The best Outer Space movies of the 2000s, ranked

One of the best elements of a well-told story is a lively, emotional environment, and there is possibly no greater canvas of the imagination than outer space. Mankind’s capacity for space exploration in the last century has blossomed along with a deep interest in the great void above in all the realms of art. The mystery of space has attracted the attention of filmmakers also, whose medium lends itself well to depicting the wonder of the endless black expanse.

CGI technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, and movies like Gravity or Interstellar are examples of this. But there was a time when the technological ability to display space did not quite catch up with the mental hunger to do so. Still, filmmakers persisted in telling stories that took place in space, and the constraints imposed by the technology of the time only fueled their drive to get creative. Here are the best films about outer space of the 2000s, arranged.

8 Avatar

20th Century Fox

Avatar has created one of the greatest cultural moments of the last few decades, though the story does not live up to the standards of certain audiences and critics. James Cameron’s film was compared to Star Wars for its scope and social impact, and for the technological advances represented by the film. Plays on the fictional moon of Pandora, Avatar follows the journey of a former Marine who befriends an indigenous alien population and joins them to resist the imperial control exercised by the people in the story. Party of Avatar ‘‘s underlying themes attracted attention and different judgments from critics. Adam Cohen praised the anti-imperialist subtext, which compares the metaphor to other major world conflicts involving imperialism. As one of the most deserving movies of all time, it is natural that its reception is divided – but what is unmistakable is how popular the movie was and is today.

Related: Avatar 2 Producer Talks Intrigue details and the challenge of writing four sequels

7 Space Cowboys

Village Roadshow Pictures

This space adventure story’s somewhat clich├ęd plot is reinforced by charismatic performances by Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones. A team of astronauts is sent to prevent a Soviet satellite from crashing to Earth, and the problems posed by the mission threaten to overwhelm them. For a movie from 2000, the special effects were quite impressive to audiences at the time. Ironically, the story is more of a flat on earth approach, conforming to the familiar realities and dangers of space travel, making this film more of a drama with science fiction elements than a science fiction film.

6 Star Trek

Spyglass Entertainment

JJ Abrams gives up some of the more political and philosophical themes of previous Star Trek work to create something more akin to an extended action-adventure thrill ride. Diehard fans of Star Trek regrets the loss of those themes, which have characterized the franchise for decades, but has found many to love in the mind of a director who knows how to engage and entertain an audience. Despite a safe, low-risk plot, Star Trek brought the franchise back to mainstream audiences after a long time, and made peace with older fans by putting the film’s continuity into an alternative reality to preserve the events of the original films.

Related: Shatner in Space Documentary to describe the Star Trek Star’s Space Flight in detail

5 Moon

Mon 2009
Stage 6 Movies

This entry on the list occupies a certain kind of existential, humanistic science fiction in the same vein as Andrei Tarkovsky. Sam Bell, the sole caretaker of a mining facility on the moon, begins to experience strange hallucinations and becomes suspicious of the circumstances of his work on the moon. Fans of all backgrounds will find something to appreciate Moon, between intense scenes of action, concise dramatic exchanges and beautiful footage. Sam Rockwell, who plays the protagonist, brings a very personal, subtle touch to the role that reinforces the film’s awful, introspective mood.

4 Calmness

Universal pictures

Calmness is the movie sequel to Joss Whedon’s short-lived television series Firefly. The movie follows the adventures of the team and two uniquely powerful new characters who face the threat of the Reavers, a cannibalistic faction that pursues them across space. With a witty wit and alluring characters, Calmness is a tightly told adventure story set in space with Joss Whedon’s distinctive blend of action and comedy, with a bit of political satire thrown into the mix as well. The moral dilemmas feel surprisingly intimate for a space adventure film, and are handled with the right care to provide a few impactful moments without the film deviating in the realm of melodrama.

3 Wall-E

Image via Walt Disney Pictures

Full of the optimism that audiences expect from a Disney-Pixar movie, which is the most amazing Wall-E is the depth of despair that launches it to create that joy. The film builds on the increasingly tangible fear of environmental degradation, and places us in the eyes of a trash compactor robot who comes to observe and experience a version of humanity that is crippled by its own worst traits. Look Wall-E is a strangely melancholy experience, one that reminds audiences how beautiful and perverse our actions as a species can be at the same time. The film received rave reviews from critics, and critic Richard Corliss even called it one of the best films of the decade.

Related: Pixar’s Turning Red Trailer # 2 Introduces Heartthrob Boy Band 4 * Town

2 Sunshine

Moving Picture Company

Sunshine follows the crew of the Icarus II, on a mission to resurrect the dying sun and bring sunlight back to earth. The drama unfolds cautiously and horribly, while crew members make cautious decisions that begin to disrupt the collective common sense of the group. Many science fiction films mimic the pattern of deep space that the human psyche carries, but Sunshine stands out thanks to fantastic performances of his cast, and Danny Boyle’s talent for discovering and portraying raw, harsh emotion. The action scenes and overall production value also contribute to its success, providing a gripping 100 minutes that remain memorable weeks later.

Related: 10 best Danny Boyle movies, ranked

1 Treasure Planet

treasure planet
Walt Disney Pictures

Leave it to the world of animation to present outer space in the most vivid, wild and fantastic light. Treasure Planet follows Jim Hawkins, a disgruntled young man who is taken on a grand adventure to find the Treasure Planet, a notorious spaceship led by pirates. The film’s vision of outer space is brought to life with a steampunk aesthetic and new animation techniques that are revolutionary for its time. This is one of the few films that paints outer space as a magical realm, and the imagination of the creators is as limitless as the art they have created.

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