It’s impossible to say when, exactly, mankind first dreamed of traveling into outer space, but ever since we got the idea in our heads we never let it go. We’ve been telling stories about alien worlds for longer than anyone has been alive, and we’ve been making movies about flying to the moon since practically the dawn of cinema.
As visual effects expanded and space travel itself became a reality, movies have become more and more obsessed with sci-fi stories about star treks, star wars, and just about anything star-related. In the 21st century, those films are often big, giant blockbusters but visual effects technology has also reached the point where small, independent comedies and dramas can also realistically take place on space ships, space stations, and other planets.
When it came time to curate a list of the best space movies of the century (so far), we knew that we had to limit ourselves somewhere. What’s the point of a “Top 20” list if most of the entries are sequels or prequels to Star Trek and Star Wars? How many Guardians of the Galaxy films do we really need to write about before you get the general idea that they’re good?
So, to free up space (all puns intended) for underrated and underappreciated films, we’re limiting ourselves to one film per franchise and spreading the love in our list of the best space movies of the 21st century, so far! Put on your helmets, strap in, and get ready to venture into the farthest reaches of the galaxy in pursuit of action, adventure… and ennui.