Classic Science Fiction Movies

2000s Science Fiction

The decade started out with some imaginative space-based science fiction films and soon degenerated into a series of remakes of classic films from the distant past. Some of those remakes worked well, like Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek." Others, like "The Time Machine" and "The Day the Earth Stood Still" weren't as successful. Thankfully, the decade ended with two popular, special effects blockbusters. Listed here are my "Top 12" science fiction movies of the 2000s. Click here for my All-Time Top 10 list.

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Super Nova
(2000 - 90 min) ***

Plot: In the early 22nd Century, the crew of a medical research ship rescues a man who unearthed a mysterious alien artifact in deep space and, as the ship contends with trying to escape a nearby super nova, a series of deaths begins to occur aboard the ship.

Robert Forster
James Spader
Angela Bassett
Wilson Cruz
Lou Diamond Phillips
Robin Tunney
Peter Facinelli
Directed by Daniel Chuba

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Mission to Mars
(2000 - 112 min) ****

Plot: The first manned mission to Mars is stranded on the Red Planet, leading to a desperate rescue mission, which makes an unbelievable discovery.

Don Cheadle
Gary Sinise
Tim Robbins
Connie Nielsen
Jerry O'Connell
Directed by Brian De Palma

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Space Cowboys
(2000 - 129 min) ****

Plot: Four over-the-hill former test pilots who never got the chance to travel into space during the 1960s get a second chance in a desperate mission to save an important Russian communications satellite from crashing back to Earth.

Clint Eastwood
Tommy Lee Jones
James Garner
Donald Sutherland
Directed by Clint Eastwood

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Red Planet
(2000 - 106 min) ***

Plot: By 2050, Earth's atmosphere has been depleted and a team of astronauts is sent to Mars to scout it out for human colonization, but they find that someone or something on the planet doesn't want them there.

Val Kilmer
Carrie-Ann Moss
Terence Stamp
Benjamin Bratt
Directed by Anthony Hoffman

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The Core
(2003 - 135 min) ****

Plot: The Earth's core has stopped rotating, causing catastrophic consequences on the surface, and a team of scientists travels in a subterranean craft to the core to reactivate it.

Aaron Eckhart
Hilary Swank
Delroy Lindo
Bruce Greenwood
Stanley Tucci
Directed by Jon Amiel

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The Day After Tomorrow
(2004 - 124 min) ****

Plot: A climatologist discovers that global warming is changing the worldwide ocean currents, with the result that a new ice age is coming; but the disaster strikes much more suddenly than he expected.

Dennis Quaid
Jake Gyllenhaal
Emmy Rossum
Ian Holm
Sela Ward
Directed by Roland Emmerich

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I, Robot
(2004 - 115 min) ***

Plot: A technophobic cop investigates the murder of the head of a robot manufacturing company and the prime suspect is one of his robot creations. (Note: I'm of two minds about this movie. On the one hand, it's a descent action-adventure tale with a nice scifi edge. But on the other hand, I strongly object to the fact that this movie has been so associated with Isaac Asimov's classic written works on the subject of robots, given that it basically ignores all of Asimov's basic principles concerning the psychology and behavior of robots. If you want to see a more accurate movie portrayal of one of Asimov's robot stories, look for 1999's Bicentennial Man. It's a heart-warming tale of a robot who sets out on a quest to become human.)

Will Smith
Bridget Moynahan
James Cromwell
Bruce Greenwood
Alan Tudyk
Directed by Alex Proyas

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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
(2004 - 107 min) ****

Plot: An ace aviator teams up with a news reporter and a female squadron commander to stop an evil scientist from destroying the world. (This retro-scifi adventure is one of the most inventive and eye-catching science fiction films in a long, long time ... and it's not a lame remake of an earlier classic, as seems to be the trend of late!)

Jude Law
Gwyneth Paltrow
Angelina Jolie
Bai Ling
Michael Gambon
Directed by Kerry Conran

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War of the Worlds
(2005 - 117 min) *****

Plot: This remake of George Pal's 1950s classic based on H.G. Wells' novel focuses on a down-and-out father and his children as they try to escape the death and destruction caused by the invading Martians. (Finally ... a remake that's at least as good as, if not better than, the original. Tributes to George Pal's original abound in this new classic!)

Tom Cruise
Dakota Fanning
Justin Chatwing
Morgan Freeman
Miranda Otto
Directed by Steven Spielberg

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Star Trek
(2009 - 127 min) *****

Plot: This "re-boot" of the Star Trek universe, follows the "classic" crew of the starship Enterprise through their early careers and their first mission together on the Enterprise. This involves stopping a renegade Romulan who is out to destroy the major Federation planets in an act of revenge after the Romulan homeworld is destroyed. In a time travel twist, an alternate reality is created that leaves the original Star Trek canon intact, regardless of what happens in future adventures in this "re-boot" universe. As a life-long Star Trek fan, I was unsure if this re-imaging of the Star Trek universe would work, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Karl Urban
Simon Pegg
John Cho
Anton Yelchin
Zoe Saldana
Bruce Greenwood
Ben Cross
Winona Ryder
Leonard Nimoy
Eric Bana
Directed by J.J. Abrams

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(2009 - 158 min) ****

Plot: Another "end of the world" movie from director Roland Emmerich (see "The Day After Tomorrow" above), this special effects epic focuses on a few groups of survivors when radiation from an immense solar storm causes the Earth's core to heat up, resulting in doomsday.

John Cusack
Amanda Peet
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Thandie Newton
Oliver Platt
Tom McCarthy
Woody Harrelson
Danny Glover
Directed by Roland Emmerich

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(2009 - 130 min) *****

Plot: In what has been acclaimed as a revolution in cinematic technology, this 3D special-effects blockbuster presents the story of a wheelchair-bound former Marine who finds himself in a breath-taking alien world where he falls in love and ultimately has to fight with the native Na'vi people to keep their world from being destroyed by human interlopers.

Sam Worthington
Zoe Saldana
Sigourney Weaver
Stephen Lang
Michelle Rodriguez
Giovanni Ribisi
Joel David Moore
CCH Pounder
Wes Studi
Laz Alonso
Directed by James Cameron

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Last Updated: April 21, 2010