The release of The Matrix in 1999 marked a pivotal point for modern sci-fi filmmaking. What was once a niche genre reserved for science fiction fans alone has now become part of mainstream pop culture. Sci-fi action films in the Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel Cinematic Universe represent some of the highest grossing films ever made. Though those franchises are great, we decided to leave them off this list and focus on films that were more fitting for the sci-fi genre. Here are 20 of the best sci-fi films released since The Matrix hit theaters 20 years ago.
20. District 9 (2009)
This low-budget 2009 debut of writer/director Neill Blomkamp delighted audiences with a breakout performance from newcomer Sharlto Copley, as well as the story’s parallels to South African Apartheid. The film begins in an alternate 1982 where an alien ship appears over Johannesburg, South Africa and thousands of sick and malnourished insect-like aliens are found aboard. The South African government struggles to find a solution and confines them to an internment camp called District 9.
The story explores themes of xenophobia, social segregation, economic class, and racism in a believable world built on a shoestring budget. District 9 features an interesting aesthetic that incorporates the found footage format along with news clips, fictional interviews, and surveillance footage. The film was well received by critics and would go on to earn $210 million at the box office, launching the careers of Blomkamp and Copley in the process.Via NME.com