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The best sci-fi movies streaming on Peacock: 'Jurassic World,' 'Nope,' 'M3GAN,' 'Upgrade' & more
Stream Jurassic World, Nope, M3GAN, and more on Peacock right now.
Stories are the way we talk about the things we’re not good at talking about: love, death, fear, hope… We build proxies for ourselves which are better-looking, braver, or cleverer than we are, and we put them in the situations we can only imagine in order to explore the world as it is or as we wish it could be. Science fiction, more than perhaps any other genre, extends this unique form of cultural meditation to our own possible future.
Through science fiction, we see the ways the world might one day be, and we can make mistakes on page or screen in the hope that we don’t make them when they really come knocking. Because we can only build what we can first imagine, we’d serve ourselves well by sampling the many different potential futures available in our fictions.
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If you’re looking for inspiration, Peacock’s collection of science fiction movies and television series might be the perfect place to start. To be sure, not all sci-fi flicks present an ideal future, and they might serve you better as a warning than a blueprint, but you’re sure to have a blast along the way. There are scores of movies and hundreds of episodes of science fiction to choose from, these are some of our favorites.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Okay, this is technically a TV show, but it's a TV show about watching movies, in full. That counts!
You never know what a new day might bring. If you’re very unlucky you might be kidnapped by a group of mad scientists, shuttled aboard an interstellar spacecraft, and forced to watch bad movies until your connection with reality shatters. If you find yourself in that situation, it helps to have a few friends. When Joel Robinson found himself in this exact unlikely but hilarious situation, and without any friends, he built some from scratch using pieces of the ship. Those friends are known as Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and GPC. And they, along with the human test subject, watch bad movies and crack wise to make them a little less painful. The great thing about Mystery Science Theater 3000, is it isn’t just one bad movie, but so many. So many, that eventually, they start to look pretty good. Not ever episode is streaming on Peacock, but several classics, including Mitchell, Pod People, and Hercules Against the Moon Men, are.
It’s Vin Diesel in space fighting killer aliens with magic eyes during a month-long solar eclipse. It sounds like the ramblings of a madman as the last bursts of electricity flicker across his dying brain but it is very real and very cool.
Diesel plays Richard B. Riddick, a man with a shine in his eyes and the ability to see in the dark. That comes in handy when you’re surrounded by bloodthirsty extraterrestrials who only come out at night. It’s Vin Diesel at his highest octane and, through some cinematic miracle, the character returned again in The Chronicles of Riddick, where he fought the Neuromancer for his literal and figurative soul.
In 1993, Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton joined forces to craft a movie which would come to define the way we imagine dinosaurs. Over the next eight years, movie goers would return to Isla Sorna and surrounding islands to face off with resurrected dinosaurs two more times but after 2001’s Jurassic Park III, it seemed as though our window into the past was closed.
In 2015, Jurassic World brought moviegoers to a world in which Hammond’s dinosaur park worked as he intended. Every day thousands of people visit the park and see dinosaurs face to face, without any trouble but we all know it’s only a matter of time. Through bad luck and no small amount of hubris, park attendees go from happy vacationers to dinoshors d’oeuvres (mashing dinosaur with hors d’oeuvres gave me a headache, please clap) in the blink of an eye. And you can watch the Triassic train crash to your heart’s content, on Peacock.
Turbo Kid isn’t, strictly speaking, a vision of the future, but we’ll let it slide because it’s INCREDIBLE. It takes place in an alternate reality 1997, in a world struggling for water. The tyrannical overlord Zeus (played perfectly by Michael Ironside) captures people from the Wasteland and crushes them to get their water. It’s a tough world to live in when you’re a kid who just wants to ride his bike and read comic book.
When The Kid meets Apple, a friendship model robot, the two of them embark on a coming of age story like none you’ve ever seen. It’s equal parts Napoleon Dynamite and Mad Max, with a disturbingly hilarious amount of blood splatter. It’s a post-apocalyptic fever dream as imagined by a Power Glove-wearing teenager from the ‘80s. It’s perfect.
While Jordan Peele has emerged as one of the most talented horror filmmakers on the scene, his movies all involve an element of science fiction not too far beneath the surface. Get Out and Us explore the scarifying consequences of mind transfers and cloning to ramp up the horror, but also as a way of getting at societal failings.
In Nope, Peele puts the sci-fi elements in center stage with the discovery, exploration, and survival from an extraterrestrial entity flying over Jupiter’s Claim. A science fiction horror western with an unknown and unknowable creature at its center coupled with the tense relationships and troubled pasts of the characters makes for a perfect mixture which might leave you feeling grateful for your comparably luxurious life.
