We hope you’ve enjoyed the summer of Barbenheimer, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Because for the rest of the summer, the pickings are pretty slim at the theater. And if the studios start pushing their films back because of the ongoing writers and actors strikes, then the rest of 2023 may be pretty bare as well. Fortunately for science fiction fans, Netflix has a handful of titles that were once box office sensations themselves, as well as a few that hold up very well when compared to the modern blockbusters.
If you’re looking to beat the heat and enjoy some science fiction flicks from the comfort of your own home, then these are the 5 sci-fi movies on Netflix that are perfect for the summer.
The opening moments of J. J. Abrams’s Star Trek made Chris Hemsworth into a star with his brief turn as George Kirk during events that completely disrupt the timeline of the franchise. In the new timeline that follows, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) grows up without a father or any desire to be a part of Starfleet until Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) takes him under his wing and gets him into Starfleet Academy.
Although Kirk butts heads with Spock (Zachary Quinto) at the Academy, the two of them must find a way to work together when the vengeful Romulan known as Nero (Eric Bana) returns to get his revenge on Vulcan and Starfleet. For classic Trek fans, Leonard Nimoy has a terrific performance as Spock Prime, the man who ties the past and the future together.
Watch Star Trek on Netflix.
Director Paul Verhoeven brought his biting sense of satirical humor to RoboCop in 1987, and he did the same thing for Robert A. Heinlein’s sci-fi novel, Starship Troopers. In the future, Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) impulsively joins the military in the hope of staying close to his girlfriend, Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards), who has her own career path as a starship pilot.
After making a fatal mistake during a training exercise under his command, Rico nearly washes out of the military until the Earth comes under attack from giant alien bugs. Rico rededicates himself to the military, but he and his mobile infantry unit soon discover that they are badly outmatched by the bugs…and the bugs may be far more intelligent than anyone suspected.
Watch Starship Troopers on Netflix.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day was the summer blockbuster of 1991, and it could still be a major hit today. James Cameron’s sequel holds up that well, and it’s the only Terminator film since 1984 that has lived up to the promise of the original. Ten years after the original movie, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is locked away in an asylum and her son, John Connor (Edward Furlong), is reluctantly in foster care. But the Connors are reunited when the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) arrives from the future to kill them.
This time, a T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been sent back in time to protect John. And John makes an emotional connection with this machine, while Sarah sees an opportunity to stop the Terminators forever if Judgment Day can be prevented.
Watch Terminator 2: Judgment Day on Netflix.
The Adam Project is the lone Netflix original on this list, but it’s also one of the few Netflix-made sci-fi films that can really hold its own with the bigger franchises. This film certainly has the star power of any summer movie, with Ryan Reynolds in the lead as Adam Reed, a time pilot from 2050 who is forced to seek out his 12-year-old self, as played by Walker Scobell) The older Adam needs his counterpart’s help to get back into his ship in order to change the future.
Zoe Saldaña co-stars as Adam’s wife, Laura Shane, and she’s one of the reasons why the older Adam will risk anything to reunite with his father, Louis Reed (Mark Ruffalo), in the past and prevent Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener) from controlling the future. Jennifer Garner also has a small but pivotal role as Adam’s mother, Ellie Reed, and she gives an impressive performance during her few scenes in the film.
Ben Wilkinson as Derek, Ellie’s new boyfriend.
Watch The Adam Project on Netflix.
The Thing (2011) is nowhere near as good as John Carpenter’s 1982 film of the same name. That said, this is a very underrated reinvention of the franchise that still maintains continuity with Carpenter’s version of The Thing. Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as Kate Lloyd, a vertebrate paleontologist who is invited to an arctic base after Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) discovers an alien organism beneath the ice.
Much to everyone’s horror, the alien organism is not only alive, it has the ability to replicate its victims almost perfectly. Soon enough, Kate isn’t sure who she can trust, as the alien could literally be anyone around her.
Watch The Thing on Netflix.
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