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 February 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.
Men in Black
Men in Black might be among the most purely appealing and entertaining movies of the ’90s. This is in no small part to the sheer star wattage of Will Smith and his chemistry with a typically surly Tommy Lee Jones. Smith stars as James Edwards, an NYPD officer who unwittingly becomes wrapped up in a matter of interstellar significance.
Agent K (Jones) is a member of the mysterious organization that inspects and regulates extraterrestrial encounters calls the Men in Black and he brings James (soon-to-be Agent J) into the fold ot help save the world. Men in Black is funny, fascinating, and a wildly entertaining science fiction watch.
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.
Nobody in the world has a stronger jawline than Peter Weller and he puts it to good use in the sci-fi classic RoboCop. Weller stars as Alex J. Murphy a good cop in a near future dystopian Detroit (you write the “dystopian Detroit” joke yourself, damn it. I’m tired) who is fatally injured in a gunfight with a gang.
The corporation that owns the Detroit Police Department steps in and turns Murphy into RobobCop who is now programmed to serve the public trust, protect the innocent and uphold the law. RoboCop is a pretty rad movie all around and satisfying satire on capitalism and crime.
Barbarella represents one of the first times that cinema realized that comic books may be a good fit for adaptation. This 1968 film is based on a French comic book of the same name. Jane Fonda stars as the titular Barbarella, a 41st century woman sent to find a scientist who’s developed a death ray that can destroy all of humanity.
Barbarella is fascinating as a science fiction historical document. It’s also just a fun grind house-y, lightly pornographic romp, with the lead character frequently coming to learn the joys of old-fashioned sex. In the 41st Century, you see, humanity has found easier, less messy ways to procreate. Jane Fonda became a star for a reason – both she and Barbarella are worth watching.
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.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers features a concept so primal and terrifying it’s no surprise the movie has been made no fewer than three times. The 1978 version is the one on Hulu and probably the best. This Body Snatchers takes place in San Francisco and deals with a gelatinous pod of aliens that falls to Earth. Slowly but surely the aliens literally take the place of actual human beings across the city and replace them with copies.
Health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) is one of the few humans to realize the truth and fight and fight back. Many other movies have tried to capture the feelings of isolation and terror that Invasion of the Body Snatchers instills but very few of them are able to capture the terrifying totality of an alien takeover.
Z For Zachariah
If post-apocalyptic sci-fi is to remain as big a “thing” as it currently is, hopefully it will generate more movies like Z for Zachariah. Z is an unexpectedly small and poignant story with an absolute powerhouse cast. Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor star as a trio of survivors (none of them named Zachariah) in an irradiated post-apocalyptic landscape. Robbie lives alone before Ejiofor’s character suddenly turns up. Then Pine arrives as well. Andddddd that’s it.
Z for Zachariah is the remarkable simple and effective story about how people can sometimes hold onto their best and worst impulses even under the most extreme of circumstances.
Science fiction’s fascination with femme fatales continues with 2005’s adaptation of an MTV animated series: Æon Flux. The original MTV animated Æon Flux was a V for Vendetta-esque exploration of anarchy, fascism and the seemingly narrow space between them. The movie is…not quite that.
The film version of Æon Flux stars Charlize Theron as the title character. The year is 2415 and society is building itself back up after a deadly pathogen in 2011 nearly wiped all of humanity out (I know, right. If only). Æon is a member of an underground rebel society and after her sister is killed she embarks upon a revenge mission to take down her society’s fascistic government.
Æon Flux was undertandably not crticially well-received. It’s far shallower and less logical than its source material. Still, as a sci-fi film it presents a pretty interesting and colorful world to get lost in.