5 Space Movies That Keep Things Surprisingly Down To Earth

5 Space Movies That Keep Things Surprisingly Down To Earth
Image credit: 20th Century Studios, Warner Bros.

These five prove that you don't have to take your story to distant galaxies to make space look breathtaking on the big screen.

People have always been fascinated by space and its mysteries, so when the movies came along, space-based sci-fi films quickly gained a massive popularity that has managed to persist over the years, with each movie putting its own spin on the seemingly well-worn theme.

Still, many of them fall more into the "fiction" category, showcasing distant worlds inhabited by all sorts of alien creatures, and while a lot of them prove entertaining in their own way, sometimes you want to see something a little more down to earth.

So let's take a look at five grounded (but not necessarily 100% realistic) space movies that offer a different approach to the void of space on the big screen.

First Man (2018)

Directed by Damien Chazelle, this biopic revolves around Neil Armstrong, masterfully portrayed by Ryan Gosling, and his journey to become a member of Apollo 11 and the first man to walk on the surface of the moon.

However, the film doesn't just focus on the space mission, as it also devotes a lot of screen time to Armstrong's personality, his relationship with his first wife Janet, played by Claire Foy, and the many struggles he had to go through before taking that "one small step."

Ad Astra (2019)

This film, starring Brad Pitt, is similar to the previous entry on our list in that while it is pure fiction, it also focuses heavily on the emotional struggles of its main character.

Set in the 22nd century, it follows Roy Richard McBride, an astronaut sent on a mission to find the cause of strange power surges that threaten the Earth and may be connected to a project his father was in charge of.

Gravity (2013)

Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, Alfonso Cuaron's sci-fi thriller perfectly illustrates how dangerous the cold void of space can be, even if you never leave Earth's orbit.

Assigned to service the Hubble Space Telescope, Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Matthew Kowalski (Clooney) find themselves fighting for their lives when space debris hits the telescope and their shuttle, leaving both stranded so close and yet so far from home.

The Martian (2015)

Based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir, The Martian is definitely the most upbeat entry on our list, as the undying optimism of Matt Damon's character gives the movie a unique flavor that leaves you with a warm feeling after the credits roll.

When an unexpected dust storm causes the Ares III Mars mission to be prematurely evacuated, Dr. Mark Watney is left stranded on the surface of the red planet with his bio-monitor damaged by debris, leading others to believe he is dead.

However, Mark manages to survive and uses his intellect combined with the remaining supplies to contact Earth and stay alive until help arrives, which proves to be not the easiest of tasks.

Moon (2009)

Set in 2035, the story follows Sam Bell, portrayed by Sam Rockwell, a contract worker living in a facility on the other side of the moon with only a single robot to keep him company, as contact with Earth is very limited due to communication problems.

But the constant isolation begins to take its toll on Sam near the end of his three-year shift, causing him to question his own sanity and become increasingly paranoid, suspecting some sort of conspiracy.