For many years, films have always been regarded as a powerful source of entertainment and a means of escapism. In today’s society, this trend is no different as in 2020, the number of movie admissions stood at 223 million. In this context, the film industry is so vast and expansive as it has a huge selection of film genres to pick from according to your personal preferences. In fact, one genre that is often overlooked is that of science fiction which features many space movies. These types of films can be used as a means of satiating our curiosity about space and what lies beyond earth.
Firstly, these types of films have been in circulation since around 1956 with some being more successful than others. Developments of the atomic bomb and paranoia about the apocalyptic impact of a nuclear war highly influenced the sci-fi genre throughout the 1950s. The Cold War and communist period in the United States also resulted in the proliferation of sci-fi films, which as a result started a Golden Age of Science Fiction, according to Raindance. In the latter half of the 1960s, many sci-fi-based films were created and changed the genre. One of the most popular films at this time was Fahrenheit 451 which was created in 1966 and is a social commentary on freedom of speech and government limitations/rules. Another film which was made in the same year is Fantastic Voyage which follows a protagonist who attempts to discover the interior of a human body. Planet of the Apes which was made a few years later was also a well-recognised film which spurred the creation of four sequels and a TV series.
One of the most groundbreaking films for the sci-fi genre in the 1960s was A Space Odyssey (1968). This sparked an interest in space adventure during this period as the creation of this film coincided with the new discoveries being made in space. After the 60s the sci-fi genre did not yet break away from tones of anxiety weaving through the plot. Some popular films during the 1970s were A Clockwork Orange made in 1971, and the sequels to Planet of the Apes. This was followed by such films as Star Wars and Superman in 1978 and Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. Owing to the success of Star Wars, the sci-fi genre continued to expand and there was a creation of more and more of these types of films. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial produced in 1982 and directed by Steven Spielberg was probably one of the most notable films of the decade. This ensured that the genre retained its reputation as one that was growing in popularity.
If we shift the focus to our contemporary society, there are many successful space-based films created since the start of the 2000s. Wall-e is one of the most successful space based films that has gained critical acclaim. Stacker goes further stating this film shows earth as a barren wasteland, destroyed by the forces of climate and human overconsumption. A lot of the success and popularity of this film can be credited to Pixar’s ability to cater to both adults and children. This is because there is a strong moral message about humanity that would actually resonate with the older audience whilst a younger audience would derive enjoyment from the creative animations and the humorous dialogue. The soundtrack is also a great additive to the storyline.
Moreover, another popular space themed film is that of Gravity which starred George Clooney, who is famous for his appearances in the Oceans franchise set in Vegas. The film follows the protagonist (Sandra Bullock) who acts as DR Ryan Stone as she is on her first shuttle mission as a medical engineer. Her commander is the character Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who acts a veteran astronaut. Whilst we normally associate George Clooney with his character in this film, who is typically betting and gambling as you would on sites like 888, he is removed from his normal environment. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s roles in the film has been credited as a big reason for the film’s success as they are famous and well-recognized celebrities. Moreover, Sandra Bullock’s character has been an example for many as a strong female lead character in a Hollywood movie. The film went on to earn $55.7 million domestically, which gives it the highest opening weekend gross for any film ever released in October.
Overall, science fiction / spaced-based films have transformed and the film industry over the past century. With the advancement of technology and modern developments, these films enhance the quality of special effects. Globehour discusses the most expensive movies ever made largely rely on the special effects as this injects a certain authenticity into the film, as it serves to make the concepts look and seem more realistic than the audience could ever anticipate. As the years have gone on, this genre has been recognized more and more and hailed as transformative not only for the film industry but for audience engagement. Whilst space-based films are certainly more popular, there are also a huge array of films that have not acquired the attention or recognition that they deserve. It would be worthwhile for those who have experience in the creation and production of these types of films to invest in more or higher quality marketing strategies to fix this issue.