20 Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Canada That Will Blow Your Mind: January 2021
From hallucinatory tales of time travel to eye-opening space sagas, these sci-fi movies on Netflix Canada offer the most captivating visions of our present and future.
Children of Men (2006)
It’s 2027 and the world is on the brink of collapse thanks to nuclear wars, environmental disasters and global infertility. Admist the chaos, low-level British bureaucrat Theo (Clive Owen) is approached by his ex-wife (Julianne Moore), now the leader of a militant group, with a mission: secure transit papers for a refugee, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), and escort her to the border. The plan is a disaster, but soon Theo learns the true reason for the operation: Kee is the world’s first pregnant woman in 18 years. Children of Men has become famous for its revolutionary single-take action sequences, but what really makes it special is its prescience: in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, demagogues and various refugee crises, Children of Men‘s terrifying vision of the future is already here.
Clever, violent and often laugh-out-loud funny, Leigh Whannell’s low-budget Upgrade is equal parts satire and vigilante thriller set in the near future. When a random mugging leaves vintage car mechanic Grey (The O.C.‘s Logan Marshall-Green) a quadriplegic and his wife dead, a wealthy inventor offers him STEM: an AI-powered microchip implant that will allow him to walk again. Soon, Grey learns that this top-secret, state-of-the-art hardware also grants him the gift of superhuman strength, which he uses to hunt down the men who killed his wife.
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If you were offered a brain-enhancing pill that promised to transform you into a genius with boundless mental capabilities, would you take it? The hero of this stylish thriller, lackadaisical writer Eddie (Bradley Cooper), answers the question in the affirmative. Soon, he begins work on a new book, wins big on Wall Street and finds himself under the tutelage of a ruthless finance tycoon (Robert De Niro). But Eddie’s new life is too good to be true, and he suddenly finds himself the target of thugs and government agents who also want access to his all-powerful pills.
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At a time when most science fiction movies are sequels, remakes or reboots, Interstellar is a reminder of how compelling the genre can be when it’s ambitious. After a series of famines and droughts render the Earth uninhabitable, the world’s leading scientists settle on one solution: interstellar travel. When a wormhole is discovered in the far reaches of space, former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and Dr. Brand (Anne Hathaway) are selected to lead a team through it. On the other side? A planet that might just be humanity’s new home. Visually spectacular and packing one heck of an emotional punch, Interstellar is one of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix Canada.
I Am Legend (2007)
Loosely based on Richard Matheson’s popular 1954 novel of the same name, I Am Legend stars Will Smith as Robert Neville, a former virologist for the U.S. Army and the sole remaining resident of New York City. Three years earlier, a genetically engineered measles virus—originally created as a cure for cancer—turns deadly and kills almost all human life on Earth. To make things worse, many of those who’ve survived the plague have become zombie-vampire hybrids. Knowing that he’s outnumbered, Neville races against time to find a cure before it’s too late.
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Super 8 (2011)
In 1979 Ohio, a group of teenage friends (including Maleficent‘s Elle Fanning) witness a train derailment while making a zombie movie with a Super 8 camera. The youngsters soon discover, however, that the train was transporting a giant alien creature—and it’s now on the loose. After a series of unexplained events and disappearances occur in town, the friends search for the truth behind the crash. Borrowing heavily from vintage Spielberg, Super 8 is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the 2010s.
The Discovery (2017)
Scientist Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford) has made the most important discovery in human history: definitive proof of the afterlife. His findings, however, come at a horrifying cost: global suicide rates drastically increase in the aftermath of the news. Two years after Harbor’s breakthrough, his son (Jason Segel) and a mysterious woman (Rooney Mara) join Thomas at a secluded mansion, where he and a group of followers have made yet another discovery: the ability to record one’s afterlife. But as The Discovery shows, some questions to the ways of the universe shouldn’t necessarily be answered.
On the eve of her 18th birthday, rebellious California teen Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) is given a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. Unbeknownst to her, this yellow fixer-upper is actually B-127, an Autobot from the planet Cybertron. Giving him the nickname “Bumblebee,” Charlie learns that her newest friend is on the run from an evil race of robots, the Decepticons, as well as a secret U.S. task force led by Colonel Burns (John Cena). Filled with heart-stopping action, tender performances and ’80s nostalgia, Bumblebee is essential viewing for fans of the Michael Bay-directed Transformers movies.
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In the not-so-distant future, America has become a wasteland. On the East Coast lies Mega City One, a vast metropolis where ruthless criminals run rampant. At the top of the food chain is Ma-Ma (Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey), a brutal drug lord who has engineered the newest hallucinogen to hit the streets. The only thing that can stop her is Dredd (Karl Urban), one in a line of elite cops that act as judge, jury and executioner. Joined by a rookie with psychic abilities (Olivia Thirlby), the duo venture into Ma-Ma’s 200-storey high-rise lair. What follows is 70 minutes of exhilarating—and, yes, gory—action.
