Four Mind-blowing Movies For National Science Fiction Day

On January 2, hang out with robots, aliens, assassins, and memory-tripping lovers

A day after New Year’s Day, fans of time-travel, mind control, UFOs, robots, and so much more are invited to celebrate their favorite genre for National Science Fiction Day. January 2 was chosen because it’s the birthdate of sci-fi master Isaac Asimov, whose novels, such as Foundation, I, Robot, and The Stars, Like Dust, are masterpieces of the genre. Asimov defined the genre as works that reflect “the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology." Simple and succinct, Asmiov’s account opens the door to a world of stories as large as the universe, mind-blowing tales that include intergalactic space operas, quirky comedies, and poignant romances.

To celebrate Science Fiction Day this year, we are showcasing five original takes on the genre. Moving from a philosophical love story to an action-packed adventure to a comfy comedy about a handmade friend, these films take Asimov’s definition to brand new dimensions.

"Erased From Her Memories" Clip from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Crowned number one in Screen Crush’s list of “25 best sci-fi movies of the past 25 years,” Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is perhaps the most innovative and imaginative take on the genre. “Science fiction has long explored what it means to be human,” notes Screen Crush. “But Eternal Sunshine zeros in on that idea, asking what it means to be a human in love, in pain, and in confusion; in some ways, what it means to be the most human, without ever feeling cloying or ringing false.” Charlie Kaufman’s Academy Award®-winning screenplay tells a love story about a man, Joel (Jim Carrey), who decides to have his memories scrubbed after he learns his girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet), has already entertained the same procedure. At once heart-breaking and mind-blowing, Eternal Sunshine turns the genre inside out.

Watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on iTunes or Amazon.

The official trailer for Brian and Charles

David Earl and Chris Hayward in Brian and Charles

Brian and Charles

At first, Jim Archer’s mockumentary Brian and Charles looks nothing like a traditional sci-fi story. It is just a fluke that Brian (David Earl), a lonely inventor living in a remote Welsh village, creates a robot, Charles Petrescu (Chris Hayward), from old junk, such as a broken washing machine and mannequin’s head, he finds in his workshop. But in forming a deliriously daft friendship, Brian and Charles find themselves grappling with many of the essential issues raised by tales of artificial intelligence. In the end, as Time Out exclaims, “this lo-fi, seriously funny and utterly beguiling British robot comedy is proof that you don’t need Hollywood budgets to forge something special out of the sci-fi genre.”

Watch Brian and Charles now!

The official trailer for The Signal

Brenton Thwaites in The Signal

The Signal

In William Eubank’s The Signal, three students from MIT—Nic (Brenton Thwaites), his girlfriend, Haley (Olivia Cooke), and his best buddy, Jonah (Beau Knapp)—take a detour on their way to California to track down a mysterious hacker only to find themselves having strayed into a world beyond their comprehension. What started as a sentimental road movie morphs into a paranoid sci-fi thriller (with Laurence Fishburne at its center), and then shifts once more into something truly unimaginable. Playing with iconic sci-fi elements, Eubank is able, according to Empire, “to work his particular mind-stretching mix of acute character interplay and cosmic conceptual breakthrough.”

Watch The Signal on iTunes or Amazon.

The official trailer for Hanna

Saoirse Ronan in Hanna


Joe Wright’s action thriller Hanna, like the title heroine herself, is a shape-shifting juggernaut. Part fairy tale, part action thriller, its DNA, however, is very much in the world of science fiction. As Gizmodo notes, “the film asks all the questions about humanity that the best science fiction often poses.” As a young woman trained from an early age to be an assassin by her father (Eric Bana), Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) appears like every teenager, confused by who she is. In her quest to take out a rogue CIA operative (Cate Blanchett), Hanna discovers that nothing in the world she has been brought up is quite what it appears, including herself.

Watch Hanna on iTunes or Amazon.

The official trailer for The World's End

Simon Pegg in The World's End

The World’s End

In The World’s End, Edgar Wright reunites with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to complete their Cornetto trilogy. After bringing the Zombie genre back to life with Shaun of the Dead and reenergizing the buddy-action film with Hot Fuzz, the filmmakers took on sci-fi disaster movies in The World’s End. Five old pals (played by Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan along with Pegg and Frost) return to their hometown to finish a pub crawl they failed at 20 years ago. But rather than recovering a boozy sense of camaraderie, the boys uncover an alien plot to wipe out the world. Wright brilliantly turns a story of an alien nation into a tender exploration of alienation. Wright explains, “That whole strain of smart sci-fi movies—what I like to call the 'quiet invasion' genre—seemed like the perfect way of looking at that bittersweet feeling that I described originally: You feel alienated from the place you came from.”

Watch The World’s End on iTunes or Amazon