20 Movies Like Avatar That Are Visually Stunning

Movies like Avatar

Movies like Avatar keep you glued to your seat. So when “Avatar” initially appeared in theaters in 2009, it immediately became a great blockbuster.

Sam Worthington, Stephen Lang, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver contributed their acting skills to the movie, which launched a new series that director James Cameron intends to grow with several sequels.

Critics praised the epic sci-fi picture for its ground-breaking special effects and magnificent alien environment.

It immediately smashed box office records and became one of the highest-grossing films.

Let’s take a look at the top 20 fantastic movies that are similar to avatar.

1. Inception (2010)

  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Elliot Page
  • IMDb rating: 8.8/10
  • Running time: 2h 28m

Since “Inception” exhibits genre-bending qualities similar to movies like Avatar, describing it might be challenging. In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a professional thief.

The latter infiltrates his victims’ subconscious to steal information and trade secrets while sleeping.

However, he accepts the position since it will allow him to see his kids again after being paid to try to ingrain a notion into someone else’s head.

Inception is a movie that makes spectators ponder. Yet, at the same time, they take in amazing images, much like much of Nolan’s work.

From a strictly cinematic perspective, there is plenty to praise. Yet, the movie continues to explore difficult issues in a manner reminiscent of “Avatar.”

In James Cameron’s film, when the main character interacts with the Na’vi, it poses profound concerns regarding their existence and what it entails to be a person.

2. Star Wars (1977)

  • Director: George Lucas
  • Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Mayhew
  • IMDb rating: 8.6/10
  • Running time: 2h 01m

Like movies like Avatar, the “Star Wars” universe has expanded to include everything from hit movies and comic books to video games and toys.

However, “Star Wars: A New Hope’s” 1977 premiere was the catalyst for all that followed.

Following the actions of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), they support the Rebel Alliance in their battle against the evil Empire and Darth Vader.

The series’ first installment received high reviews and won seven Academy Awards, including best art direction and costume design.

Using visual effects and models to create breathtaking new planets was ground-breaking.

The film catalyzed one of the most lucrative sci-fi series ever to grace the big screen. It transports viewers to distant worlds, like “Avatar.”

It gives them a realistic opportunity to encounter various surroundings and species that thoroughly immerse them in a galaxy far away.

Catchy musical compositions accompany the on-screen action in both movies.

3. The Shape of Water (2017)

  • Director: Guillermo del Toro
  • Cast: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon
  • IMDb rating: 7.3/10
  • Running time: 2h 03m

The Shape of Water is a romantic fantasy movie that was released in 2017 to a lot of critical acclaim.

The film was co-written and co-directed by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones played the two main characters.

The plot centers on a female janitor who develops feelings for a weird amphibian species that the US government is keeping hostage in a top-secret research facility.

The relationship between a human and a non-alien from another world is explored in “The Shape of Water,” similarly to how movies like Avatar explored the relationship between humans and the Na’vi.

The two romances that grow and their difficulties face glaring similarities, especially since the relationships are taboo. But in the end, each observes that love triumphs meaningfully.

4. Prometheus (2012)

  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Logan Marshall-Green
  • IMDb rating: 7.0/10
  • Running time: 2h 04m

Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror movie “Prometheus” stars Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender, and Idris Elba.

Even though its plot does not always closely correspond to the events of the following films, the movie is essentially a precursor to the “Alien” series.

The story follows the crew of the Prometheus as they investigate a star chart that several disconnected ancient civilizations previously had.

They want to learn the truth about humanity’s origins and the enigmatic Engineers’ identity.

“Prometheus” transports viewers to a new area in space, far from Earth, similar to how “Avatar” transports viewers to the Pandoran rainforests.

These extraterrestrial realms are convincing and awe-inspiring because of the great special effects and set pieces.

Naturally, compared to the relatively vibrant aesthetics of movies like Avatar, Prometheus is darker and more menacing in the spirit of the “Alien” genre.

5. Jurassic Park (1993)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, BD Wong, Ariana Richards
  • IMDb rating: 8.2/10
  • Running time: 2h 07m

“Jurassic Park” is a science fiction action film released in 1993. Steven Spielberg directed the film, starring the likes of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough.

The story is largely set on the island of Isla Nublar, where John Hammond has constructed a dinosaur theme park using futuristic DNA extraction technology, and is based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name.

