Total Nerd The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies  

Ranker Film
1.8k votes 611 voters 33 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.

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
592 2
Alita: Battle Angel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Alita Thornton added Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly
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
2
216 25
Avatar is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez
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
3
103 15
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton
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
53 17
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss
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
47 15
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough
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
44 22
Tron is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
tfan2009 added Jeff Bridges, David Warner, Michael Dudikoff
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
7
32 16
Edge of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
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
8
27 16
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
James Franco, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell
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
9
21 13
War for the Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn
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
10
20 12
The Abyss is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Chris Elliott
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
11
18 11
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig
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
12
17 11
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed
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.
13
7 1
Pacific Rim is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
tfan2009 added Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman
Pacific Rim is a 2013 action sci-fi film directed by Guillermo del Toro.
14
26 31
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon
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
15
20 23
Transformers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Megan Fox, Shia LaBeouf, Odette Annable
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
16
13 14
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow
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
17
8 13
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
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
18
12 19
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood
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
19
7 13
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop
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
20
12 21
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Amy Smart
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
21
8 15
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young
Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, ...more
22
9 17
Gravity is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris
Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed, co-written, and produced by Alfonso Cuarón. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts, and sees them stranded in ...more
23
7 14
Arrival is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
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
24
5 11
War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum
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
25
3 9
Minority Report is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell
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