Dear readers, we here at Paste are not the type of journalists to cower behind “alternative facts.” We represent the search for objective truth, and nothing less. When it comes to the truth, we serve it up wholesale with a steaming fresh pile of “I told ya so.” If you don’t like it, you can tell that story walkin’, broheim. Anyway, we’ve been in search of the best “science” movies on Amazon Prime, and what we have is the tippy-top elite films that will not only entertain you, but you might just learn something along the way. Now, full discretion: this isn’t exactly hard science. So yeah, maybe more along the lines of “alternative facts” than we might’ve thought. Well. Whatever. We’ve got some heavy hitters in this one, all the way from one the greatest movies ever made to the discovery of AI, and even a found footage horror film about Chesapeake Bay. Enjoy yourselves.
1. The Matrix
Amidst the fears of a machine uprising in pre-Y2K America, The Matrix arrived not to assuage these fears, but to throttle them into a kind of hyper-reality. The Wachowski’s broke through the stale mold of sci-fi milieu with an incredible film. The Matrix is all iconic imagery and craft, and it’s absolutely perfect. Neo’s journey to become The One will be carried over to two lesser follow-up films, but the original Matrix still stands. It even inspired its own religion.
2. Z for Zachariah
In a post-apocalyptic world, Ann Burden is surviving in a valley paradise, sheltered from the irradiated wastelands surrounding her. She comes across John Loomis, a survivor from outside of the valley. He moves in and they become attracted to each other, as they prepare for the winter and strive to bring back electric power. But there’s an unfortunate wrench thrown into their peaceful lives, in the form of a buff and hunky Chris Pine. So naturally, John will do anything to not be friend-zoned.
3. 10 Cloverfield Lane
10 Cloverfield Lane is the sleeper smash-hit that no one realized we needed. J.J. Abrams is building his own universe (and entrusting young directors with each film), stemming off from his pretty great Cloverfield in the best way: it has almost nothing to do with it. 95 percent of 10 Cloverfield Lane is Mary Elizabeth Winstead trapped in a bunker with John Goodman, unsure of the state of the world above them.
4. Ex Machina
Caleb works for a dominant search engine and is selected to win a trip to his CEO’s luxuriously isolated home. Here, he finds that Nathan has discovered and created the key to artificial intelligence in the form of a humanoid robot named Ava. Of course, because it’s how these things usually go, the shit hits the fan rather quickly. Nothing is as it seems, and things get super weird between Caleb, Nathan and Ava.
What would happen if we made contact with extraterrestrials? How would we react? Here, Dr. Ellie Arroway receives cryptic transmissions that reveal the plans for a mysterious machine which, of course, the government then constructs in a way to further make contact with these unknown beings. This is a stunning, sprawling film that take the ambitions of a doctor as she attempts to find the truth about the universe and her reality.
6. Star Trek Beyond
Set three years into the USS Enterprise’s discovery mission, Star Trek Beyond is the latest adventure of Capt. James T. Kirk and his crew. Here, they attempt a rescue mission after following a distress call (and when has that ended well for anyone?), and face a new enemy with an all too familiar past. Basically, Chris Pine is perfect, he can do anything and we’d follow him anywhere.
7. The Bay
As one of those dreaded “found footage”-esque horror films, The Bay proves that might be some life left in the sub-genre. During a 4th of July Festival, people from a small town in Maryland succumb to a strange ailment, leading a reporter to believe that there was something in the water. The video sources vary from cellphones to Skype to professional videography from the local news stations, which is a fresh little take.
Pete Mercer writes for the travel, science and health sections on Paste Magazine. He also LOVES The Matrix. Like, all of them. The other two less so, but still. Find him on Twitter and let’s chat about it.