But, of course, when a team of specialists arrives to verify the island’s safety, things immediately go awry, resulting in dinosaurs fleeing their confines.

The dinosaurs were supposed to be brought to life in the movie via stop-motion animation.

However, things changed when the producers realized the possibility of CGI and other computer effects.

It was one of the first sets of movies to exploit the technology successfully, and the film presents realistic and horrifying dinosaurs in a way that wasn’t before conceivable.

It was a breakthrough picture, much like movies like Avatar, with the same feeling of adventure, thrills, and drama as the James Cameron blockbuster.

6. Dune (2021)

  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa
  • IMDb rating: 8.0/10
  • Running time: 2h 35m

Regarding adaptations, Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel “Dune” has had a difficult time. The original film underperformed at the box office.

The 2003 miniseries received critical accolades from outlets such as The New York Times but never gained a wide audience.

Denis Villeneuve directed the 2021 remake, which starred Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, and Josh Brolin.

The plot is set on the desert planet Arrakis. It follows House Atreides as they fight for control of a dangerous continent.

“Dune” and other movies like Avatar have several startling parallels. First, both take place in harsh worlds that may be lethal to humans, with violence erupting for possession of scarce resources such as spice melange and unobtainium.

In addition, the two films are both breathtaking in their own right, bringing the alien planets to life on screen on a scale guaranteed to wow anybody who sees them.

7. Interstellar (2014)

  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Mackenzie Foy
  • IMDb rating: 8.6/10
  • Running time: 2h 49m

Christopher Nolan’s next sci-fi epic is “Interstellar.” The film, which stars Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, follows a crew of astronauts on a journey to seek a new home for humanity.

It becomes necessary when the Earth’s natural resources are exhausted, with massive dust storms and famines occurring regularly.

The astronauts go through a wormhole near Saturn that was constructed in the past by mysterious aliens.

The idea of “Interstellar” is similar to that of movies like Avatar. Both films take place in the not-too-distant future, with humanity searching for resources or a new home in space as Earth becomes unsuitable.

The two films have a big and ambitious scope in common, with “Interstellar” being Nolan’s most daring endeavor. Numerous sequences in James Cameron’s “Avatar” will steal your breath away.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

  • Director: James Gunn
  • Cast: James Gunn, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn
  • IMDb rating: 8.0/10
  • Running time: 2h 02m

Check out Guardians of the Galaxy if you’re seeking an action-comedy picture set in the galaxy. This movie is a fantastic addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

If you like the MCU, you should not miss this. The plot revolves around interplanetary criminals banding together to foil an evil warrior’s attempt to destroy the universe.

The film’s heroes are not your conventional heroes. They are, nonetheless, entertaining to watch.

They make you chuckle with their one-liners! The plot, action, humor, and other components are all well-balanced in the picture.

It’s a lovely and interesting picture that’s a welcome addition to the Marvel film franchise. If you enjoy movies like Avatar, you should watch this movie.

9. Kong: Skull Island (2017)

  • Director: ordan Vogt-Roberts
  • Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell
  • IMDb rating: 6.6/10
  • Running time: 2h 00m

Since the initial appearance of the world’s most renowned enormous gorilla on film, audiences have witnessed several versions of “King Kong” films.

One of the most recent is the reboot “Kong: Skull Island,” the second film in the “MonsterVerse” trilogy.

As troops and scientists, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Brie Larson feature in the film.

They journey to Skull Island and face Kong and other terrifying beasts. “Kong: Skull Island” and “Avatar” are set in lush environments with exotic flora and fauna.

“Kong: Skull Island” takes place on a South Pacific island that could be mistaken for a paradise.

The picture, like “Avatar,” features huge action sequences that keep the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the voyage.

It also shows how people may collaborate with unknown aliens, with some parallels to the Na’vi in movies like Avatar.

10. Ready Player One (2018)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn, Win Morisaki
  • IMDb rating: 7.4/10
  • Running time: 2h 20m

Steven Spielberg produced and directed “Ready Player One” after Warner Bros. purchased the rights to Ernest Cline’s sci-fi novel.

It is set shortly after and depicts humanity utilizing a new technology known as OASIS.

The OASIS virtual reality simulation allows users to escape the horrors of reality.

When the software’s developer dies, a contest emerges in which the first person to perform three exceedingly tough tasks wins control over OASIS.

The heroes are up against a firm that wants to monetize the experience further through intrusive advertising.

