The Nerd's Watch: The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Streaming in February

Love is in the air, and so is space, murder, and...Muppets?
Love is in the air, and so is space, murder, and...Muppets?
Image: Netflix, Lionsgate, and Disney

Viewers are turning to streaming entertainment more than ever thanks to the global pandemic, and the plethora of services can serve as a much-needed escape. At the start of each month, most streamers do a little shuffle, adding new movies and taking some away—and io9 is here to help with your decision making.

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Welcome to The Nerd’s Watch, our monthly column where we curate the most interesting sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies (and shows) coming to the biggest streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+, and HBO Max all have new content for February, so let’s get to it.

Zathura is well worth a revisit.
Zathura is well worth a revisit.
Photo: Sony

Netflix

Available February 1

Inception - Christopher Nolan’s best film (in our opinion) jumps between streaming services from time to time, but is back on Netflix and beyond worth a rewatch.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation - No, it’s not a sci-fi, but so many insane things happen in this holiday classic, I’m gonna call it a fantasy. The sledding scene alone, you know? This movie rules at any time of the year.

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Shutter Island - One of Martin Scorsese’s more underrated films is this thrilling, chilling supernatural film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Michelle Williams. A great movie that should get more love.

Zathura - Like Inception, this Jon Favreau genre film pops on and off streaming and the last time it was on Netflix, we rewatched it. It’s fascinating for a ton of reasons.

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Available February 2

Kid Cosmic This new animated series from the creator of The Powerpuff Girls sounds a little like kiddie Green Lantern.

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Available February 5

Invisible City - This Brazilian show is a Netflix original, following a man drawn into a supernatural war between our world and a realm of mythical creatures.

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Space Sweepers Another international Netflix original, this dazzling-looking Korean sci-fi adventure follows a crew of salvagers who come across a surprising, shocking revelation in one of their hauls. Check out the awesome trailer here.

Available February 21

The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 - James Wan’s first two films in the constantly growing franchise set up villains for spinoffs (Annabelle, The Nun) while telling a chilling, exciting story of a husband and wife team who battle the supernatural. A third film is on the way too. It’s a perfect time to catch up. (We visited the set of Conjuring 2 back in 2016, read about it below!)

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ACK! ACK! ACK!
ACK! ACK! ACK!
Photo: Warner Bros.
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Hulu

Available February 1

Mars Attacks! - The movie Tim Burton was born to direct dramatizes what would happen if, well, Mars attacked. The cast is incredible, the tone is a tight-wire between comedy and horror, and the result is a cult classic if we’ve ever seen one.

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The Omen and Damien - Omen II - When someone talks about formative horror films of the 1970s, The Omen has to be near the top of the list. The story of a child who may be the antichrist spawned sequels too, the first of which is joining the superior original on Hulu this month.

Possessor - One of 2020's best films tells the story of a woman who possesses people and makes them commit murder. It’s unsettling and excellent. Read more about it below.

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek: Insurrection - The lion’s share of the original-crew Trek films come to streaming with only a few minor holes missing. Plus, Insurrection is there!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Notable for being the movie that made Ryan Reynolds Deadpool. Kinda. Sorta. That’s about it.

Available February 5

Antebellum - One of 2020's worst movies, in our opinion, is on this list because maybe you missed it and just want to see how bad it is for yourself.

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Available February 12

2067 - Not the best movie of 2020, but not the worst, follows a man who is drawn into deep space when a message from the future beckons him there. You can read our review here.

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You’re Next - Excited for Godzilla vs. Kong? Well, you’re in luck February 12. That film’s director, Adam Wingard, made his best movie so far with this stylish, gory 2013 thriller about a terrifying home invasion. If you haven’t seen it, seek it out.

Available February 15

The Shape of Water - Guillermo del Toro’s woman and fish love story won Best Picture for a reason. It’s an incredible movie. And if you haven’t seen it in a few years, it’s time to fall for it again. Unfortunately not quite in time for Valentine’s Day!

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Available February 18

Sonic the Hedgehog - Few movies have divided io9 like one of 2020's most popular films. This adaptation of the popular game was beloved by some, despised by others, and now you can join in the argument as the hit comes to streaming. (Also on Amazon)

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Available February 23

Dredd - It’s a sin that this excellent, kinetic 2012 adaptation of the violent comic series didn’t get a sequel because this movie is just so exciting, raw and fun. Forgot how much? Watch it again.

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You can can watch Moulin Rouge streaming soon.
You can can watch Moulin Rouge streaming soon.
Photo: Fox

Amazon

Available February 1

Antz - Remember in 1998 when there were two ant movies coming out right around the same time? Well, if you don’t, this was the Dreamworks film with Woody Allen doing the lead voice. Which, at the time, seemed like a more complete movie. Now, in retrospect, A Bug’s Life probably squeaks by it.

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Down To Earth - Chris Rock stars in this often-forgotten 2001 film, where he plays a Black comedian who comes back to life in the body of a rich white man. I thought it was super funny when it was released but haven’t thought of it since. Maybe rewatching will be a pleasant surprise?

Moulin Rouge - Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman sing their pop-music hearts out in this unforgettable movie musical that blends basically every genre imaginable.

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The Prestige - Maybe earlier in this article you took exception to me saying Inception is Christopher Nolan’s best movie. Maybe you think it’s this thriller about dueling magicians starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. They’re both great, that’s for sure.

The Village - If you’re wondering why The Village is on this list, then you’ve seen The Village before. It’s an M. Night Shyamalan film so you know it has a big twist ending—but on the surface, it’s about an 18th century community haunted by a monster.

