Elements of a Good Science Fiction Movie III

A popular characteristic of a science fiction movie or book is a futuristic setting. Not many science fiction novels are set in the present time ”“ they are usually presented in what the author believes is how the future will look and seem. In this article, you will encounter examples of elements in science fiction movies and books, such as a futuristic setting or the government controlling everything.

Futuristic Settings

Oftentimes, there is chaos across the world and lawlessness. Sometimes, a plague has wiped out most of the population and only a few people exist. The future could be ruled by zombies, cannibals, or animal-like creatures. The future may reveal life on other planets. In ‘Mission to Mars’ (2000), the first manned mission to the planet Mars takes place in 2020.

Cars may fly in the air or life is dictated by the buying, selling or stealing of minutes, as seen in the film, ‘In Time’ (2011) with Justin Timberlake. We may have tapped into an alternate world, as seen in ‘Avatar’ (2009), where humans pay a visit to the moon Pandora.

Issues of female sterility are tackled in films, such as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (1990). In ‘Children of Men’ (2006), humans can no longer procreate in the year 2027 and a miracle pregnant woman is transported in secret to a group of scientists who believe they can save the future of humankind.

Robots may take on a more significant role in the future, as seen in ‘Total Recall’ (1990), I, Robot’ (2004), and ‘Robocop’ (1987).


Dystopia is a place where people led dehumanized lives and are often in fear of one another or of a dominating power. There are many science fiction pieces that touch upon the theme of dystopia in the future. Usually, the movie or book is meant to explore a social issue that currently affects the characters. Science plays a small part in the plot, if any at all. Usually, technology or the misuse of technology often figures into the storyline. Examples of this theme in movies and books include:

”¢    ‘Brave New World’ (1998) ”“ deals with human psychology and mind control

”¢    ‘District 9’ (2009) ”“ science fiction thriller that pits aliens against humans with the latter at a disadvantage

”¢    ‘V for Vendetta’ (2006) ”“ environmental blight and a totalitarian government

”¢    ‘1984’ ”“ a George Orwell novel that concentrates on a totalitarian government centered on Big Brother, where the infamous line was born ”“”Big Brother is watching.’

”¢    ‘Judge Dredd’ (1995) ”“ this science fiction action film stars Sylvester Stallone as a ‘street judge’ who polices the streets of Earth in the 3rd millennium, where most of it has become an uninhabitable wasteland.

”¢    ‘The Running Man’ (1987) ”“ loosely based on the Stephen King novel that describes a dystopian America (set in 2019) where criminals appear on a TV show called ‘the Running Man,’ which must escape death by besting a band of professional killers

Exploration of Society or Cultural Issues

Sometimes, the science fiction genre allows authors and directors to tackle a popular issue that deals with culture or society within a futuristic setting. Perhaps, scientists are misusing technology or class struggles have gotten out of hand. The genre allows people to voice their thoughts pertaining to important issues. Usually, there is something that is threatening the safety or harmony of the world, such as war tearing apart the world, destruction of the environment through overuse, genetic experiments running rampant, or the government controlling every aspect of humankind.