The film stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance.

It uses technology similar to that of movies like Avatar. For example, to operate the hybrid avatars used to converse with the Na’vi.

That isn’t the only parallel, as “Ready Player One” depicts a bleak future for humanity.

Of course, there are amazing sights based on different topics but also on a large scale.

11. Arrival (2016)

  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Cast: Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Eric Heisserer
  • IMDb rating: 7.9/10
  • Running time: 1h 56m

“Arrival,” another sci-fi film directed by Denis Villeneuve, was released in 2016 and starred Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jeremy Renner, and Tzi Ma.

Much of the film focuses on linguist Louise Banks’ efforts to speak with aliens who have come to Earth while working with the United States Army.

With time running out before a potential clash between humankind and extraterrestrial visitors, they must act quickly to find a solution.

The plots of “Arrival” and movies like Avatar are similar in that both depict humans seeking to converse and negotiate with an alien civilization as the threat of war looms.

However, one of the most significant distinctions between the films is that “Arrival” takes place on Earth.

In contrast, James Cameron’s epic sci-fi picture takes place on the planet Pandora. Fans of one film, though, will almost certainly appreciate the other.

12. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

  • Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
  • IMDb rating: 8.4/10
  • Running time: 3h 02m

“Avengers: Endgame” marked the long-awaited conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The film, directed by the Russo brothers, stars almost every important character from the Marvel films presented in earlier chapters.

The heroes who survived Thanos’ cataclysmic snap-in “Avengers: Infinity War” band together to undo Thanos’ actions and bring back those who have vanished.

Apart from the fact that “Avengers: Endgame” takes place in space—at least sometimes—there may not appear to be many parallels between the two flicks.

The two films, however, have a massive sense of scale, portray a battle between good and evil, and include a desperate struggle to live against all obstacles.

If you like movies like Avatar that are thrill-filled, as well as the breathtaking graphics, “Avengers: Endgame” will be just up your alley.

13. The Day after Tomorrow (2004)

  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward, Austin Nichols
  • IMDb rating: 6.4/10
  • Running time: 2h 04m

“The Day After Tomorrow,” a 2004 sci-fi catastrophe film directed by Roland Emmerich, stars Dennis Quaid, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Sela Ward.

The video depicts one possible end of global warming and the devastating implications it might have for humanity, based in part on Art Bell and Whitley Strieber’s book “The Coming Global Superstorm.”

The video finally depicts a new ice age occurrence. In addition, it is renowned for displaying New York City under hundreds of feet of snow.

Even though “The Day After Tomorrow” did not win any prizes for its storytelling or scientific realism, the film has some redeeming features.

Most of these focus on the great visual effects and stunning CGI employed throughout the film.

Everything in “The Day After Tomorrow” is on a grand scale, and the effects of climate change are as significant as the struggle in movies like Avatar.

14. Passengers (2016)

  • Director: Morten Tyldum
  • Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Jon Spaihts, Laurence Fishburne
  • IMDb rating: 7.0/10
  • Running time: 1h 56m

In the 2016 film “Passengers,” Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt play Aurora Lane and Jim Preston. It is a mash-up sci-fi film directed by Morten Tyldum that mixes aspects of the romance genre.

The two are passengers aboard a massive spaceship bound for a new colony thousands of light-years away.

When Jim is roused from his slumber, he spends a year alone before deciding to awaken Aurora after falling in love with her.

Movies like Avatar contain a love story about two people who are thrown together in extraordinary circumstances.

That happens in “Passengers,” when Jim and Aurora are the only two individuals awake aboard a deserted ship.

Even if the controversial conclusion proved contentious, the film’s VFX and set design would assist in making the spacecraft a realistic environment in the same way that Pandora looks to be a true extraterrestrial planet.

15. Blade Runner (1982)

  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, Hampton Fancher
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10
  • Running time: 1h 57m

“Blade Runner” is considered one of the greatest science fiction films. Ridley Scott directed the picture, which stars Harrison Ford as the protagonist, Rick Deckard, and is based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.”

The former officer was in charge of tracking down and “retiring” androids, dubbed replicants in the film.

He is paid to track down four illegal replicants on Earth. Still, he falls in love with Rachael, a sophisticated Nexus-6 replicant.

While “Blade Runner” is set on Earth, it is a futuristic and dystopian depiction of the globe that is as alien as any world from space.

