the cargo bay, just after a Reaver is shot, some of the crates behind River have the message “Reusable Container: Do Not Destroy” printed on them. It’s an inside joke. The ship set had to be rebuilt from scratch for the movie because the original, from the show, was destroyed.

5. District 9

Sci-Fi

District 9 took the alien genre in a whole new direction, taking place years after the aliens have arrived in South Africa. The story follows Wikus, a government agent tasked with relocating the segregated alien ‘Prawns’. The Prawns have lived in poverty in District 9 for 20 years, with little compassion from their human ‘hosts’. Once Wikus is exposed to their biotechnology and slowly transformed into one of them, the tables are quickly turned as the oppressor becomes the oppressed, and is soon sought after by his own government and forced to work alongside the ‘enemy’ to reverse the changes and help the aliens leave Earth. This is an alien movie that shows us who the real monsters are.

US Release: August 14, 2009
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Notable Cast: Sharlto Copley
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/4 (Best Picture, Film Editing, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay)
US/Total Box Office: $115,646,235/$210,819,611
Best Quote: “Here, you can take that, you want to keep that, as a souvenir of your first abortion, ay. You can feel like you’ve done one of these too.”
Triva: After the feature film based on the Halo video game series which was to be directed by Neill Blomkamp fell through, producer Peter Jackson went to Blomkamp and offered him $30 million to make whatever he wanted. The result was this film.

4. 28 Days Later

Sci-Fi

This 2003 Sci-fi thriller helped launch current Zombie craze, though really it’s not about Zombies. This isn’t a case of the dead rising from there graves so much as it is an infection of RAGE!

Ok, the rage thing was kind of cheesy, but the movie was great. We got introduced to Cillian Murphy and depending on what theater you went to, you got 1 of 3 different endings.

Speed and aggressiveness would have to be key factors that set this apart from other Zombie-type movies.

US Release: June 27, 2003
Director: Danny Boyle
Notable Cast: Cillian MurphyNaomie HarrisBrendan Gleeson, and Christopher Eccleston.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $45,064,915/$82,719,885

Best Quote: “He was full of plans. Have you got any plans, Jim? Do you want us to find a cure and save the world or just fall in love and f–k? Plans are pointless. Staying alive’s as good as it gets.”
Triva: Horror novelist Stephen King bought out an entire showing of the film in New York City.

3. Donnie Darko

Sci-Fi

Donnie Darko is the story of… well, a kid named Donnie Darko. Donnie suffers from extreme dissociation, time fugues, and insomniac hallucinations AKA Puberty. We follow Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he experiences weird dreams, hallucinations, thoughts of murder, moments of utter clarity, and creepy chats with a dude in the most horrific bunny costume ever seen. What we eventually find out is that Donnie is caught in a time loop, and only he can align his life properly to escape it, and save the world. I think. I guarantee you won’t figure that out after the first watching. This is a ‘time traveling’ mindf–k of a movie with a strange cast of A-list actors (Drew Barrymore, Patrick freakin Swayze), well deserved of it’s #3 spot.

US Release: October 26, 2001
Director: Richard Kelly
Notable Cast: Jake GyllenhaalMaggie GyllenhaalMary McDonnellHolmes OsbornePatrick SwayzeSeth RogenJena MaloneBeth GrantNoah Wyle, Ashley Tisdale, and Drew Barrymore.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $1,270,522
Best Quote: “You’re right, actually. I am pretty- I’m, I’m pretty troubled and I’m, I’m pretty confused. But I… and I’m afraid. Really, really afraid. Really afraid. But I… I… I think you’re the f–king Antichrist.”
Triva: The movie takes place in 1988. Frank tells Donnie the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. If you add these numbers, the sum is 88. When Samantha asks when she can have kids, Donnie says: “Not until 8th grade.” Donnie mentions to his therapist that his dog Callie died when he was eight. (He is later seen holding a stuffed toy dog in her office.) Donnie jokes about the Back to the Future DeLorean which had a speed of 88 MPH. According to the television reporter, the fire at Jim Cunningham’s house was extinguished “sometime after 8:00 last night.” The red-eye flight that almost crashes is Flight 2806 which boards at Gate 42 at 12 AM. The climax of Donnie Darko occurs one week before the 1988 US presidential election, when George Bush won on November 8, 1988 11/08/88. The movie was shot (for a budget of less than US $5 million) in 28 days. There are 28 scenes in the director’s cut of this film.

