Ask any science-fiction movie fanatic what their go-to films are, and you'll get a lot of great answers back: Metropolis, Blade Runner, 2001, The Day the Earth Stood Still, the original Godzilla, The Thing etc. But let's face it — those answers are so last century. Great sci-fi movies didn't decide to party like it's 1999 then call it a day; a host of thrilling, intelligent, offbeat, funny and frightening SF films have hit art houses and multiplexes since Y2K.
So in honor of the next-gen Godzilla film hitting theaters (yes, we are counting Giant-Monster Movies as a subset of both horror and science-fiction movies; the comments section is below), we've concocted a list of the 20 Best Sci-Fi Films of the 21st Century — a quick and dirty survey of the best the genre has had to offer since the millennium's beginning. A few noteworthy favorites of ours just barely missed the cut (very sorry, Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 and Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer) or some major titles were dinged on quality-control issues (Avatar may have been a gamechanging film for 3D, but "unobtainium"? Really?!?). We're confident, however, that there's a place in the canon for these relative latecomers.