David Walks through a robot factory in AI Artificial Intelligence.
Warner Bros.

Dune: Part Two is set to dominate theaters this weekend as hordes of moviegoers (who’ve endured the worst two months of movies in recent memory) eagerly return to the dusty world of Arrakis to catch up with Paul, Chani, Lady J(essica), and the rest of the gang. And who can blame them? The movie is already critically acclaimed and will surely be the blockbuster to watch in coming weeks.

Denis Villeneuve’s big-budget sequel isn’t the only sci-fi game in town, though. Streamers like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have tons of sci-fi movies, but you have to pay for a subscription to access them. Do you want to watch great sci-fi movies that are just as good as Dune: Part Two for free? Digital Trends has compiled a list of three exceptional sci-fi films that are currently streaming on Tubi and YouTube. So sit back, tune in, and prepare to have your mind expanded beyond all comprehension.

Logan’s Run (1976)

A man and a woman stand in a control room in Logan's Run.

It’s not wrong to say that Logan’s Run, a 1976 movie set in a dystopian future, hasn’t aged that well. Its gender politics are dubious (Jenny Agutter’s Jessica is too much of a pushover), the sets look cheap, and most of the acting is dialed way too high. Yet there’s aa earnest corniness to the movie that’s also oddly charming; it’s a cheesy sci-fi movie that reminds you how much fun the genre can be.

Michael York stars as Logan, a glorified policeman (here called a “Sandman”) who enforces a strict law: once you reach the age of 30, you have to sacrifice yourself to Carousel, an elaborate ritual where mass suicide takes place. Your other options are just as grim: be hunted and killed in the giant enclosed city Logan’s Run is set in or become a Runner and seek refuge outside of civilization. Through a series of events, Logan is forced to become a Runner and find sanctuary outside of the domed city. What he finds there could lead to the end of the world … or the beginning of a new one.

Logan’s Run is streaming on Tubi.

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

A spaceship flies in outer <a href='https://www.livelightstainedglass.com' target='_blank'>space</a> in 2010.”><figcaption id=MGM

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is rightly considered a classic movie, but few thought 2010: The Year We Make Contact could be in the same class when it was released in 1984. How could it? Yet, in recent years, some critics have reassessed 2010 in a more favorable light. When not compared to its famous predecessor, 2010 is a fascinating sci-fi movie of its own, one that tackles deep philosophical questions and pairs it with dazzling visuals. (The special effects still hold up.)

Nine years after the events of 2001, a new team of scientists, including HAL 9000’s creator, Dr. Chandra, travel to Jupiter to discover what happened to Dave (the main protagonist of 2001) and to reactivate HAL before a competing team of Russian cosmonauts can. Once there, they discover the reason why the mysterious monolith keeps appearing throughout humanity’s existence, and how it will change mankind forever.

2010 is streaming on Tubi.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

A boy looks at his clones in AI Artificial Intelligence.
Warner Bros.

Speaking of Kubrick and 2001, the great filmmaker died in 1999, just before the release of Eyes Wide Shut, and was unable to pursue one of his passion projects, A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Steven Spielberg decided to do it, and he released the movie in the year where Kubrick’s most famous movie takes place, 2001. The future-set movie tells the story of David, a humanoid robot who is placed with a family who is grieving over their ill human child, Martin. Soon, David bonds with the family, but when Martin gets better and returns to the family, David is tossed aside and set to be deactivated. Evading certain destruction, David sets out on an epic quest to return to his adopted human family at any cost.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence is a fascinating combination of both directors’ styles and sensibilities. There’s Kubrick’s trademark aloofness in the material and some of the visuals (the future cityscapes have a coldness to them that resemble the sets in 2001), but there’s also Spielberg’s signature sentimentally in David teaming up with other discarded robots to find his way home. This is a Pinocchio story set in the near future, and there’s even a Blue Fairy voiced by Meryl Streep! The ending is unexpectedly bold, and your heart might break a little after the credits roll.

Watch A.I. Artificial Intelligence on YouTube.

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