2001: A Space Odyssey is a groundbreaking science fiction film that has had a significant impact on the genre. The movie’s stunning visuals and cinematography were ahead of their time and continue to be relevant to pop culture. It has inspired countless films and TV shows and has influenced directors such as George Lucas, Ridley Scott, and Christopher Nolan. The movie’s iconic score has also had a profound impact on the music industry. Furthermore, 2001: A Space Odyssey has paved the way for numerous sci-fi and space travel films, such as Contact and Moon, taking the genre to new heights. If you enjoyed 2001: A Space Odyssey, there are several other immersive movies in the sci-fi genre that you should watch.
10 Silent Running (1972)
The movie focuses on his journey toward the unknown, filled with dramatic events to preserve the last surviving plants and animals. Silent Running is a thought-provoking film that emphasizes nature preservation and sheds light on isolation. An incredibly shot film with amazing visual effects that gives a certain vibe of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
9 Alien (1979)
The popular classic sci-fi horror film Alien was released in 1979 and was directed by Ridley Scott. The film focuses on a crew of the mining spacecraft Nostromo who answers a distress call on a distant planet on their way home. After landing, they discover a hive colony of eggs inside a strange ship. The horror aspects start when a facehugger hatched from the eggs attacks one of the crew members and plants an alien form inside him. The alien creature bursting out from the attacked individual starts stalking and killing the other crew members one by one.
The story is paced with jump scares and thrilling twists. The film revolutionized the sci-fi space genre by incorporating horror aspects to it. Even though the movie’s core doesn’t really relate to the one of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film’s blend of thriller and space certainly helps create the unique atmosphere.
The lesser-known successor to the highly acclaimed 2001: A Space Odyssey is our current pick, 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984). The film, directed by Peter Hyams, is based on the later events of Kubrick’s film and follows the crew of the spacecraft Leonov on their journey to Jupiter. The crew ventures to Jupiter to investigate the lost ship Discovery One and unravels several mysteries surrounding it. The film answers the secrets of the monolith and brings down curtains to the incredible duology.
Even though the film failed to reach the heights of its predecessor, 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) still managed to create a concrete footing in terms of cinematography, screenplay, special effects, and suspense.
7 Annihilation (2018)
The modern-day sci-fi film Annihilation is a horror thriller directed by Alex Garland. The film follows Lena Double (Natalie Portman), a biologist and former soldier who, searching for her husband, volunteers to enter an environmental disaster zone named “The Shimmer.” Four scientists, including Lena, are sent into the mysterious, rapidly growing ecological zone to discover its secrets. They encounter strange phenomena and mutated creatures inside the area, and as they venture more and more, they face intense psychological effects.
Their journey to search out the root cause is filled with thrillers and horrors. The film sheds light on alien creatures and philosophical themes and keeps a constant sense of mystery. The film’s unique cinematography and story remind us of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
6 The Martian (2015)
Based on the novel by Andy Weir comes the sci-fi adventure film The Martian. The film, directed by Ridley Scott, focuses on Mark Watney(Matt Damon), a NASA astronaut left alone to survive on Mars. The film starts with a group of astronauts on a mission on Mars when suddenly they are hit by a massive storm where Mark is impaled and assailed away. Mark is left alone to survive until the next mission arrives after his crew leaves him, presuming his death.
The movie portrays Mark’s survival on the unhabitable planet through his wit and mental strength. As Mark faces issues with his acuity, like growing food, reestablishing communication, ensuring a safe habitat, etc., back on earth, NASA plans a dangerous mission to rescue him unharmed. The film is a representation of space survival and facing alien issues with ingenuity, which relates to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
5 Sunshine (2007)
Sunshine is a sci-fi thriller directed by Danny Boyle and released in 2007. The film follows the Icarus II mission crew, tasked to revive the sun and save humanity from mass extinction. Sun is dying, and Earth is about to face its eternal doom; in such circumstances, the Icarus II spacecraft is on a mission to reignite the sun using a bomb. With Cillian Murphy leading the cast, the crew aboard the ship faces hurdles one after another as they proceed toward their goal.
With issues like system failures, accidents, making contact with Icarus I, etc., the crew must give the ultimate test of perseverance to save life on Earth. The film is an intense space thriller, and its suspense creates a similar atmosphere to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
From the famed director Robert Zemeckis, comes the classic sci-fi film Contact. The film, released in 1997, is a drama thriller that follows Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster), a SETI scientist who has worked all her life searching for Extraterrestrial intelligence. While facing many hurdles and skepticism, Dr. Ellie and her colleagues finally detect a signal of Extraterrestrial intelligence. They perform a seemingly impossible task with the help of a billionaire and send Dr. Ellie to make contact with Extraterrestrial life.
The film includes aspects like alien contact, space journey, skepticism, etc., and creates a great deal of mystery and suspense throughout. Contact incredible sci-fi film viewers would love to watch if they liked 2001: A Space Odyssey.
3 Interstellar (2014)
One of the cinematic feats of Christopher Nolan, Interstellar is a mind-bending sci-fi thriller adventure film. Favorite to many sci-fi lovers, Interstellar follows the story of Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot who is tasked to lead a mission to find a habitable planet. The Earth is now prone to disasters and droughts, and humanity suffers from intense food shortage; in such circumstances, Cooper and a team of scientists and two robots, TARS and CASE, venture on an immersive and dangerous interstellar journey. Along with their search for a habitable planet, they face intense time dilation, effects of relativity, gravitational anomalies, etc., and at times they are met with tough choices.
The movie brilliantly brings up concepts like black holes, wormholes, interstellar journeys, etc., and beautifully portrays the emotions and sacrifices of the characters. The movie’s outwardly cinematography and screenplay are something that lovers of 2001: A Space Odyssey would love to enjoy.
2 Moon (2009)
Moon is a sci-fi mystery film directed by Duncan Jones and released in 2009. The sci-fi drama follows the story of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), who has been living on the Moon with a robot named GERTY for almost three years, working for a Helium mining company Lunar Industries. As he nears the end of his contract of three years with the company, Sam starts to face hallucinations and delusions. Suddenly he suffers a severe accident at his mining site, and after his recovery, he starts to discover several mysteries, which leads him to question the reality of his existence. Unearthing the company’s dark secrets, Sams plans to return to Earth by himself.
The film is a brilliant representation of isolation, identity, psychological toll, living in space, etc. The film has incredible visual effects and screenplay and is a must-watch for the fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
1 Solaris (1972)
From the great Andrei Tarkovsky comes one of the greatest sci-fi films to ever hit the silver screen, Solaris. This masterpiece of a sci-fi mystery was released in 1972 and focuses on the story of Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis), a psychologist tasked to investigate the strange abnormalities instilled by the planet Solaris. Kris is sent to the space station orbiting the planet Solaris after reports of the crew facing psychological events and hallucinations. After arriving, Kris also starts to face these occurrences, where he meets his wife, Hari, who has been dead for years. Upon further investigation, he begins to unravel the psychological mysteries of the planet, which also affects his psyche.
The film brilliantly explores human consciousness, the deeper meanings of life, and the impacts of memories. The film’s imagery is exceptional, and its atmosphere and screenplay are like no other. This thought-provoking masterwork is a must-watch for any sci-fi fan and is a worthy contemporary to 2001: A Space Odyssey.