The graphics were praised at the time of release, and the film conjures a universe that begs to be explored.

Anyone who has watched movies like Avatar will understand that emotion since Pandora offers a comparable setting ready to be explored further.

16. The Matrix (1999)

  • Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
  • Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, Hampton Fancher
  • IMDb rating: 8.7/10
  • Running time: 2h 16m

The Wachowskis’ 1999 sci-fi film launched a series that spawned many films, a celebrated anime collection, and even multiple video games.

“The Matrix” follows Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as they combat robots that have enslaved humans in a simulation of the world to utilize them as an energy source.

“The Matrix” deals with complicated topics and delves deeply into individual perceptions of the universe.

The action-packed film examines self-identity and questions the basis of reality while exhibiting great special effects like Bullet Time.

“Avatar” also examines some of these philosophical concerns, particularly whether Jake is still himself while occupying the hybrid Na’vi body.

Of course, “The Matrix” has its share of spectacular action moments that are just as entertaining to watch as some of the best scenes from movies like Avatar.

17. The Abyss (1989)

  • Director: James Cameron
  • Cast: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Kidd Brewer Jr., Leo Burmester
  • IMDb rating: 7.5/10
  • Running time: 2h 19m

It makes sense to look at some of James Cameron’s previous ventures while looking for movies like Avatar. “The Abyss” is a science fiction film from 1989 starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn.

The video follows a team on an experimental drilling platform as they seek the remains of a submerged submarine in the Caribbean during the Cold War.

When a strong storm threatens the operation, the team quickly recognizes that the submarine has been infected with an extraterrestrial danger that might doom the Earth.

Cameron has always been an inventor and has a reputation in Hollywood for pushing the boundaries of technology.

It was most noticeable in “The Abyss,” when producers employed early computer graphics to simulate the liquid aliens beneath the lake.

Although “The Abyss” and “Avatar” are quite different films, Cameron’s later sci-fi epic expands on the technology he initially employed in this picture.

18. The Revenant (2015)

  • Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, Lukas Haas
  • IMDb rating: 8.0/10
  • Running time: 2h 36m

In his performance as Hugh Glass in “The Revenant,” Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his Academy Award for best actor.

It relates the story of a frontiersman who is abandoned in the forest after being assaulted by a bear and is directed by Alejandro G. Inárritu.

The glass must evade different perils while attempting to find his way back to civilization to live in the forbidding region. “The Revenant,” like other movies like Avatar, is a story about survival against all odds.

The Na’vi are compelled to defend their territory and struggle to survive against the invading humans on Pandora. Meanwhile, Hugh Glass must do all it takes to keep death at bay.

Both films are large in scope and offer vibrant depictions of the dangerous situations in which the protagonists find themselves, as well as documentation of what those individuals are ready to do to guarantee their survival.

19. The Martian (2015)

  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan
  • IMDb rating: 8.0/10
  • Running time: 2h 24m

The Martian, starring Matt Damon, Sebastian Stan, Donald Glover, and Jessica Chastain, is a 2015 sci-fi survival story.

Damon’s character, biologist Mark Watney, becomes alone on Mars when the rest of his fellow astronauts are forced to flee due to a severe dust storm.

With no rescue in sight for a long time, Watney must improvise to survive on the planet by producing food and water.

The film was nominated for several Oscars and is based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name.

The apparent parallel between movies like Avatar and “The Martian” is that both films investigate worlds other than Earth.

However, Ridley Scott’s picture is set on the red planet Mars. In contrast, James Cameron’s version is set in the alien world of Pandora.

What essentially ties these two films together is that they both convey emotional survival stories.

20. The Lord of the Rings (2001)

  • Director: Peter Jackson
  • Cast: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom
  • IMDb rating: 8.8/10
  • Running time: 2h 58m

Many failed efforts to develop a good adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, including one by the Beatles, have occurred.

Thankfully, Peter Jackson discovered a compelling method to present the epic narrative and delivered “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” in 2001, followed by the two sequels.

Set in the fictitious Middle-earth, the series follows Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and a group of companions as they strive to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom to stop it from entering into the hands of the wicked lord Sauron.

Even though “The Lord of the Rings” and other movies like Avatar have completely different storylines, they both feature massive fictitious worlds that are brought to life in breathtaking form.

Those who view either film might readily believe these are genuine locations and could envisage themselves living in Middle-earth or on Pandora.

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