We discuss 10 Movies like Avatar you must watch. Add these thrilling and well-recommended films to your watch list.
Avatar is now the king of the box office. After retaking the #1 spot at the all-time worldwide box office chart, it released its highly-anticipated sequel to unprecedented success, becoming the #3 film in that chart. If you’ve enjoyed both of these films, we’ve compiled a list of 10 others that you might be interested in checking out that are similar.
10 Movies like Avatar you must watch
The Abyss (1989)
James Cameron’s only entry in this list, The Abyss, follows a diving team looking for a lost nuclear submarine and finding an alien water-like species in the process. It features revolutionary technology by ILM used to recreate the aquatic alien, which was the first step to bringing the T-1000 into Terminator 2 and ultimately leading to Jurassic Park. The cast is led by Ed Harris, Michael Biehn, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Dances With Wolves (1990)
This and the next entry on the list are often cited as one of the main inspirations for 2009’s Avatar. It is as removed from the science-fiction genre as a movie can be, but it contains the key themes of found family and building bridges between two very different cultures. Kevin Costner directs and stars as Lieutenant John Dunbar, a member of the Union Army during the American Civil War, who, after being relocated to a deserted position on the Western field, starts a close relationship with the Native American population that lives nearby.
On the topic of similar movies to Avatar and staying with stories that were a big inspiration for the movie, to the point that Cameron’s film is often crossed off as a rip-off, we arrive at Pocahontas. The movie was part of Disney’s animation renaissance in the 1990s and follows the unlikely love story between a Native American young girl named Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. This adventurer arrived in America looking for a new place to live back when the continent was in the early exploratory stages by the Europeans.
The first of a planned prequel trilogy to the original Alien movie, that was eventually capped off with 2017’s Alien: Covenant, the second film in the arc, Prometheus introduces an entirely new cast of characters led by Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender. Searching for the origins of the human race, they land on a distant moon and soon start to realize they may not be alone. Prometheus is epic in its ambition, but it’s also highly polarizing, as it tackles many grand questions that many viewers were not ready to address. Many others thought it was very heavy-handed. But the Avatar themes of exploring distant planets to try to look for a reason to exist are there.
Tom Cruise and Joseph Kosinski teamed up once before they made Top Gun: Maverick and the product was this 2013 film that failed to crack $300 million at the worldwide box office, operating on a $120 million budget. By now, it’s barely broken even for the studio. The story centers around a post-apocalyptic Earth and Cruise’s Jack, who starts to untangle the story the entire human race has been told for a long time about what happened in the war against aliens that destroyed the planet. The stellar cast includes Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
The theme of human life coming to an end on Planet Earth and the search for a new home for the species after climate disasters is the core of Christopher Nolan’s epic science-fiction film. Matthew McConaughey stars as Cooper, an astronaut who is sent on an exploratory mission along with a crew that includes Anne Hathaway’s Brand. Interstellar is a father-daughter story that has been widely praised for its scientific accuracy, particularly how it brought Einstein’s General Relativity to the mainstream audience.
This is a personal favorite in this list. While it’s not one of the most similar movies to Avatar in terms of themes and ideas, it does also play around with high-concept science-fiction ideas in a way similar to what Interstellar tried to accomplish. This time, though, instead of humans doing space exploration, the aliens visit us and try to establish contact with the human race, which triggers many alarms. This is no Independence Day, though, and it’s a much more quiet and less action-packed film than Avatar.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
Much like Avatar, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is pure fantasy/sci-fi. The story (adapted from the French comic of the same name) follows special agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) rushing to identify and eliminate a threat that is compromising the city of Alpha, one of the largest metropolises in the galaxy that houses people from a thousand different planets. It’s pure CGI extravaganza for the most part, and though the emotional side that Avatar was able to pull off is not quite there, it might serve as fun entertainment for a Sunday night for those looking for something along these lines.
The Shape of Water (2017)
Here’s an unlikely candidate for a movie similar to Avatar. But Guillermo del Toro’s Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, is very much about the first contact between a human and an alien and falling in love in the process. To a degree, that is also the story of Avatar. However, James Cameron addresses it with a higher normality than del Toro does by introducing the idea of Jake Sully inhabiting the skin of a Na’vi. The Shape of Water doesn’t go that way, and instead, it uses the difference in looks and species to make heavy commentary on love and how universal it is. Sally Hawkins shines as the lead.
Dune: Part One (2021)
Another ecological warning for the human race, Dune, is one of the heaviest criticisms of exploiting the natural resources of a planet that’s ever been achieved in book form and on the big screen. After a rocky adaptation in the 1980s by David Lynch, Denis Villeneuve finally gave Frank Herbert’s novel its due with this 2021 film that follows the first half of the book and features some of the biggest ensemble of A-listers in recent Hollywood memory. Interestingly enough, Timothée Chalamet is both in Dune and Interstellar. Dune: Part Two is coming out in November of 2023.
Do you have any other recommendations for Movies like Avatar? Let us know!
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