Total Nerd The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies  

Ranker Film
732 votes 200 voters 31 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
191 1
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
56 14
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
29 5
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
24 7
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
17 9
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
11 5
War for the Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
11 5
The Abyss is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
11 7
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
9 9
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is listed (or ranked) 9 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.
10
6 7
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
9 11
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
7 9
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
13 17
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
7 10
Edge of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
7 10
Gravity is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
6 9
Transformers is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
5 8
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
4 7
Inception is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard
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
19
4 10
Arrival is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
7 14
Prometheus is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba
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
21
3 9
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
6 13
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
2 8
War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
3 10
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
3 12
Alien: Covenant is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best CGI Sci-Fi Movies
Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup
Alien: Covenant is a 2017 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott, and the sixth film in the Alien film series. The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an ...more