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Blade Runner (1982)
Adapted from Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and directed by Ridley Scott, Blade Runner follows former detective Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in an overpopulated, perpetually rain-soaked Los Angeles in 2019. Brought back into action by his former captain, Deckard is tasked with hunting down four fugitive humanoid replicants that have escaped to Earth, led by the brutal but brilliant Roy Batty (the late Rutger Hauer). Owing a debt to moody Edward Hopper paintings, the silent German classic Metropolis and ’40s film noir, Blade Runner is first and foremost an exercise in style—but it’s also startling, tragic and unapologetically philosophical.
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The Matrix (1999)
The Wachowskis’ wildly influential opus hits the ground running: after being cornered by a trio of mysterious agents, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) gives moviegoers their first taste of The Matrix‘s discombobulating special effects. With a fourth instalment set for release on Dec. 22, 2021, what better time to revisit this classic? From unforgettable action sequences (the instantly iconic moment when Keanu Reeves dodges a round of bullets) to classic quotes (“He is the One”), few sci-fi epics captured public imagination quite like The Matrix.
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Immediately hailed as a modern-day classic and nominated for a whopping 10 Oscars, Gravity rewrites the rules of sci-fi and adds new ones too. After a routine spacewalk goes catastrophically wrong, two astronauts—the brilliant but inexperienced Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and mission commander Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney)—find themselves floating in outer space with nothing but each other. Visually dazzling and narratively taut, Gravity is a pulse-pounding survival story for the ages.
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Equal parts family drama, philosophy lesson and sci-fi adventure, Inception teases viewers with an ambiguous narrative about the nature of reality. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Dom Cobb, a thief with the ability to enter people’s dreams and steal secrets from their subconscious. Cobb’s expertise has made him a sought-after commodity in the world of corporate espionage; it has also destroyed his family. But Cobb gets his shot at redemption in the form of a new heist—except this time, he won’t be stealing a secret, but planting an idea. Inception will stay with you long after its justifiably famous—and haunting—final scene.
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12 Monkeys (1995)
Inspired by the landmark French short film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys is one of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix Canada. After a viral attack wipes out most of the world’s population, what remains of society is forced underground. In 2035, Cole (a never-better Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to find the origin of the virus. Now in 1996, Cole meets Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), a psychiatrist who agrees to help him on his mission. 12 Monkeys‘ visual and conceptual energy keeps it fascinating, while Brad Pitt—who earned an Oscar nod for his role—threatens to steal the show as a dangerous mental patient.
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Aboard the International Space Station, six astronauts (including Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Mission: Impossible‘s Rebecca Ferguson) discover evidence of alien life on Mars. While conducting their research, however, the team learns that this dormant single cell is actually a rapidly evolving life-form hell-bent on destroying everything in its path. It may be all feel like familiar horror territory, but Life is nevertheless a wildly entertaining—and surprisingly grim—monster movie.
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Pacific Rim (2013)
When a portal opens at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, bringing with it droves of monstrous alien creatures called Kaiju, the Earth’s nations unite to avoid extinction. Humanity’s solution? Giant robots called Jaegers, each controlled by two co-pilots. But when the machines prove not to be enough, mankind’s last hope for survival lies with a washed-up pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi). Often exhilarating and sometimes silly, Pacific Rim is a love letter to Japanese monster movies.
I Am Mother (2019)
After an unnamed extinction event, a teenaged girl (Clara Rugaard) is raised by a robot Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne) in a bunker with a mission to repopulate the Earth. Their unique bond, however, is threatened when a mysterious stranger (Hilary Swank) arrives with alarming news: there are many human survivors, and robots like Mother hunt them down and kill them. Relying on suspense and weighty ideas, I Am Mother is an uncommonly intelligent work of sci-fi.
The Midnight Sky (2020)
This post-apocalyptic tale follows Lofthouse (George Clooney, who also directed the film), a scientist in the Arctic and one of the last surviving humans on Earth. Lofthouse spends his days searching for outstanding crewed space missions. When he finally does locate surviving astronauts, it’s a race against time to stop the ship’s captain (Felicity Jones)—who’s unaware that the Earth has been destroyed by a mysterious catastrophe—from returning home. Adapted from Lily Brooks-Dalton’s acclaimed 2016 novel Good Morning, Midnight, The Midnight Sky co-stars David Oyelowo (Selma) and Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights).
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If there’s one theme that sci-fi flicks come back to over and over again, it’s class struggle. In 2154, the world’s super-rich have ditched Earth for Elysium: a space habitat with devices that can cure any disease, reverse aging and even regenerate body parts. After being given only a few days to live, Max (Matt Damon) partners with a human smuggler, and dons a powered exoskeleton to break into Elysium for its life-saving tech. Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9).
The Fifth Element (1995)
In the 23rd century, New York City cabbie Dallas (Bruce Willis) suddenly finds himself in world-saving mode when the ethereal Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) falls into his taxi. As the physical embodiment of the “fifth element,” Leeloo returns to the world every 5,000 years to protect mankind using magical stones of the four other elements: fire, water, Earth and air. Her enemy this time? The Great Evil, led by diabolical industrialist Zorg (a scenery-chewing Gary Oldman). Unabashedly campy and packed with stunning visuals, The Fifth Element is the definition of a love-it-or-hate-it movie. (We’re leaning towards the former.)
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