The Best Sci-Fi Movies on HBO Max – CNET

HBO Max/YouTube/Screenshot

Universal Pictures

Super 8 (2011)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Oblivion came out of the build-a-sci-fi-movie workshop. Starring Tom Cruise, it follows humans at war with aliens, paying homage to ’70s sci-fi films including The Omega Man and Silent Running. A love letter in the form of a half-decent sci-fi action adventure.

This immense low-budget sci-fi starring Sam Rockwell has everything. It has Sam Rockwell. A Clint Mansell score. A claustrophobic retro set and gorgeously moody moonscapes. Hard sci-fi ideas. The basic premise: A man coming to the end of a three-year solitary stint on the far side of the moon suffers a personal crisis. A must-watch.

Karbo Vantas Entertainment/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

“Alexa, play 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Scroll down for the extensive options available on HBO Max.

20th Century Fox/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Dune (2021)

The superior Christopher Nolan movie on this list.

Universal Pictures/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Vertigo Releasing/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Timecrimes (2007)

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Moon (2009)

Stephen Vaughan

Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

The best Terminator movie? Make your judgment by watching The Terminator sequel.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Voltage Pictures/YouTube/Screenshot

Matt Reeves has gone on to big things since directing this slick found-footage monster morsel. See what he was up to before The Planet of the Apes movies and 2022’s The Batman.

Warner Bros.

Colossal (2016)

Warner Bros./YouTube/CNET Screenshot

An enjoyable B-movie, The Butterfly Effect sees college student Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) tinker with the past and discover how each change affects the present.

Love it or hate it — get it or find its “science” baffling — Tenet is eye-popping entertainment. Best advice: Don’t question Tenet, submit to the Tenet experience.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Scanners (1981)

Paramount Pictures

A David Cronenberg sci-fi thriller based on a Stephen King novel — what more do you need to entice you to watch The Dead Zone? A plot, maybe? Christopher Walken stars as a school teacher who awakens from a coma to discover he has psychic powers. What he uses them for: Preventing a certain politician from becoming president. Yes, The Dead Zone is an ’80s horror referenced by Stranger Things. It’s also one of the better Stephen King adaptations out there.

Before Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky made huge leaps for sci-fi cinema, with his complex, character-driven piece about astronauts having wild hallucinations that may or may not be real. The 2002 American remake of Solaris is also on HBO Max, with added George Clooney romance.

Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

HBO Max is absolutely stuffed with sci-fi movies, from the classics to recent blockbusters to smaller gems more people need to watch. Try little Spanish gem Timecrimes, Moon (starring Sam Rockwell) and Monsters (directed by Gareth Edwards).

Stalker (1979)

Warner Bros./YouTube/CNET Screenshot

This truly mind-bending Spanish sci-fi is a wild card to take a chance on if you’re in the mood. Featuring all the trimmings of a low-budget thriller, Timecrimes follows a middle-aged man who finds himself stuck in a time loop. A stream of twists will keep you on your toes.

Katalyst/CNET Screenshot

Solaris (1972)

Mosfilm/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Oblivion (2013)

Photo by LMPC via Getty Images

The Faculty (1998)

Paramount Pictures

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi blockbuster is back on HBO Max. The epic based on Frank Herbert’s novel recently scored a host of Oscars, including best original score and cinematography. Catch the sprawling story of the Atreides family, who find themselves at war on the deadly planet Arrakis. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya and more stack out a hugely impressive ensemble cast.

Sony Pictures

The Dead Zone (1983)

A new Jurassic Park movie is headed to theaters this year, so catch up on the (superior) original now. 1993’s Jurassic Park kicked off the franchise, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Spoiler: Original cast members Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum are set to make a return in the upcoming 2022 flick.

20th Century Fox/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Blade Runner (1982)

Tenet (2020)

Manson International

Monsters (2010)

A warning for the body horror-averse before hitting play on this David Cronenberg sci-fi. Scanners follows people with special abilities, including telepathic and telekinetic powers. Not the first in this list to become a cult classic after a lukewarm initial response, Scanners left a lasting impression, not least because of a memorable scene involving a head explosion.

Miramax/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Its sequel didn’t reach the same lofty heights, so watch the first monster epic in the Pacific Rim franchise. 2013’s Pacific Rim is helmed by Guillermo Del Toro, so expect a strong brush of visual artistry over the monster mayhem.

Paramount Pictures

Reminiscence (2021)

Warner Bros.

I, Robot (2004)