7 Best Sci-Fi Films With Social Commentary

From What Culture

It’s shocking that science fiction isn’t considered literary or even highbrow – because it’s certainly raised a few. For decades, sci-fi writers have not only used their texts to predict the technology of the future (re: Prophets of Science Fiction), but they’ve also made strong social criticisms on the way we’d use it.

Sometimes these novels say even more on screen. Writers such as H.G. Wells created the masterworks War of the Worlds and Time Machine with messages so strong, one made the big screen twice. There’s no doubt, sci-fi films with collective critiques can reach a broader audience.

Read on for some of the best sci-fi films with social commentary, from the new classics to a couple of contemporary favorites.

7. Avatar (2009)
20th Century Fox

Avatar offers up some pretty strong social commentary about war. The Los Angeles Times reported the director, James Cameron, saying, “This movie reflects that we are living through war. There are boots on the ground, troops who I personally believe were sent there under false pretenses, so I hope this will be part of opening our eyes.”

There’s a message about the environment, too. It’s a central aspect of the film, which focuses on an invasion of a planet for resources, showing the audience the perils of destroying our own planet. However, even the environmental aspect may still be linked back to Cameron’s views on modern war since, likewise, many believe the Iraq invasion was a battle for resources.

6. Children Of Men (2006)
Universal Pictures

Director Alfonso Cuarón creates a torn version of the UK set in the year 2027. The film features fractured social commentary; the kind that’s broad and hard to pin down. There are themes of war and terrorism. But there are also notes on gender.

After all, the film is about the demise of the human race and women’s inability to reproduce. It shows how strongly our society relies on heteronormative culture and the control that many (sometimes desperately) seek to gain over a woman’s womb.


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