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sci-Fi

In my mind, this is right up there with The Dark Knight as the biggest Oscar snubs since the turn of the century. Jim Carrey’s sad bastard ‘Joel’ is stuck in his own mind as he’s hired a company to go in and erase any memory of his ex-girlfriend. During the process though he changes his mind and decides he doesn’t want to let go of her, leading to an epic game off hide and seek within his mind to try to save her from deletion. Carrey’s performance, the best of his career, really cuts true to anyone who has suffered heartbreak and just wanted to forget. The film though comes full circle when Joel and his ex – Clementine Kruczynski have a chance meeting and fall for each other again. It’s maybe the most warped romance ever.

US Release: March 19, 2004
Directors: Michel Gondry
Notable Cast: Jim CarreyKate WinsletElijah WoodMark RuffaloJane AdamsDavid CrossKirsten Dunst, and Tom Wilkinson.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/2 (Won: Original Screenplay/Nom: Lead Actress)
US/Total Box Office: $34,400,301/$72,258,126

Best Quote: “Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it’s on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you’ll miss.”
Trvia: The original screenplay by Charlie Kaufman included a short conversation between Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) about the album “Rain Dogs” by Tom Waits during one of the opening scenes on the train. During this conversation Joel says he remembers buying the album and liking it, but he can’t remember anything about it. While the dialogue was stripped from the film, during the fast shots of Stan (Mark Ruffalo) showing Joel the items he has brought in that remind him of Clementine a copy of the CD “Rain Dogs” can be seen for just a moment. Also the “blue ruin” reference comes from a lyric on the same album.

1. Star Trek

Sci-Fi

2009’s Star Trek was a smash hit, and in a rare turn, it was actually the best movie of all the Trek movies, which isn’t something you often see in the 11th chapter of a franchise. I’m looking at you Moonraker. What Abrams did here was effectively launch another sequel, but also successfully rebooted the franchise. This was for me, the best movie of 2009, just edging out Inglourious Basterds. It was action packed, and funny, and the cast was great and extremely likable which isn’t easy when you’re replacing icons. The upcoming Star Trek 2 (12) is one of the most anticipated movies pending right now, and that is because this one was so universally enjoyed. Live long and prosper baby!

US Release: May 8, 2009
Director: J.J. Abrams
Notable Cast: Chris PineZachary QuintoLeonard NimoyEric BanaBruce GreenwoodKarl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon PeggJohn ChoAnton YelchinWinona RyderChris HemsworthJennifer MorrisonRachel NicholsClifton Collins Jr., and Tyler Perry.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/4 (Won: Makeup/Nom: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects)
US/Total Box Office: $257,730,019/$385,680,446

Best Quote: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.”
Triva: There is a supposed “odd-numbered movie curse” associated with the Star Trek films in which the odd-numbered films tend to be weaker and the even-numbered ones tend to be stronger. This curse was supposedly proved false with the poor reception of film ten, Star Trek: Nemesis This new Star Trek is the eleventh film. Years before, Simon Pegg‘s character in Spaced joked that every odd-numbered Star Trek film being “shit” was a fact of life. Pegg noted: “Fate put me in the movie to show me I was talking out of my ass.”

So that is our list, I hope you enjoyed it. Here are a few fun facts about the results…

MOST APPEARANCES IN THE TOP 30
Chiwetel Ejifor/Ewan McGregor/Glenn Morshower/Odette Annable/Jamie McBride/Julie White/Cillian Murphy/Tom Cruise/Mitch Baker/Sean Bean/Christian Bale/Sam Rockwell/Terry Crews/Jude Law/Giovanni Ribisi/Julianne Moore/Anton Yelchin/Sam Worthington  (2 Movies Each)

MOST FREQUENT DIRECTOR
1. Stephen Spielberg – 3 Movies (War of the Worlds, AI, Minority Report)
2. Michael Bay – 2 Movies (The Island, Transformers)

MOST POPULAR YEAR
1. 2005, 2009 (5 Movies Each)
2. 2001 (4 Movies)
3. 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 (3 Movies)
4. 2008 (2 Movies Each)
5. 2000, 2003 (0 Movies)

Also check out our other Best of the Genre (By Decade)

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27 thoughts on “The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 30 “00s Sci-fi Movies””

  1. pitch black should be #1 only reason i visited this slow loading site was spamming on that imdb forum

    list is very mainstream centric, most of the movies are awful

    where’s man from earth or matrix 1

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  2. This list, well like most top movie list, doesn’t cut it.

