The world or galaxy in which the sci-fi film is set is one of the most enjoyable parts. They may take place off the planet, on an entirely different plane of existence, or in a broken version of Earth, but the setting doesn't matter as long as the world is depicted in a unique and engaging way.
A sci-fi film is even more effective when its world-building incorporates the stories of its protagonists. Setting must serve a purpose, or it will appear as if it was included for the sake of it. Some stories are far more compelling than others.
Arrival's history is a story of shocking twists and turns. An alien species arrives on Earth and attempts to communicate with the inhabitants of the planet, but only one dedicated researcher is capable of conversing with their unusual dialect.
Dr. Louise Banks will reminisce about her childhood only for the movie to reveal that these childhood memories are indicative of the future. It's also why the film is so engaging.
Lena, a former marine who has become a biologist, is hired by the US government to investigate what happened to her husband. Upon accepting the job, she discovers that her husband is still alive, but that his time in the Shimmer severely altered his personality.
Lena enters the Shimmer to discover the secrets contained within, but she quickly realizes that there are dangers lurking in the shimmer. The Shimmer is a dream-like plane of existence that can quickly destroy the minds of all who enter, as revealed by the hallucinations experienced by the protagonists. The setting can change into a living thing, giving it a different appearance.
8 Alita: Battle Angel
Alita: Battle Angel is set in the fictional Iron City, a futuristic metropolis created under the influence of the cyberpunk subgenre. It follows Alita, an abandoned cyborg who attempts to discover her true purpose.
Although many criticized Alita: Battle Angel's narrative for being bleak, it is hard to deny how remarkable its world-design was. The Iron City is crawling with cyborgs and mechanically enhanced beings that breathe life into the green-screened environment. Its ability to construct an immersive world is hard to overstate.
7 The Martian
Mark Watney is thrust into a survival situation that he is unprepared for after being left behind on Mars. Though his lack of preparation would suggest that his chances of survival are slim, his knowledge of botany allows him to construct his very own ecosystem on the desolate planet he is trapped on.
The Martian depicts Mars as a barren environment on which little can survive. The viewer will quickly find themselves experiencing the same feeling of isolation that Mark feels. The Martian's main themes are bolstered by the use of the "less is more" concept.
Alien explores the mysterious Nostromo, a towing starship on which Ripley and her crew have woken from cryosleep, that encounters more difficulties than they anticipated. The crew members do not wish to investigate it because their company policy dictates that they do so.
A little bit of Alien's world is shown, but many elements help in extending the universe it is set in. The technology presented throughout the film conveys the intended futurism, while the frightening emptiness of space is used to reinforce a sense of claustrophobia.
5 Guardians Of The Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy is a collection of Marvel Cinematic Universe films that may be categorized as sci-fi, but none is more deserving of the title. The film follows Peter Quill and his unlikely companions as they join forces to keep Ronan the Accuser from wreaking havoc on Earth.
The Guardians travel to a variety of unique planets home to a stunning assortment of animals on their journey, allowing the viewer to immerse themselves seamlessly into the narrative without feeling alienated.
Jake Sully is immediately drawn into the Na'vi, a highly evolved alien group that has little tolerance for humans invading their world.
Jake is permitted to see everything Pandora has to offer from the perspective of an alien body. The creatures seen wandering the planet's vast forests demonstrate how different it is. Avataris is regarded as a masterpiece due to its incredible story and world design, but the world-building is the most impressive part.
3 Star Wars: A New Hope
Star Wars: A New Hope is a charming tale about a young farm boy seeking adventure in a fictional galaxy in an ancient past. Soon, Luke Skywalker finds himself caught up in a galactic conflict in which he must risk everything to protect the universe.
The original Star Wars stands out because of its simple premise, but the setting. Throughout the series, Luke travels to an array of otherworldly locations sprawling with aliens. This may sound strange at first, but George Lucas managed to humanize each character and location, making Star Wars far more down-to-earth than most sci-fi films released at the time.
What is considered to be one of the most heartfelt stories in sci-fi history is set largely on a ship on which the remains of humanity wait for their home planet to reclaim its once-hospitable state, but this does not deteriorate its impressive world-building.
Wall-E, the little trash compactor, is a surprising exception. They are all victims of circumstances that have forced them to continue drifting in vast spaces until permitted otherwise.
Interstellar is set in a world where life is on the verge of disintegration. Crops are dying, and the planet's atmosphere is slowly becoming unhabitable, so the National Academy of Sciences proposes to relocate the human population to a more hospitable planet.
Due to the depths in which it dives into, the Interstellar world is a terrifying one full of disturbing scenery and otherworldly events, but both aspects work together to strengthen the story. Joseph Cooper's adventures in space demonstrate how difficult the universe can be when approached unprepared.