The Top 40 Sci-Fi Movies of the 21st Century

From space-invader thrillers to interstellar-overdrive headscratchers, we're counting down the best science fiction films since the turn of the century

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'2046' (2004)
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Everett Collection32/40

32. '2046' (2004)

In this sequel to the rapturously romantic In the Mood for Love, Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai goes back to the future, examining the emotional fallout of journalist Chow Mo Wan (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), who's exorcising his unrequited love, in part, by writing a sci-fi novel. 2046 ambitiously shifts between timelines and genres, going from the 1960s to the fictional world of Chow's book, which is set in a sleek, dystopian mid-21st-century landscape where the characters’ ennui mirrors that of their heartbroken author. Although not commonly found on lists like this, the movie reflects what's best about science fiction: recalibrating how we see the world thanks to its groundbreaking vision of the fluidity of the past and the present – and the fragility of our hold on reality. TG

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