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Available February 5

Bliss - This Amazon original film stars Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek in a story about living in a simulation. Sort of like The Matrix. But more realistic looking. Also, they have telekinetic powers. It looks very cool.

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Watch out for a superhero squirrel in Flora & Ulysses.
Watch out for a superhero squirrel in Flora & Ulysses.
Photo: Disney+
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Disney+

Available February 19

The Book of Life - Before Coco took animation to the Day of the Dead, this 2014 film by Jorge R. Gutierrez (and produced by Guillermo del Toro) told its own, bright, beautiful, music-filled adventure. The voice cast includes Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, and Ron Perlman.

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The Muppet Show Seasons 1-5 - “It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to meet the Muppets on The Muppet Show...(on Disney+) tonight.” The classic original series is coming to D+ and fans are very excited.

Flora & Ulysses - A young girl meets a superhero squirrel in this delightful looking Disney+ original that is, alas, somehow not Marvel’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Alyson Hannigan, Ben Schwartz, Danny Pudi, and Janeane Garofolo have supporting roles.

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Man of Steel comes to HBO Max.
Man of Steel comes to HBO Max.
Image: Warner Bros.

HBO Max

Available February 1

The Amityville Horror - Both the 1979 original and 2005 remake of this classic “true” horror story about a family haunted by ghosts in their quaint Long Island home are arriving on HBO Max.

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Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and Austin Powers in Goldmember - Now you don’t have to “behave” if you want to watch Mike Myers’ spy spoof trilogy in the comfort of your own home.

Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin - The Batman Quadrilogy many of us grew up on is coming to HBO Max. The perfect way to kill some time as we wait for the next iteration to make it to theaters next year (hopefully!).

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Batman: The Brave and the Bold - But there’s more Batman too. This excellent animated series that embraces the sillier side of Bats is also on the way.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut - The sequel will be available later in the month, so you have plenty of time to catch up on Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi film starring Harrison Ford and Sean Young.

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Ghoulies and Ghoulies II - If you grew up in the 1980s, you either saw the Ghoulies movies or at least heard about them. The title was just so great. “Ghoulies!” And the cheeky creature features were pretty fun too.

Jacob’s Ladder - The Tim Robbins original, not the 2019 remake that you maybe didn’t even realize was a thing.

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday - Spoiler alert...it wasn’t the final Friday.

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Justice League and Justice League Unlimited - Not the Snyder Cut of the live action film just yet, but something...yeah, something much better: the beloved Bruce Timm animated series and its follow up is finally heading to streaming.

The Last Exorcism - The past decade has brought a ton of semi-interchangeable exorcism movies but one of the best is The Last Exorcism, which is told with found footage and even got a sequel.

Life Of Pi - Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning literary adaption follows a man who must survive at sea during a shipwreck. With a tiger. It’s a beautiful story blending fantasy and reality.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - Frank Miller’s popular post-apocalyptic world really kicked into high gear with this first of several sequels.

Man of Steel - HBO Max’s DC collection continues to beef up, just like Henry Cavill beefed up to play the latest cinematic Superman. Zack Snyder’s film is the beginning of the story that’ll end in his Justice League later this year and, for our money, the best of the bunch in his DC oeuvre.

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The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions - A fourth Matrix movie is likely to find its way to Max by the end of 2021, so it only makes sense for the rest of the series to make its way there.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D - This 2009 remake didn’t quite hit the cultural zeitgeist like it wanted to but it’s a suitably entertaining slasher film nevertheless.

The Neverending Story II The Next Chapter - Just in case you forgot there was a sequel to The Neverending Story, now you can jog your memory.

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Outbreak - A virus runs rampant across the world threatening to shut down economies and kills millions? What a wild, crazy idea for a movie!

Saw, Saw II, See III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, Saw: The Final Chapter - It’s finally happening. February 1 on HBO Max you can finally watch the Saw films they way maybe they weren’t meant to be seen, but how they work best: binged like a long season of TV. Read my reasoning below but this, arguably, is the most exciting streaming news of the month.

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The Shadow - Before he was the former President on SNL or an executive on 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin was a masked superhero in this underwhelming, but worth watching, adaptation.

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The Goonies - One of the most popular cult films of the 1980s is this Richard Donner, Steven Spielberg, Chris Columbus collab about a group of kids who go on a treasure hunt to save their hometown.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory - We guess they’re gearing up for the prequel.

Available February 5

Aquaman - My man! James Wan’s billion dollar DC adaptation is arguably the most visually sumptuous in the whole DC franchise, and maybe the best pure adventure too. I love this movie.

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Earwig and the Witch - If you subscribe to HBO Max one of the best things about it is that all of the Studio Ghibli movies are on there. That also includes this brand new Ghibli film, the company’s first in CG.

The Book Of Eli - A blind man played by Denzel Washington traverses a desolate wasteland in this underrated, action packed comic adaptation.

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Available February 26

Blade Runner 2049 - The sequel fans never thought would happen, did, a few years ago. And while it wasn’t the runaway hit the filmmakers probably would have liked, we have a feeling history will be kind to this Denis Villeneuve sci-fi epic.

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Tom & Jerry - Originally slated for theaters, this live-action animation hybrid starring Chloë Grace Moretz looks like it could be a lot of fun. Or, you know, not.

Available February 27

Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey - *air guitar*

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

DISCUSSION

Wasn’t Man of Steel already available on HBO Max? Pretty sure I rewatched it there just a week or two ago.