Earlier today I wrote an article that featured 10 classic sci-fi movies that nearly everyone can agree are truly iconic. There’s Star Wars, Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Terminator, Alien, and so on.
But writing that got me thinking about what our modern day sci-fi classics are (within the last two decades or so). I can’t name more than a handful myself. I think that Star Trek makes the cut, but certainly none of the new Star Wars trilogy does. I would say The Prestige, though it’s not sci-fi in the traditional sense, and Sunshine, though only a handful of people have seen it. The same goes for Gattaca. I think we can all agree The Matrix should be on there. Transformers? Ehhh. I would vote yes on Independence Day, no on Armageddon.
None of the new Alien or Terminator sequels qualify. I would nominate Contact but everyone else but me hates that movie. Not Starship Troopers, and not Battlestar Galactica because it’s a TV show. And not Serenity because really, it’s still a TV show. Cloverfield? Maybe. I Am Legend? No. I think Minority Report is almost there, but not A.I. or I, Robot. Do any of the superhero movies count? If so, what makes the list? Spiderman? The Dark Knight? And isn’t Dark Knight just a crime drama with costumes?
So where does that leave us? Without a doubt James Cameron’s Avatar will eventually make the currently very short list. But what else am I missing? Is modern day sci-fi really that bleak?
Even the ones I said do qualify, I have to admit that barely any of them feel like true classics the way the actual classics indisputably do. Maybe we’re just not far enough away from them yet, but I want to hear your own suggestions in the comments.