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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'A.I. Artificial Intelligence' (2001)
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HALEY JOEL OSMENT Everett Collection26/40

26. 'A.I. Artificial Intelligence' (2001)

Steven Spielberg was already toggling between his "serious movie" phase and his crowd-pleaser mode at the start of the 21st century – and this tricky futuristic, hard sci-fi fable, which openly undercuts the optimism of E.T. and Close Encounters, attempts to balance both sides. Based on a Brian Aldiss short story that was one of the late Stanley Kubrick’s abandoned projects, A.I. tells the story of an ultra-realistic robot boy (played by Haley Joel Osment) who's abandoned by his human masters and left to search the world to learn his purpose. At once dazzling and despairing, the film is a sprawling odyssey that asks what makes us human – and doesn't offer many reassuring answers. NM

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