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The beauty of science fiction is that the genre can tell a wide variety of stories. Sci-fi is a huge umbrella that covers thoughtful tales about our place in the universe, and fast-paced action adventures full of self-aware robots and cosmic powers. It's a way to go to entirely new worlds through bold storytelling. Fortunately, new movies are coming in the next few months, from STRANGE WORLD to AVATAR 2, to fit those descriptions.
Here are the best new science fiction movies coming to movie theaters.
As the summer movie season winds down, a few notable sci-fi movies are still playing — or in the case of one in particular, coming back to theatres several months after its original opening.
Is Jordan Peele's new movie — his follow-up to US and GET OUT — a horror movie, a sci-fi movie, or a commentary about media, fame, and the drive for success? Well, yes. All of it. But since it is set in motion by human encounters with alien craft, it is certainly science fiction. The fact that it is sci-fi in the tradition of Spelberg's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and Shyamalan's SIGNS is a huge bonus. Read more about NOPE here.
Distributor A24 describes this new movie by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — collectively known as Daniels, who previously made SWISS ARMY MAN — as "a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action-adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who can't seem to finish her taxes." More to the point, Yeoh's character begins to be aware of her existence on multiple levels of reality. Movies from Marvel and DC have made the idea of a multiverse into a familiar concept, but Daniels basically own the idea now thanks to their emotionally evocative, and hilariously action-packed movie. Read more about EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE here.
To infinity and beyond! LIGHTYEAR tells the origin story of a familiar Space Ranger, with twists that no TOY STORY fan is expecting. Pixar's animated sci-fi action-adventure presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear — the hero who inspired the toy — with Chris Evans providing the voice of the "new" Buzz Lightyear. Read more about LIGHTYEAR here.
That's not all! Some really big science fiction movies are coming to the big screen in the next few months. Here's a list.
The James Cameron movie that shook the world is back on the big screen! The fact that you might have to ask "which one?" tells you everything you need to know about Cameron's instincts and the reach of his movies. AVATAR originally arrived just as 3D filmmaking was having a huge resurgence. Now, as the sequel is poised to open in December, the first movie is back to act as the best possible story refresher. Read more about the AVATAR re-release here. [September 23]
Olivia Wilde made a big mark with her directorial debut, BOOKSMART, but her second movie is poised to go even bigger. Florence Pugh and an up-and-coming singer named Harry Styles star in the story of a couple in the 1950s whose lives are very much not what they seem. We've seen the movie described as a sci-fi tale but also a horror story and a thriller; in the end it is likely to be all of the above. Read more about DON'T WORRY DARLING here. [September 23]
The new Black Panther movie is set to continue the tech-forward ideas of the original movie as the nation of Wakanda clashes with the undersea people of Talocan. And, since this release is bookended by the two AVATAR movies, it's kind of interesting that the underwater Talocan dwellers are blue-skinned powerhouses. Just a coincidence, we're sure! Read more about BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER here. [November 11]
Disney's new original action-adventure animated journey travels deep into an uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades, a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest—and by far— most crucial mission. STRANGE WORLD is a nod to the pulp sci-fi magazines of the '50s and '60s, and the movie is directed by Don Hall (BIG HERO 6) and co-director/writer Qui Nguyen (RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON co-writer). Read more about STRANGE WORLD here. [November 23]
After more than a decade, writer/director James Cameron finally takes us back to the distant planet Pandora. AVATAR 2 picks up some time after the end of 2009's rule-rewriting blockbuster, with Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) raising a family near the ocean… before the return of a familiar and vicious enemy pushes them away from their new home and into uncharted regions of the planet. Read more about AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER here. [December 16]
Not everyone who goes to space gets the glory. Some are just blue-collar guys like Andy Ramirez (Anthony Ramos, In the Heights, Hamilton), who hasn't been trained for days like this. A low-level mining engineer, Andy was aboard a transport ship that was struck by an asteroid, crash landing him on an unknown alien planet. With his oxygen running low and his AI survival suit (voiced by Zachary Quinto, Star Trek films) not helping, Andy's only chance to get out of this alive is to find another survivor. When he connects via radio to a fellow crew member, Naomi (Naomi Scott, Aladdin), Andy thinks his prayers are answered. That is, until he finds out Naomi is trapped inside her escape pod and he may not have enough oxygen to make it to her. Not to mention, alien creatures, Andy has yet to realize, will be stalking him every step of the way. [January 27, 2023]
We don't know too much about Sony's sci-fi outing called 65. But we do understand that it stars Adam Driver (seen above in THE LAST DUEL) as an astronaut who crash-lands on a mysterious planet only to discover he's not alone. The co-writers behind the two A QUIET PLACE movies, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, write and direct this one, which also features Ariana Greenblatt and Chloe Coleman. Sam Raimi produces, so we expect this to be something more than just a "man stranded on distant rock" story. [April 29, 2023]
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