Best known as "sci-fi" the genre really only started and took off in the 1950s, which was the era for low-budget science-fiction films, most of which concerned monsters from outer space, and were very effective despite the lack of funds, such films including The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Kronos (1957), The Fly (1958), Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) and Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959). They weren't great earners but their low budgets guaranteed large profits.
In the 1970s the genre became a popular one with mega profits. Star Wars (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Alien (1979) were all huge blockbusters, earning well over $1 billion between them at the box office. They were all hugely eye-catching, used effective special effects and sets, unlike what had been used up until that point and had great characters that everyone fell in love with. In 1982 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial came out and not only broke box office records, but became the first sci-fi (certainly memorable one) to make the main alien cute, cuddly and friendly and everyone fell in love with the little fella. As before sci-fis only ever seemed to feature aliens, like they seem to have done since. The first notable exception was Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) which was about robots and made an absolutely brilliant film. This was one rare sci-fi not about aliens, other notable ones from the '80s being The Terminator (1984), Back to the Future (1985) and RoboCop (1987). Since then there's still been very few sci-fis that don't concern aliens, most notable examples being Jurassic Park (1993) and The Matrix (1999).
Since the start of this century sci-fis have been getting churned out rapidly. Not just daft alien films such as The Fourth Kind (2009), and franchises such as Transformers (2007-), but also disappointing remakes, including Planet of the Apes (2001 remake of the 1968 film), The Invasion (2007 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 remake of the classic that got sci-fi on its feet). Sci-fi, however, reached whole new visual standards with Avatar in 2009, which became the most successful film in history grossing over $2.7 billion, and still earning at the box office. Visually it is the most stunning film of all time, however, it lacks a coherently substantial narrative, and could all sci-fis from now on follow in its footsteps in the hope of making vast amounts of money? One really hopes not, although 2010's Inception was brilliant and didn't fall into the Avatar trap.
Today one can not be sure what sci-fi holds in store for the future. For a number of years we've been lucky to get more than two really good sci-fis (not including animated sci-fis) per year. Will the trend of pathetic remakes and sequels continue? Will they make any more sci-fis that aren't about aliens than they do now? Will sci-fis from now on be like Avatar? We will just have to wait and see...
Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.