As one of the most visually stunning and thought-provoking movie genres in existence, science fiction has set the bar rather high. Star Wars is still the biggest thing that ever happened to the movies and Tarkovsky’s critical 70’s masterpieces like Solaris and Stalker still engross and grip audiences today.
It's a broad spectrum. The breadth of the genre is seemingly limitless and its dedication to the question, ‘where are we going?’, means that it is still just as vital today as it ever has been. And as indication, some of the modern directorial masters like Denis Villeneuve and Christopher Nolan have made both breathtaking and successful contributions to the genre by way of Arrival (2016) and Interstellar (2014).
But as history has shown us with Vincent Van Gogh, some gems slip through the cracks and are initially painfully underappreciated. Whether it was bad timing, misguided marketing or their works were simply too esoteric, some of the greatest sci-fi films suffered huge box office losses.
Some have managed to gather a cult following and even become heralded as masterpieces. But others have yet to find their deserved audience.
10. Strange Days (1995)
This gritty tale was written by James Cameron while he was just finding his ‘Tech-Noir’ feet in the mid-80’s. His then-wife Kathryn Bigelow directed it ten years later with a sharp focus on the criminal exploitation of new technologies.
It has been sighted as an inspiration for the Matrix and broke new ground in POV cinematography.
The performances are strong and the social commentary remains relevant today. It touches on mankind’s perversions and pulls no punches regarding its more controversial scenes. The film nearly finished Kathryn Bigelow’s career, which is a total injustice given its forward-thinking narrative and visually stunning cinematography.
Budget: $42,000,000 estimated