    Not only Start Trek being first is a joke (any of the other film in the top 10 could be first, but absolutely not Star trek) and lots of movies are missing like Inception (duh) or, first and foremost, V for Vendetta.

    And as for the definition of Sci-Fi, I’m not sure I agree on 28 days later (it’s horror), Eternal Spotless (it’s a Drama Romance even if it includes sci-fi) or Donnie Darko (clearly a drama).

    Like

    1. Haha. Well, where to start…

      – ‘Inception’ did not come out between 2000-2009, therefore it doesn’t count. It was released in 2010, otherwise it would have been on the list.
      – ‘V for Vendetta’ is a Comic Book Movie, which is in it’s own category.
      – ’28 Days Later’ is a post-apocalyptic horror/thriller about a virus that wipes out millions of people – Sorta of like V, but without a guy in a mask.
      – ‘Eternal Sunshine’ is a movie where they enter a man’s memory to alter his memories – Sound anything like ‘Inception’?
      – ‘Donnie Darko’ is about Time Travel. If Time Travel isn’t Sci-Fi, then what is?

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    2. 28 Days Later was fantastic. Star Trek was also good. Eternal and Darko, less so for me, but the definition of the list is really anything he wants to put on it. Note the inclusion of children’s animation, which I would personally question. But hey, it’s his list, so I have no problem with however he wants to classify it.

      Like

  3. Sky Captain and Transformers above A Scanner Darkly?!?, lol. What a truly aweful list. If by best they mean, cheap ass thrills but ultimately forgetful, then sure Star Trek is number 1 with Transformers a close 2nd. Perhaps they were trying to give some definitive list that includes both the Intellectual stimulus AND throwaway popcorn sci-fi, but it still fails bigtime.

    Best Star Trek of all the movies?, I think you’ll find most people would pick Star Trek 2 over that. The new Star Trek can be summed up by two words, LENS FLARE!!. Something that annoyed the crap out of a lot of people.

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  4. I have to disagree with much of this list. Some of these definitely belong on there–28 Days Later, Star Trek, Minority Report, Equilibrium, Cloverfield, etc, but NO WAY is Star Trek better than Avatar. Avatar should be in the top spot. Transformers wasn’t very good, and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is probably in my bottom 5 sci-fi movies of all time. It was truly awful.

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    1. Star Trek was WAY better then Avatar IMO. I could watch Star Trek multiple times and it would still be exciting. Avatar, well, I had a very hard time sitting through the second time. The story gets old REAL fast.

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  5. I thought Star Trek’s plot was terrible. The villain was really uninspired. We have seen all that before. Some really bad comedic moments. (Scotty with his green midget? Kirk with his bloated hands?).

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  6. There’s NO WAY Serenity can be beaten by Star Trek !!!! For obvious reasons.
    And Transformers doesn’t belong in the list, it’s pure terrific crap, nothing more.

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  7. There’s NO WAY Serenity can be beaten by Star Trek !!!! For obvious reasons.
    And Transformers doesn’t belong in the list, it’s pure terrific crap, nothing more.

    Like

  8. No Solaris is surprising.

    Good to see Primer in there and would have liked to also see The Jacket and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

    I disagree that V for Vendetta is not Science Fiction. It is a sci fi comic and not the same as a superhero movie like, say, Watchmen.

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  9. Comic book movie is not a genre mate. Comic books are just a type of media like books or plays. Anyways just saying, its your list do what you will.

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  10. such a crappy list, i’ll definitely never stumble into this website again. i can’t believe i even wasted the 60 secs reading and then writing this post.

    Like

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