Is This Sci Fi? I Need Help from Sci Fi Aficionados (2015 Movie Overview)

Oil on canvas. By Ellie Maloney
Oil on canvas, by Ellie Maloney

Greetings, my brothers and sisters in Nerd! I need your help! I am on a quest to identify best Sci Fi movies of 2015 and award them a Mighty Important (Ha!) Award – Jalapeño Fiction 2016. If you followed this link to the page on my blog that describes the Award, you will know my predicament. Weeding out various zombie-monster-thriller flicks from the True Sci Fi is only easy at the first glance. When It comes down to it, before even nominating movies at all, I am up for a challenge. Is ‘Terminator’, ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Jupiter Ascending’ and other good escape-from-the-reality-movies-where-I-don’t-need-to-make-money-and-do-the-dishes are really Sci Fi, or merely other genres in disguise?

List of Sci Fi Movies of 2015 that are up for the Jalapeño Fiction 2016 award:

Sci Fi Genre Candidates:

The list below is comprised from the movies that were released in 2015 and are featured on the as ‘Sci Fi’. I looked at the list, and sure enough, ton of the stuff has to be disqualified right from the start. These movies below made the preliminary cut. Let’s say, they passed the qualifier round and will be reviewed and thoroughly rated. However, let me know if I missed anything. 

  • The Martian
  • Tomorrowland
  • 400 Days
  • Chappie (N.B. I laughed because the spellcheck attempted to correct it to Crappie. Well played, spellcheck!)
  • Air
  • Time Lapse
  • Ex Machina
  • Vice
  • Infini
  • Parallels
  • Another World
  • Uncanny
  • Area 51
  • Containment
  • Hard to Be Good
  • Robot Overlords
  • Martian Land
  • Beyond Skyline
  • Battle for Skylark
  • Alien Outpost
  • Space Pirate Captain Harlock
  • Predator
  • Eva
  • Flight World War II
  • Listening
  • Debug
  • Toxin
  • Alternate Realities
  • Anomaly
  • Aurora

On the Fence: 

This is the list of movies that I am uncertain about. The reason I cannot  decide whether these movies qualify for the Sci Fi category is:

1) I have seen them, but I am not sure if the science premise is strong enough – in other words, I need to think about it or I would like to hear a second opinion;

2) I have not seen the movie and I haven’t read a good enough review to give me solid opinion;

3) The themes in the movie are definitely consistent with the Sci Fi genre (e.g., aliens, AI – robots etc.), but  I am not sure there is much more to the movie in terms  of science (e.g. ‘Wall E‘, the robot, is not a Sci Fi movie).

So here goes the list:

  • Terminator Genisys
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • The Labyrinth
  • Harbinger Down
  • Equals
  • Jurassic World
  • Jurassic City
  • The Divergent Series: Insurgent
  • Lost in the Pacific
  • Attack on Titan: Part 2
  • The Prototype
  • Replicas
  • The Big Everything
  • The Veil
  • After Death
  • Sand
  • Helix
  • Another Time
  • Astral

What was excluded: 

These 2015 movies I excluded because they obviously belong in the Fantasy pile (super hero, zombie, blood-sucking Desmodus Rotundus, or common vampire bat (I did not make that up!) any other super-powerful animal or creature, paranormal, haunted and possessed entities, and other probably good stuff, but, let’s be real, we don’t believe in ghosts, and we cannot dissect and approach them with scientific methodology, thus – I Proclaim: Evil, Depart From Thou! [Nefarious Laughter])

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • OzLand
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • San Andreas
  • Ant-Man
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Absolutely Anything
  • Z for Zachary
  • The Diabolical
  • The Anomaly
  • Monsters: Dark Continent
  • Narcopolis
  • Painkillers
  • Avengers: Grimm
  • The Cannibal in the Jungle
  • Men and Chicken
  • Into the Forest
  • June
  • Star Leaf
  • M.M.P.R.
  • Death Squad


What do you think? Any suggestions/ amendments to the list?


  1. I liked Ex Machina, though it got kind of messy plot wise in the last quarter. I still consider Mad Max Sci-fi. I could agree to Sci-Fi/Fanatsy, as in the European tradition of having a lot of fantasy in their sci-fi (at least in graphic novels.) I am having a hard time thinking on another outstanding sci-fi film for 2015. Didn’t see The Martian.
    Because of streaming these days, there are hundreds of pretty bad films being made widely available. That sort of changes the scene. Until recently a true fan would have had to hunt them down. Now Netflix has 100 I bet. I did see The Signal in 2015 even though it was a 2014 film. It was intriguing but fell apart in the third act. But still, big ideas and interesting plot. Felt very ‘YA’ novel by the end.

  2. Well I’ll give Mad Max a try! I’ll watch it sometime soon then. What I saw (the first one) was too acquired taste, or maybe I was sleepy, or both.

    Ex Machina is a quirky movie. I loved loved loved the dance scene! And the death scene at the end, a bit too melodramatic, but memorable. And the filming was great. Also, reasonably good attempt at bringing science in. (That part where Caleb and his mad boss discuss the approach to AI learning, data population etc.) I had to watch it the second time to really figure out what it is happened at the end. But I thought it had some of the best (or very admirable) acting for our beloved genre. I’d prefer the 2 AI girls to leave together at the end :).

    How about Terminator? Previously I posted about the Sci Fi genre boundaries and based on what I’ve read, I proposed to include majority AI-Cyborg-Robot movies into the Sci Fi genre. Evidently I did not think hard enough, because Terminator really does not indulge us with much science, just some philosophy of a robot-human dilemma. Or am I overthinking the whole thing? Casually I’d say that yes, Terminator and a bunch of borderline ones are Sci Fi. But see, I am trying to develop some methodology here.

    Looks like Mat Damon got the Globe yesterday for the best actor in the Martian. Not sure if I’d go all that far, but yes, it was a well made movie, and if anything, it leaves no doubt about belonging to the Sci Fi genre. Ton of good solid science, and even more of it in the book (God, maybe even too much).

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by and chatting.

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