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Best Modern Science Fiction Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes

Image: Best Modern Science Fiction Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes
Gravity, 2013. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

By    |   Friday, 01 May 2015 08:53 AM

Science fiction takes us into the future to look at the present, while fantasy offers a look at the reality of pure imagination. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes toted up critical reviews to arrive at its 100 best science fiction and fantasy movies.

Here are the site’s top 10 made since 1990, together with each modern movie’s place on the overall top 100 list and it’s “freshness” rating – the percentage of positive reviews out of all the movie’s reviews:

1. "Gravity" (2013) (No. 4 overall, 97 percent)

Life, death and rebirth of sorts amid a calamity in space – no, not like in “2001” – amid the sweeping backdrop of some of the best space visuals in recent years. Science fiction? The space shuttles were already on their way to museums in real life when this movie hit the screens. But as Bryan Bishop writes for The Verge, “'Gravity' isn’t so much a sci-fi movie as it is a survival film; two people against the elements, only as the film’s opening title card reminds us, it’s in the harshest environment possible.”

2. "Toy Story 2" (1999) (No. 76, 100 percent)

Toys coming to life when nobody’s looking is a tried-and-true fantasy trope, and Buzz (voice of Tim Allen) and Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) don’t disappoint as they battle the evil Toy Collector. “Faster, funnier and wilder (than the first 'Toy Story'), with more cunningly contrived computer effects,” writes Lawrence Toppman of the Charlotte Observer.

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3. 'Toy Story 3' (2010) (No. 9, 99 percent)

Back for more toy fantasy are Buzz, Woody and the gang, figuring out what do to after Andy grows up and puts away childish things. “It taps directly into the universal feeling that we may, at any moment, be thrown aside by those who once loved us,” Mal Vincent wrote for the Virginian-Pilot, adding that the film somehow stays “light and child-friendly.”

4. "The Dark Knight" (2008) (No. 13, 94 percent)

Christian Bale broods as Batman and Heath Ledger self-destructs as the Joker, while we’re led to question what kind of hero we deserve. “Clever, loud, and technically brilliant,” writes Philip French for The Guardian. “Whether such a movie can bear the increasing moral weight imposed upon it is another matter.”

5. "Star Trek" (2009) (No. 15, 95 percent)

It’s a new cast and a new "Star Trek" universe as the crew of the Enterprise assembles for the first time to battle a foe bent on avenging his people. “It takes itself no more seriously than it should (and no less seriously, either) while addressing the audience with respect,” writes Stewart Klawans for The Nation.

6. "Toy Story" (1995) (No. 16, 100 percent)

Cowboy Woody’s not the top toy in the box anymore, but he and Buzz become buddies in this story that launched a fantasy franchise. Two decades later, Shaun Munro of WhatCulture.com would look back and say, “To an entire generation of filmgoers, it just might represent the most significant leap in storytelling that they will ever see.”

7. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" (2011) (No. 17, 96 percent)

A boy wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) confronts the darkness within himself as well as his world’s personification of evil in a story that’s also a journey to adulthood. “The grand finish, if not always inspired, feels necessary” as the long-running film series wraps up, writes Dave Elliott of San Diego Reader.

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8. "WALL-E" (2008) (No. 18, 96 percent)

Animation seems custom-made for science fiction in its ability to depict a world beyond human, cared for by an abandoned cleanup robot. “There’s nothing here that’s not wonderfully imagined and lovingly presented,” writes Dave Calhoun at TimeOut.com.

9. "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010) (No. 28, 98 percent)

A sensitive soul and the fiercest of dragons (who’s not such a bad sort, once you get to know him) do battle against their world’s determination to destroy itself in war. The movie “mixes comedic and touching moments with some of the best action sequences ever created with CGI animation,” writes Tom Horgen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

10. "Marvel's The Avengers" (2012) (No. 29, 92 percent)

Superheroes from different places and times in Marvel’s comic-book universe unite to battle evil in a story that’s part science-fiction, part fantasy. “'The Avengers' operates as an ensemble piece, where feelings really matter, and too much edge on one ego could have proved disastrous,” writes Katherine Monk of PostMedia News.

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Science fiction takes us into the future to look at the present, while fantasy offers a look at the reality of pure imagination. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes toted up critical reviews to arrive at its 100 best science fiction and fantasy movies.
modern, science fiction, movies, reviews, rotten tomatoes
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