Written and directed by Leigh Whannell (The Invisible Man, Saw), the 2018 science fiction thriller Upgrade stars Logan Marshall-Green (Devil, Spider-Man: Homecoming) as Grey Trace, a mechanic and technophobe. When Grey and his partner Asha are attacked one evening, Asha is killed and Grey is left paralyzed. Luckily, he has a connection to noted technologist Eron Keen who just so happens to have recently crafted a spinal implant called STEM, which allows a computer to control a person’s motor function. Suddenly, Grey is just one simple but highly experimental operation away from regaining his mobility.
The implant, however, has other ideas. When Grey is attacked again, he temporarily gives up control of his body to the artificial intelligence living on his spine and becomes a cybernetic killing machine. While STEM helps Grey to avenge his wife it has ulterior motives that not even Grey suspects.
Men in Black
If you didn’t know any better, Men in Black begins like so many other police dramas from the late ‘90s. NYPD officer James Edwards (Will Smith) encounters a criminal with an uncanny ability for escape who turns out to be an extraterrestrial. He’s given a brief glimpse into the world as it really is, and he’s given a choice: to stay and see how strange things really are or forget it all and return to his ordinary life. It’s no real choice at all. James is swept into the secret world of the Men in Black, a covert organization tasked with protecting humanity from the universe’s many alien entities, many of whom are living among us.
After erasing his identity and all of his name except for the first letter, J learns that the Earth has been established as a neutral zone for alien refugees and there’s a sort of tenuous peace between us and the rest of the cosmos. That is until a bug-like alien body-snatches a backwoods farmer named Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio) in an attempt to locate a hidden galaxy and spark interstellar war. To prevent the galaxy from falling into the bugs’ pedipalps, the Arquillians — an advanced alien race — are willing to destroy the Earth. Only J and his partner K (Tommy Lee Jones) can save us.
Once you’re finished saving the world your first time, you can follow the continued adventures of the MIB in Men in Black II and Men in Black 3.
Sometimes all you need is a friend who really gets you. When nine-year-old Cady’s parents are killed in a car accident, she goes to live with her aunt Gemma, a brilliant engineer and inventor working for the toy company Funki. Despite Gemma’s efforts, she struggles to keep her career afloat while caring for a child and opts instead to combine the two. Cady needs a friend, and Gemma needs someone to test her latest invention, the Model 3 Generative Android. M3GAN for short.
Thing start out wonderfully. Cady is smiling and laughing for the first time since her parents died, M3GAN is performing better than expected, and Gemma’s bosses are happy. Of course, we all know that the other titanium shoe is about to drop. Like countless evil robots which came before her, M3GAN takes her directive to protect Cady from physical and emotional harm very seriously. So seriously that she’s willing to kill if that’s what it takes to keep Cady safe. Catch M3GAN, unrated and uncut, streaming on Peacock!
COWBOYS & ALIENS
Jon Favreau’s 2011 sci-fi Western Cowboys & Aliens begins like many of the Westerns which came before it, with one notable exception. When Jake Lonergan stumbles into a dusty town with no memory and a mysterious metal bracelet on his wrist, he sets in motion a sequence of events which will define not only the West, but the entire planet. An absolutely star-studded cast including Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, and Paul Dano put their nineteenth century concerns aside and unite to prevent the eradication of our species and the loss of our planet at the hands of alien invaders. Setting a story of advanced extraterrestrial colonizers on a mission of eradication against the backdrop of westward expansion feels intentional because it was, and it adds a little depth to an otherwise wacky romp in the dirt.
When X-Men hit theaters in the summer of 2000 it was a breakout hit. The perfect casting of Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier and the chance to see all of our favorite mutants on the big screen may have gotten people in the door, but it was Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine that really hooked people. For the last two decades, putting Jackman on a poster with some metal claws was as good as printing money. Which is why the writers eventually ditched the team element and focused on their star.
The result were a trilogy of solo Wolverine films beginning with X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009 and ending with Logan in 2017. Tucked between the two is the 2013 film The Wolverine, which sees Logan dealing with the emotional aftermath of X-Men: The Last Stand, during which he killed Jean Gray in order to save the world. The story takes viewers from the bombing of Nagasaki to the robotic samurai filled present, all in the hope that Logan can heal the one thing his healing factor can’t fix: his heart.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
It’s got a wacky scientist, paradoxes, a car that was as poorly designed as it was cool looking, time travel lightning, made up scientific jargon, cross-generational friendships, Libyan terrorists, and a dog. It starts in 1985, a moment which was at once firmly planted in its time and filled with potential for a looming future.
As we learn over the course of Back to the Future’s 116 minute runtime, that future, whatever it might be, is defined by the choices we made in the past. Go back and change something and you might ruin the world, you might even erase your own existence before you have a chance to be born. In a story that sounds like it was written in the midst of a cough syrup bender (no shade to Zemeckis or Gale) Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) accidentally finds himself in 1955 without enough power for a return trip. To get home, Marty has to harness the power of lightning, but first he has to fight off his own mother’s advances and convince her to fall in love with his dad. He also invents Chuck Berry.
Stream these great movies and many more on Peacock.