Movies give us experiences we otherwise wouldn't have in real life. That can be fun when we're talking about spaceships, battling evil aliens, or welding laser swords and moving rocks with the Force.
That's why we've put together a quick list of nine of our favorite sci-fi war films for you to obsess over! Some of these sci-fi classics drop you in the middle of some heavy action, amping up your adrenaline levels as you cheer for the heroes and love to hate the villains.
This 2009 release takes place on Pandora, an alien world where the beings are highly evolved in the year 2154. The environment is poisonous, so the Avatars link themselves to human minds. While there is a subplot of romance between Jake Sully and a Na'vi woman, they fight to survive and save their world. Avatar grossed $760.5 million in the box office and is still considered one of the best sci-fi movies.
Independence Day (1996)
This film has a star-studded cast with Will Smith as Captain Steven Hiller as the lead. The film follows a group of people in Nevada fighting an extraterrestrial race and deciding to fight back on none other than July 4th. It has a solid plot that focuses on the will of humans and their fight for survival against alien technology. It was so good, a sequel was made 20 years later called Independence Day: Resurgence. The original was the highest-grossing film of 1996.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The best out of all the original Star Wars films, the Empire Strikes Back exceeds A New Hope, making it noteworthy as one of the best sci-fi war films. This film focuses on the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance war. The battles are significantly darker, more intense, and visually more impressive than its predecessor thanks to a bigger budget and better effects technology. The film earned $401.5 million worldwide!
This film follows Sam Witwicky, who finds himself in a war between the alien robot races, the Autobots and the Decepticons. This film exceeds expectations as a perfect combination of CGI and live-action scenes based on the popular Hasbro toys and Marvel Comics tie-ins. The team-up of Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg is hard not to be admired. This film has everything-aliens, robots, explosions, and of course Megan Fox. It was the highest-grossing film of 2007.
Another sequel that surpasses the original, Aliens is set in the future following Ellen Ripley, who was left floating in space for 57 years. Ripley works with Space Marines to investigate a colony that the Weyland-Tutani Company lost contact with. This is perhaps one of the best sci-fi movies created, able to do everything without digital editing like most movies are now. It was the highest-grossing film of that year and was followed by several sequels and two prequels (not counting the Alien Vs Predator films).
This film was based on a board game of the same name and follows a small group of warships forced to fight a fleet of aliens. American and Japanese forces work together to fight off the alien invaders who are threatening to steal Earth’s resources. The reception was mixed but Battleship grossed $8.8 million on its first day in theatres, coming in second to The Avengers.
Starship Troopers (1997)
Based on a novel by Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers follows Johnny Rico and his military career during the 23rd century. The film's plot itself isn't deep, but it created a well-reviewed franchise due to its political satire. The Earth is at war with vicious alien Bugs whose primary goal is to destroy the human race apparently. The film inspired an additional two animated and a merch line.
Taking place in modern-day Egypt, this early 90s sci-fi favorite follows Professor Daniel Jackson and Army Colonel Jack O'Neil on their mission to figure out the code of an interstellar gateway to an ancient world. But first, they need to overthrow Ra, a ruler with far too much power and time on his hands. This film was the beginning of multiple movies and tv shows. You can find the list of the Stargate franchise ranked here.
The Matrix (1999)
When we think of war movies, it's usually with other nations, maybe even aliens, as we have shown previously. However, The Matrix is a war within the mind, a war with intelligent machines using human bodies as an energy source. Neo fights alongside other characters who were freed from their sleeping state. The movie became famous in part because of the CGI effect called "bullet time," a trick that has been mimicked in other films. The Matric franchise sequels have received mixed reviews, to say the least.