Cinematography is undoubtedly one of the most valuable elements in a motion picture; it sets the tone and mood for a movie’s narrative and helps viewers understand the piece of filmmaking better — this essential element often acts as a visual guide for the audience, aiding cinephiles to get a better insight about the film’s atmosphere and immerse themselves in the film completely.
When it comes to stunning cinematography, sci-fi movies hold so much potential because they often introduce viewers to different worlds and stunning galaxy landscapes, which are often seen in lots of films of the genre. From timeless classics like 2001: A Space Odysseyto more recent flicks like Cloud Atlas, here are some science fiction goodies Redditors believe are visually alluring.
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968)
Stanley Kubrick‘s slow-paced gem stands the test of time as one of the most iconic flicks of its genre — with stunning shots all throughout, the film follows a spacecraft that embarks on a long journey to Jupiter to find the origins of a mysterious artifact after uncovering it beneath the lunar surface.
Reddit clearly believes 2001: A Space Odyssey to be one of the most visually astounding sci-fi films out there, and the fact that it is so heavily mentioned is proof. “2001… Nuff said,” says u/NZSO_thug_life when a now-deleted account asked the platform about “visually amazing sci-fi movies.” Without doubt, Geoffrey Unsworth and John Alcott did an wonderful job on the film.
‘Blade Runner’ (1982)
Directed by Ridley Scott, Blade Runner follows the life of a cop (Harrison Ford) who specializes in terminating A.I systems with human bodies who replicate the physical abilities and intellectual capacities of mankind (also known as replicants). When four of them escape and come to earth, Rick Deckard is forced to return from retirement.
On the platform, there is nothing but praise for the Jordan Cronenweth‘s work: “Blade Runner definitely is one of those movies where it’s almost inconceivable the amount of work that went in, the lighting, smoke, the sets, the incredible cohesion of sets and matte paintings. Such a strong piece of visual art, mindblowing in many ways when coupled with the music and atmospherics,” remarks u/Airlight.
Based on Kosinski‘s unpublished graphic novel of the same name, Oblivion is set in the year 2077, and it follows Tom Cruise‘s Jack, one of the last security repairmen on Earth who has been assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources. After rescuing a stranger from a downed spacecraft, Jack embarks on an intense ride that’ll make him question everything he’s known about mankind.
U/OB1_kenobi is crystal clear on what makes Claudio Miranda‘s art a strong pick for the most astounding cinematography in a sci-fi film. According to the user, “it’s not the greatest scifi movie, but there are some scenes that are visually amazing.” They also give examples: “The scenes in the house atop a 3 km high pylon… swimming pool with a transparent bottom etc. The flight scenes in the podcraft thingy. The scenes of the devastated landscape. The scene where Cruise enters the Tet.”
This 1972 movie was way ahead of its time, and Reddit agrees. Solaris depicts an intriguing space mission where a psychologist (Donatas Banionis) is sent to a distant planet that appears to host some kind of intelligence to investigate what has caused the previous crew to go insane. In the meantime, he also encounters his wife who has been dead for ten years.
Thanks to Vadim Yusov, Andrei Tarkovsky‘s Soviet science fiction film is one of the most looked upon on the website cinematography-wise. “The opening scene from Solaris (1972) pretty much shows how fantastic Tarkovsky was on a visual level, even if he was fantastic when it came to everything else too. Amazing and dreamlike atmosphere,” remarks a now-deleted user.
Alex Garland‘s Sunshine, a science fiction psychological thriller, focuses on a crew of eight international men and women who venture into space on a threatening mission to reignite the dying Sun, a menace to the end of humanity, with a nuclear fission bomb in the year 2057.
Sunshine is assuredly one of the most suggested films of its genre in the platform, and we have Alwin H. Küchler to thank for it. With 101 votes, u/bellsofwar3 names the 2007 movie as one of the most visually astounding. Another user also recommends the movie in a different response, “I’m a sucker for ‘visually amazing scifi movies’ truth be told. I’d definitely recommend Sunshine above anything else, that movie is incredibly well done and it just looks beautiful.”
Alien is the first installment of the beloved science fiction franchise horror film. Set in a distant future, the beloved movie focuses on a space team who, on their way back to Earth, intercepts a distress call from a distant moon which leads them to discover a crashed alien ship unlike any other they’ve ever seen before.
An user on the platform doesn’t hold back from showing their enthusiasm about the visuals of the movie, which were created by Derek Vanlint: “Goddamnit if this film hasn’t aged sooo well. Will always be my number 1 sci-fi movie, across all categories. Stunning cinematography, great special effects, the tension and ambiance are miles ahead of anything else, even today. It’s gritty, it was innovative, and at the time, it was ballsy. While it gets alot of credit, I still feel this film is vastly underrated.”
‘The Fountain’ (2006)
This 2006 feature is equally a great pick when it comes to stunning photography. The Fountain depicts the intense love story between a man (Hugh Jackman) who struggles to cure the cancer of the woman he loves (Rachel Weisz) as he travels through time in order to find immortality in the Foutain of Youth.
“Not typical Sci-fi but beautiful none the less,” u/ignore_me_im_high says. On another comment, u/LLEGOmyEGGO makes the same point about Matthew Libatique‘s work: “Not straight up scifi, more fantasy really, but directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, Noah) so you know it’s full of visually appealing stuff. The last 10 minutes looks like a moving painting, what I imagine a painter on acid sees.”
Prometheus is a 2012 movie that tells the story of an archaeologist (Noomi Rapace) and her partner (Logan Marshall-Green) who embark on a deep-space scientific expedition. When the crew comes across a rocky terrain on a distant moon as they follow the clues to the origin of human mankind, they soon discover that they’re not the only ones there.
Raising questions about the origin of humanity with incredible visuals by Dariusz Wolski to match, Prometheus is one of the most intriguing sci-fi flicks out there. “The scene of Prometheus coming down through the massive clouds in the extreme wide shot, incredible,” a now-deleted account says.
A medical engineer (Sandra Bullock), who goes on her first shuttle mission, and a veteran astronaut (George Clooney), who is in command of his last flight before retiring, team up to survive after an accident leaves them deserted in space. This thriller film is directed by Alfonso Cuarón and invites viewers for a memorable ride.
According to an enthusiastic user who earned 30 votes, “Gravity was amazing in theatres.” U/rib9985 adds, “The custom lightbox they created for shooting actors and matching the light circumstances in CGI was absolutely amazing.” There’s nothing but praise for Emmanuel Lubezki‘s art on the platform, which won Best Cinematography.
‘Cloud Atlas’ (2012)
Written and directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, this epic science fiction film tackles themes of reincarnation as it follows a soul that travels through time, depicting how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future.
John Toll and Frank Griebe‘s work on Cloud Atlas‘ is absolutely stunning, and there is no way to get around that. Upvoted 37 times, the 2012 film’s visuals are also incredibly appreciated. “It really was beautifully shot, wasn’t it? It did not really matter I could not make out half of what Tom Hanks was saying. A difficult book to translate to the screen, though,” u/Teshayel comments.