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If you like Dune: Part Two, watch these epic sci-fi movies

If you want more stories like Dune: Part Two, check out these sci-fi movies!

The official poster for Dune: Part Two.
Warner Bros./Legendary Entertainment

The conventional wisdom that dense sci-fi movies can’t be hits was blown out of the window by Dune: Part Two‘s $82 million opening weekend. Director Denis Villeneuve has not only opened the door for Dune Messiah to be adapted as Dune: Part Three but he’s also paved the way for the filmmakers who come after him to take on even more challenging sci-fi material in the future.

There have been great science fiction movies before Dune, of course. However, the most successful ones tend to be more Star Wars than cerebral or thought-provoking. And only a few films have attempted to match the scope that Villeneuve’s two Dune movies achieved. That’s the big reason why we’ve put together this list of epic sci-fi movies to watch if you liked Dune: Part Two. In fact, two of our choices were helmed by Villeneuve himself.

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Blade Runner: 2049

Villeneuve’s attempt to follow up on Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner may be one of the most visually arresting movies of the last decade. Unfortunately, Blade Runner 2049 wasn’t lucky enough to enjoy the same level of box office success that the two Dune movies received. Barbie’s Ryan Gosling leads the cast as K, a replicant who works as a Blade Runner and hunts down rogue replicants.

The link to the first film unfolds when K discovers evidence that a female replicant gave birth to a child decades earlier. After some prodding from his A.I. girlfriend, Joi (Ana de Armas), K comes to believe that he is the child in question. The only way for K to know for sure is to find the man who might be his father, the long-missing Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

Amy Adams attempts to decipher an alien language in Arrival.
Paramount Pictures

Arrival

Arrival was the beginning of Villeneuve’s eight-year streak of incredible sci-fi movies. In this adaptation of Ted Chiang’s novella, Story of Your Life, aliens arrive on Earth in multiple spaceships that hover over 12 different countries across the globe. When the aliens signal their desire to communicate, the U.S. government sends linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to make sense of their complex language.

This task would be difficult enough by itself, but it’s made even more so when other countries around the world start saber-rattling and threatening to attack the aliens unless they depart. Louise is the only one who has any idea about the nature of the gift that the aliens are offering to humanity. And if she can’t convince the rest of the world, then this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity may end in disaster.

Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar.
Paramount Pictures

Interstellar

Christopher Nolan made his name as a director with his grounded take on Batman and his inventive films. Surprisingly, Interstellar is Nolan’s first stab at the sci-fi genre, and it’s executed with the same brilliant visual style that he brings to his other movies. Years in the future, Earth will die, and humanity will follow soon after. There’s not much that former NASA pilot Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) can do to change that…until he’s mysteriously tipped off about a mission to space to find a new home for humanity.

Dune‘s Timothée Chalamet has a small role as Cooper’s son, Joseph, alongside Mackenzie Foy as Joseph’s brilliant sister, Murphy “Murph” Cooper. The price that Cooper has to pay for his journey into space is that he misses the lives of his children on Earth. Meanwhile, an adult Murph (Jessica Chastain) struggles to find a way to evacuate the world while wondering if her father knew that he was abandoning his kids.

Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
STXfilms

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

The vast majority of movie fans don’t realize how much of a debt modern science fiction flicks owe to the French comic Valérian and Laureline. George Lucas and Luc Besson were heavily influenced by it when making Star Wars and The Fifth Element, respectively. Besson was such a big fan of the comic that he went on to direct the live-action film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

If you were wondering what the title refers to, it’s Alpha, a literal city in space that was formerly known as the International Space Station. Over the course of eight centuries, millions of aliens have joined forces with humanity to vastly expand the ISS and create something special. But there’s a dark secret at the core of Alpha, which draws in Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner, Laureline (Cara Delevingne). It’s something worth killing for, as Valerian and Laureline are about to discover when they become targets as well.

Kiefer Sutherland and some disturbing figures in Dark City.
New Line Cinema

Dark City

Dark City has been overshadowed by The Matrix despite beating it to theaters by a year. And in retrospect, this was a more daring movie. Rufus Sewell stars as John Murdoch, a man who awakens to learn that he’s been framed for murder. More alarmingly, Murdoch discovers that everyone in the city is being manipulated by mysterious beings called the Strangers, who can seemingly rearrange reality at will.

Inspector Frank Bumstead (William Hurt) is assigned to bring Murdoch to justice, but even he realizes that something is off about their lives. The answers may lie in Shell City if Murdoch and Bumstead can survive long enough to find it.

Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise has never played a superhero, but he does have a power in Edge of Tomorrow. During an alien invasion, public affairs officer Major William Cage (Cruise) is demoted to private and forced to fight on the frontlines. Cage lives just long enough to be infected by alien blood that puts him in a time loop each day, even if he dies.

After numerous cycles in the loop, Cage meets the only other person who has experienced the same thing: Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). She can teach Cage how to be a warrior, but breaking the loop in humanity’s favor may be impossible. Because with each passing day in the time loop, the aliens get stronger, and the humans always lose.

The cast of Pacific Rim.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim doesn’t try to pretend that it’s anything more than an excuse to show giant aliens fighting giant robots. Director Guillermo del Toro clearly had a blast with this premise, as the film quickly reveals why the robotic Jaegers were built to combat the alien Kaiju who arrive from an interdimensional portal within the ocean. Jaegers are powerful weapons, but they have a big drawback: It takes two pilots to fly a Jaeger, and the pilots have to be able to link up in synch mentally.

Former Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) had a drift-compatible partner in his late brother, Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff). Now, the only real candidate who might be fit is Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), a woman who is even more traumatized by the Kaiju attacks than Becket is. And if they don’t find a way to get on the same page, then the final Kaiju assault will overrun humanity’s last defense.

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell is a freelance writer for The Manual, Digital Trends, Fandom, Yahoo Entertainment, and more!
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