The alien encounter has long been a defining and popular subject of science fiction cinema. However, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris (1972) are interrogative, ambiguous, complex, and distinct artistic accomplishments that stand apart from and above the conventional science fiction film. 2001 and Solaris not only represent but complicate the alien/human dichotomy; in the end, they destabilize the dichotomy and suggest a radical synthesis of the dichotomous elements. 2001 and Solaris further underscore epistemological and specifically anthropocentric limitations when it comes to understanding the alien or attempting to make sense of the alien encounter. This investigation should be of interest not only to film studies in general but to science fiction scholarship in particular. It aims to provide a sophisticated reading of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris supported by relevant literature in an effort to join in the ongoing scholarly discussion and critical legitimatization of science fiction cinema.