Total Nerd

Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects 

Ranker Film
Updated July 30, 2019 3.5k votes 873 voters 2.1k views 34 items

List Rules Vote up the movies with CGI effects that are out of this world.

In order to make a modern-day science fiction movie, the use of CGI is almost mandatory. However, the best CGI effects in sci-fi films need to find a perfect balance. Sometimes, filmmakers rely too much on computer-generated imagery, and sometimes their animated creations wind up looking like cheap cartoon characters. There are a lot of movies that do get the balance right, but which are the best CGI moments in sci-fi movies?

Christopher Nolan was able to create a three-dimensional dreamworld in Inception. Ridley Scott took us to Mars in The Martian. James Cameron created the colorful world of Pandora in Avatar. All of those films were able to use CGI to perfection. Alita: Battle Angel is a recent CGI science fiction movie that has a very dedicated fan base. District 9 was a CGI movie that took most audiences by surprise with the quality of its special effects. Almost any science fiction movie that comes out now will has some computer generated images but which one is the greatest of all time?

Dinosaurs, Transformers, and colonized apes all came to life to form the best CGI scenes in sci-fi movies. Which filmmakers did it the best? It’s your job to decide. Vote up your favorite use of computer-generated imagery in science fiction films.

list ordered by
1
Avatar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez

Released: 2009

Directed by: James Cameron

Avatar is a 2009 American epic science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore, Giovanni ...more
2
Alita: Battle Angel is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Alita Thornton added Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly

Released: 2019

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez

Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American science fiction action film directed by Robert Rodriguez, based on the manga by Yukito Kishiro. After being revived by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz), ...more
3
Terminator 2: Judgment D... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

Released: 1991

Directed by: James Cameron

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert ...more
4
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss

Released: 1999

Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe ...more
5
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the ...more
6
Edge of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton

Released: 2014

Directed by: Doug Liman

Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 American military science fiction thriller film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Doug Liman directed the film. The film takes place in a future where Earth is ...more
7
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

Released: 2015

Directed by: Ridley Scott

The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by Andy Weir. An astronaut (Matt Damon) becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him gone, and must ...more
8
Tron is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
tfan2009 added Jeff Bridges, David Warner, Michael Dudikoff

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Lisberger

Tron is a 1982 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Lisberger, based on a story by Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird, and produced by Walt Disney Productions. The film stars ...more
9
Dawn of the Planet of th... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
James Franco, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell

Released: 2014

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a 2014 American science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves and written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. It stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary ...more
10
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon

Released: 2014

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Interstellar is a British-American 2014 science fiction epic film directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. The film ...more
11
Rogue One: A Star Wars S... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed

Released: 2016

Directed by: Gareth Edwards

This film is a 2016 American epic space opera film directed by Gareth Edwards. The daughter (Felicity Jones) of an Imperial scientist joins the Rebel Alliance in a risky move to take the plans.
12
War for the Planet of th... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
War for the Planet of the Apes Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn

Directed by: Matt Reeves

This film is a 2017 science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves. Following the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the apes are embroiled in a conflict ...more
13
The Abyss is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Chris Elliott

Released: 1989

Directed by: James Cameron

The Abyss is a 1989 American science fiction-adventure film written and directed by James Cameron, starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn. When an American submarine ...more
14
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1977

Directed by: George Lucas

Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The first release in the Star Wars franchise, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter ...more
15
Rise of the Planet of th... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow

Released: 2011

Directed by: Rupert Wyatt

Rise of the Apes is in pre-production as of May 2010. This origin story for a new franchise takes place in modern day San Francisco and will star James Franco. It is currently scheduled for a ...more
16
Prometheus is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba

Released: 2012

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Prometheus is a 2012 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, and starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan ...more
17
Pacific Rim is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
tfan2009 added Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman

Released: 2013

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Pacific Rim is a 2013 action sci-fi film directed by Guillermo del Toro.
18
Transformers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Megan Fox, Shia LaBeouf, Odette Annable

Released: 2007

Directed by: Michael Bay

Transformers is a 2007 American science fiction action film directed by Michael Bay, based on the toy line. An ancient struggle between two Cybertronian races, the heroic Autobots and the evil ...more
19
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood

Released: 2009

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp

District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13, 2009. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 is based on Alive in Joburg, a short film ...more
20
Minority Report is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell

Released: 2002

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Minority Report is a 2002 American neo-noir science fiction mystery-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick. It is set ...more
21
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Amy Smart

Released: 1997

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Starship Troopers is a 1997 American military science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier. The story follows a young soldier named Johnny Rico and his ...more
22
War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum

Released: 2005

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

War of the Worlds is a 2005 American epic science fiction disaster film and a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Josh ...more
23
Inception is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

Released: 2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph ...more
24
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

Released: 1968

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by ...more
25
Arrival is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Science Fiction Movies With The Best CGI Effects
Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Arrival is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang. It stars Amy ...more