James Cameron continued to be the box office powerhouse with his debut of the 2009 sci-fi adventure film Avatar. The film took place in a future where mankind has taken to the stars and discovered the alien planet of Pandora, where the towering creatures of the Na’vi live. The humans want their precious resources but the Na’vi defend their homeland from such invaders. Thanks to mind-transferring technology, the soldier Jake Sully is able to become one of the aliens and integrate into their tribe. But the more he learns about Pandora, he soon sides with Na’vi.
Naturally, Avatar garnered a lot of comparisons to similar media about turncoats. For a time, the film was even jokingly referred to as a pairing of Dances With Wolves meets The Smurfs, referring to the blue alien creatures. It’s become a common tale of war blended with fish out of water aspects for the culture clash elements. But there are more films of this nature than merely period war dramas of Dances With Wolves and The Last Samurai. There are also plenty of similar stories within the realm of science fiction. Here are 10 films of such a nature.
Based on the legendary sci-fi novel series by Frank Herbert, Dune tells the tale of mankind’s fight among warring planets for the ownership of Arrakis. The desert planet, referred to as Dune, is where the infinitely useful and mind-altering element of the spice can be harvested. Paul Atreides is the prince of the Atreides clan that has just taken command of Arrakis and soon finds himself torn from his kingdom when the evil Harkonens overtake his people. Paul then seeks the aid of the Arrakis natives known as the Fremmen so that he may both defeat the Harkonens and bring peace to Arrakis. Directed by David Lynch, this sci-fi epic features a towering cast that includes Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Jack Nance, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Dean Stockwell, Linda Hunt, Max von Sydow, and Sean Young.
Based on the classic novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter tells the tale of an outlaw from the 1800s who finds himself transported to Mars. Sent into a world of great magic, creatures and kingdoms, Carter finds himself thrown into a war for the fate of the planet while trying to find a way back home. Directed by Andrew Stanton (Wall-E), this epic sci-fi adventure stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, and Willem Dafoe.
Director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) stages his most trippy of action pictures that blends with science fiction elements. Dom Cobb is a thief who specializes in snatching valuable information by breaking into people’s dreams via a unique device. But he finds himself tasked with his most difficult mission when tasked with implanting information in a target by staging dreams within dreams. But Cobb may find himself going far too deep into the realm of dreams that he may not find his way out. The all-star ensemble includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name, Peter Quill finds himself plucked from 1980s Earth as a boy by space pirates. Decades later, he finds himself traveling across the galaxy as the outlaw and gun-for-hire Star Lord. When taking on a dangerous job, he soon finds himself teaming up with the bitter warrior Gamora, the oblivious warrior Drax, the slick-talking racoon Rocket, and the giant Groot who can only say his name. They find themselves as reluctant partners when tasked with saving the galaxy from the evil Ronan, seeking to use the power of an Infinity Gem to obliterate planets and rule with an iron fist. Directed James Gunn (Slither, Super), this comedic space western romp boasts a classic rock soundtrack as well as a massive ensemble cast that includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro.
Alita: Battle Angel
Based on the Japanese comic book series by Yukito Kishiro, this sci-fi action picture takes place in a dystopian future where mankind relies on technology to stay alive. The crafty Doctor Dyson ido rummages through a junkyard and happens upon the remains of a mysterious cybernetic girl. The girl, dubbed Alita, is rebuilt with no memory and tries to figure out her past and the odd world she occupies. But she finds herself making her way through a dangerous world of gruesome cyborg gangsters and cutthroat athletes who engage in death sports. Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) and co-written/produced by James Cameron (Terminator 2), this violent piece of manga-inspired action stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, and Jackie Earle Haley.
Star Trek: First Contact
Taking place after the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Starship Enterprise crew find themselves traveling back in time to stop the history altercations of The Borg, a cybernetic species. Captain Jean-Luc Picard had once encountered the Borg and briefly became one against his will, making his quest more out of vengeance. While he tries to stop the Borg collective that has invaded his ship, a handful of the crew must also ensure that Earth makes first contact with the Vulcans or all of history could be destroyed. Of course, the crew will have to adjust to speaking with people from another time period and may be shocked to discover just how much of a drunk the man who invented warp drive turned out to be. The film features the familiar cast of the show which includes
As the fourth film in the Terminator saga, this entry takes place in the future where machines have mostly won the war against humanity. As the machines sweep the wastelands of Earth to imprison and execute every human in sight, a resistance forms to counter the deadly robots that threaten all organic life on the planet. The resistance finds a new member but are dismayed to discover the man they have saved may be a sleeper spy for the robot armies of Skynet. They may, however, be able to use such a machine to their advantage in the continuing war of man versus machine. Directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels), this bleak take on the dark future of Terminator features a cast that includes Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Jane Alexander, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Based on the best-selling novel by Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game is set in a future where the Earth finds itself at war with aliens from another planet. To stop such a threat, the space armada recruits boys and girls from a young age to train them for the future of protecting the galaxy. They prepare via trials of physical activity and simulations of fleet combat. At the top of the class is the highly skilled Ender, quickly understanding the nature of war. But he may not be prepared to learn the cold truth about the simulations actually imply. Directed by Gavin Hood (Eye in the Sky), this thrilling coming-of-age sci-fi story features a cast of young and old that includes Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld, and Abigail Breslin.
The aliens of District 9 don’t exactly visit to invade us, eat us, or make friends. Their rickety starship hovers above South Africa and the inhabitants of the ship are placed in refugee camps kept under strict command. As the ghetto of such an area descends into chaos, the bureaucrat Wikus van de Merwe becomes infected with a mysterious device that causes him to slowly transform into one of the alien creatures. Only with the aid of other such creatures can he find a way to make a difference in the world after learning the error of his ways. Directed by Neill Blomkamp as one of his first big sci-fi features, this action-packed sci-fi story stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James, and William Allen Young.
In this third Thor film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ragnarok finds the mighty hero facing off against the greatest foe to him and his kingdom. He makes the discovery that he had a long-lost sister who seeks to reclaim the throne of Asgard. Before Thor can stop her, however, he’ll have to find his way off the dangerous planet of Sakaar, ruled by a ruthless king who puts him in arena combat against his old pal Hulk. It’s up to Thor working with a slew of unlikely allies to prevent the destruction of Asgard and its people. Directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows), this neon divergence of a fantasy adventure stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins.