Best Science Fiction Movies Of 2009… So Far

By Josh Tyler | 12 years ago

It’s mid-June which means we’re halfway through 2009. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been spending a lot of it in movie theaters, glued to the screen as Hollywood delivers more science fiction movies which aren’t science fiction movies than ever. Well of course they’re science fiction movies, it’s just that nobody wants to call them that. After all, you wouldn’t want a bunch of nerds showing up at the red carpets. But we show up anyway, and as long as we’re watching here’s a list of the best science fiction movies of 2009 so far. Make sure you’ve seen them all.

Star Trek
Star Trek would deserve its place in the top spot, if only for that opening ten minutes which left most audiences simultaneously sobbing and gasping for breath. Is this the Star Trek we used to know? Thoughtful, challenging, and socially relevant? Nope. It’s morphed into a high-octane Hollywood action franchise and maybe some day down the road we’ll all live to regret that, but for now it’s hard not to sit back and just enjoy the fun. Sure it’s not as good as Wrath of Khan and some of the other smarter, better, classic Trek entries but it’s a blast and a movie that I find myself liking more with every passing day.

Watchmen transcends the superhero genre. It’s also smart science fiction about an alternate world where Nixon is still president and the only way to save mankind is to trick him into believing there’s an impending alien invastio… wait scratch that… trick him into believing there’s a rogue superman out to get him. Nothing will ever top the graphic novel on which it’s based but Zack Snyder’s adaptation is as close as it gets to faithfully bringing Alan Moore’s literary classic to the big screen. Most importantly, it’s got balls, both literally and figuratively. It’s challenging and fearless, unafraid to show you its big, blue, penis.

Crank: High Voltage
Maybe it’d be safer to call this Mad science fiction that actual science fiction, but whatever you call it Chev Chelios goes through another equally crazy, out of this world transformation. He races, half-naked more often than not, through a world populated by re-animated severed heads, super-drugs, electronic hearts which can be run off car batteries, and crazy organ harvesting Asians all out to take what’s his. It’s sick, it’s twisted, and completely immoral. I loved every second.

Moon is Doug Jones’ entry into the trippy, thoughtful sci-fi drama made famous by movies like 2001 and Solaris. It’s the first in awhile to really get it right. Others like Danny Boyle have tried, but Moon is just original enough and smart enough to make it work. Sam Rockwell stars as an astronaut, all alone on the moon where he toils endlessly to harvest helium and send it back to Earth. To tell you much more than that would be to ruin the movie even though, let’s face it the trailers already did that for you. Spoiled or not, Moon is a strange and soft-spoken movie and the year’s most brainy piece of original science fiction so far.

Alex Proyas’ much-maligned end of the world thriller deserves more credit than it’s gotten. I think it’s liquid science fiction, poured straight into your brain without shame or another one of Hollywood’s attempts to disguise sci-fi as something more acceptable to the American Idol-lovin masses. Nic Cage stars a father whose kid gets a 50-year-old letter from a time capsule. Encoded in the letter are the dates, death tolls, and coordinates of every major disaster that has happened since the document was first written. There are only three more disasters to go, and the first of them happens tomorrow. Knowing is far from director Alex Proyas best movie and it’s a serious bummer, but as solid science fiction it works. It’s entertaining and engrossing. Don’t dismiss it.

Battle for Terra
It starts out all wrong as a preachy anti-technology screed, but halfway through Battle for Terra abandons its message and finds its footing as a heartfelt, emotional science fiction movie. Unafraid to tackle tough issues, it doesn’t let the fact that its animated limit it to being a kids’ movie. It takes place in a far off future, where man has destroyed the Earth and only a scant few escape, roaming the galaxy for generations in search of a new home. They find it, on a planet named Terra, a planet which is unfortunately already inhabited by Ewok-like, peaceful aliens. Unfortunately, for man to live the aliens must die, setting up a moral dilemma for an Earth pilot who befriends one of the natives.

Push is what NBC’s Heroes could be, if that show were ever able to relax for a minute and have a little fun. It follows a group of people with super powers, hiding and running from a government backed organization called Division. The world’s superheroes come in a variety of different flavors. Movers can move things with their mind, Watchers can see the future, Pushers can control your mind, and so on. We follow a Mover and Watcher as they get wrapped up in a save the world plot which, while not particularly inspired, is serviceable enough to let us have a little fun watching Chris Evans throw people against the wall with telekinesis.

Monsters vs. Aliens
With a title like Monsters vs. Aliens you’d expect a movie stuffed to the gills with crazy, monster on alien action. Unfortunately this isn’t that movie. While a somewhat disappointing experience, it’s gorgeous in 3D and thanks to brilliant voice work by people like Stephen Colbert and Seth Rogen, also pretty hilarious. It’s missing the tension and excitement it deserves, but it’s so flat out silly most who saw it probably didn’t care.

The Worst Science Fiction Movies Of 2009… So Far

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
It’s not as bad as some portray it, but it’s not exactly great either. Bad plot, mediocre special effects, and the absolute ruination of a great character like Deadpool make this a big mix.

Former Jesus Jim Caviezel is an astronaut stranded on ancient Earth among the Vikings. It’s well directed and for low-budget barbarian sci-fi it looks a lot better than it should. Unfortunately the script is filled primarily of half-formed ideas which never really go anywhere and the barbarians aren’t particularly convincing.

Race to Witch Mountain
The original wasn’t particularly great and with a little help from The Rock Disney managed to make it even worse.

Terminator: Salvation
Even for a movie based on a time travel franchise this plot is pretty ridiculous. See it, if you like your Terminator watered-down and terminally brain dead.

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