Hulu's collection of science fiction films is growing each month. Here we compile the best of the best.
Editor’s Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back every month to see what other excellent science fiction get added to Hulu.
Updated for March 2018
Hulu gets science fiction. Science fiction is all about possibility. Will this event happen? Probably not. But could it? Maybe!
That sense of possibility and wonder imbues each and every film on this list of the best science fiction movies on Hulu. The list is relatively small as far as lists on our streaming guides go. But it’s growing as the powers that be behind Hulu understand that having a healthy diet of content also means including some sci-fi roughage.
Check out the list gathered below and let us know what needs to be added.
In addition to being an awesome science fiction tale, Arrival might be the most intense movie about linguistics ever. The Amy Adams-starring flick is based on a 1998 short story from Ted Chiang and reveals what happens when twelve alien spacecraft suddenly appear in 12 locations across the globe.
Arrival takes a fascinatingly logical look at how humanity would respond in such an event. The answer as it turns out is to bring in a linguistic expert (Adams) to figure out how to communicate with the darn things. Arrival is incredibly smart and equally as affecting.
Philip K. Dick novels and stories have been fertile ground for science fiction adaptations for years. Rarely are those adaptations as fun, inventive, and straight-up bonkers as Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall (adapted from Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”).
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as 2048 construction worker Douglas Quaid. He decides to have a nice relaxing vacation and visits the company Rekal where they will implant a memory of memory of a vacation in your brain. Quaid opts for their “spy being pursued by enemies on Mars” package. What follows is the results of that memory implant…or is it?
Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek Beyond is the first of the Star Trek reboots not directed by J.J. Abrams, who went off to direct some other obscure “Star” movie. Thankfully, Fast and the Furious director Justin Lin steps in capably to keep the franchise afloat.
Star Trek Beyond is certainly a step above the disappointing Into Darknessand in many ways is the Trek-iest of the new films. While casting Idris Elba only to put him under 40 pounds of makeup remains a crime against humanity, this one has the most original Trek flavor we’ve had in years.
Mockingjay Part 2
For a children’s/teen book, The Hunger Games concept is some pretty heavy stuff. Children from various districts in a dystopian future version of the U.S. called Panem must compete in a sprawling battle until there is only one survivor…and oh God, it’s The Running Man again. That is the how things start, of course.
In the finale, Mockingjay Part 2, however, the rebellion against Panem is in full swing with Hunger Games champion Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) leading as a symbol of hope. All good post-apocalyptic art about children murdering one another must come to an end.
Monsters is the little indie monster movie that could. In this case the “could” means getting first-time director, Gareth Edwards, the Godzillareboot job and then later on a job directing a little movie called Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Monsters, itself, however is plenty impressive regardless of what jobs it got its director. It does what should be nearly impossible: pull off a no-budget monster flick. It’s flashily directed and edited and is often truly intriguing and terrifying because of the monsters it doesn’t show.
Inspired by real events in 2000 when a Korean mortician contracted by the U.S. military stationed in Seoul dumped large amounts of formaldehyde down the drain and into the Han river, leading to a small eco-crisis, a political disaster for the U.S. government, and deformed fish, The Host imagines a scenario where ambivalent U.S. officials dump even more of the stuff into the waterway, causing the birth of a giant amphibious monster. Soon, it attacks the mainland and kidnaps Park Gang-du’s (Kang-ho) daughter, Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung).
What follows is a surprisingly moving and transcendent account of a man chasing a giant monster (designed in the WETA workshop, no less!) to bring his child home.
John Dies at the End
John Dies at the End is not just a movie for spoilers-in-titles enthusiasts. It’s also a deeply funny, wickedly creative science fiction flick. Even its origins are properly sci-fi. It began as a webserial from Cracked writer David Wong (real name Jason Pargin) and then made it’s way to becoming a novel and finally was adapted into a 2012 film.
John Dies at the End crams a remarkable amount of sci-fi trappings into one film. There are designer drugs that cause the user to time travel, monsters, and alternate dimensions. It’s a perfect distillation of the genre crafted by a fan.
Invaders from Mars
Invaders from Mars is an all-time sci-fi classic. The story was inspired by a dream from the story writer’s wife, which makes perfect sense as Invaders From Mars comes along with its own dream-like sense of confusion and terror.
Late one night, a child named David MacLean (Jimmy Hunt) is awakened by some thunder and looks to the sky to see the unmistakable shape of a flying saucer crashing down into his neighborhood. He tells his parents and his dad goes to investigate. But when his dad comes back, he doesn’t seem to be the same. Invaders From Mars is a thrilling and spooky sci-fi yarn that represents everything great about the genre.
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (which I’ll just call 1984 now for simplicity’s sake) is one of literature’s greatest science fiction classics. It imagines a world in the distant future of 1984 (lol) where fascism has finally, thoroughly won. Citizens of Oceania live under the rule of an all-powerful Party, are monitored at all times and even language itself is being broken down into bite-sized fascistic, emotionless pieces.
Michael Radford’s film (released in 1984 obviously) goes a long way to capturing the dread of Orwell’s novel. John Hurt stars as Party-member Winston Smith and the film follows his path to escaping the boot crushing a human face forever. Those familiar with the book should know how that will go. 1984 is an ultra-faithful adaptation of a political science fiction classic.
It’s 2018 and mega corporations own virtually everything. Every sector of American life is controlled by a corporation operating under a simple name: Energy, Travel, Transportation, Housing, Communication, etc.
Thankfully for the corporations, the populace is entranced by the only remaining sport on Earth: rollerball. Rollerball is a particularly violent take on roller derby in which teams must through a ball through an opening on the track. Opposing teams are given considerable leeway in deciding what level of violence is appropriate to stop the offense from scoring.
Jonathan (James Caan) is a legendary rollerball player for a Houston team owned by the Energy corporation. The corporation tries to force Jonathan into an early retirement and he’s just not having that shit. Rollerball is an uncommonly entertaining science fiction film that examines an important part of futuristic societies that too many other films overlook: sports.
Earth Girls are Easy
Earth Girls are Easy seems like it exists just to see how many genres a movie can realistically fall into. It’s a romantic-comedy science fiction musical. It’s also a documentary if you choose to believe that Jim Carey, Jeff Goldblum, and Damon Wayans really look like furry aliens, which I do.
In Earth Girls are Easy, the three aforementioned aliens Mac, Wiploc, and Zeebo are fed up with their lonely lives in outer space, bereft of female companionship. They decide to head to a mythical land called Earth where the women are beautiful and don’t look like multi-colored fuzzballs. There they crash into the pool of California valley girl Valerie (Geena Davis) and intergalactic romance blossoms.
Earth Girls are Easy is pure ’80s weirdness and occupies a silly, yet importance place in our Hulu sci-fi canon.