Before 'Blade Runner 2049' hits theatres, 7 sci-fi movies you should stream – Toronto Sun

In the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, rogue android Roy Batty’s final words dwell on the many sights and experiences he’s had in his too-short, more-human-than-human life: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” he says.

He could have been talking about Blade Runner itself. Directed by Ridley Scott three years after he blew minds (and chest cavities) with Alien, it introduced us to a gritty, dystopian future noir, where Harrison Ford hunted down and killed escaped androids while pondering difficult questions about his own humanity.

As a massive, diehard Blade Runner fan – I can basically quote the entire movie word for word – I’m both excited and terrified for Quebec-born director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, in theatres next Friday. If there was ever a movie that didn’t need a sequel, it’s Ridley Scott’s self-contained masterpiece. But Villeneuve is a fantastic director, the cast sounds amazing, and the movie is receiving rave early reviews, with some critics going so far as to say it’s better than the original. (Heretics! Blasphemers!)

In the age of Transformers, Power Rangers and action movies masquerading as Star Trek reboots, it’s heartening to know that sci-fi can still be cerebral, emotional and stylish. As we count the days until Ryan Gosling dons a trenchcoat and follows in the footsteps of Mr. Ford, here are seven smart sci-fi movies you can stream right now.

Arrival (2016)

With a string of critically acclaimed dramas – Incendies, Prisoners, Sicario – to his name, Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve proved he can also bring smarts and heart to science fiction. This time-twisty tale of aliens making first contact is a great sci-fi story on its own, but its unexpected emotional depth makes it especially unforgettable.

Find it on: Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Cineplex Store

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Contact (1997)

Jodie Foster and director Robert Zemeckis made us wonder what would happen if humanity received a message from beyond the stars, inviting us to build a high-tech device and use it to… do what exactly? From political paranoia to religious extremism, this is science fiction that feels a little too real.

Find it on: iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Cineplex Store


San Junipero (2016)

With its technology-infused Twilight Zone tales, Black Mirror is a fantastic anthology series that makes us think twice about how tech affects our lives. The awesome and uncharacteristically upbeat Season 3 episode San Junipero recently won two Emmys, including best TV movie (which is why we’re cheating a bit and including it here.)

Find it on: Netflix


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

We’re still not sure what the hell is going on at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s nearly 2.5-hour-long science fiction magnum opus, but it’s safe to say there’s no way a movie like this could be made today. Too long! Too slow! Too weird! And that’s why it’s a treasure we return to again and again, nearly 50 years on.

Find it on: TMN Go, iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store

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Looper (2012)

Time travel is a well-worn trope in sci-fi, but director Rian Johnson made it feel fresh with this brain-bending tale of a hitman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tasked with killing his future self (Bruce Willis). The movie might fry a few neurons as you try to reconcile the events of the past and future, but it all comes together in an explosive, satisfying climax.

Find it on: Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Cineplex Store


Gattaca (1997)

Despite being 20-years-old, this story of haves and have-nots controlled by a rigid government – not to mention the moral implications of genetic tinkering – resonates today. Starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, it’s one of those movies that people tend to forget about, until something jogs their memory and they feel an urge to watch it again.

Find it on: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Cineplex Store


Ex Machina (2015)

In the same year they were on opposite sides of a galactic rebellion in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson – along with the future Lara Croft, Alicia Vikander – introduced us to sentient androids that made us wonder exactly what it means to be human. Hmm, that sounds awfully familiar…

Find it on: Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Cineplex Store 

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