Films can do so many things for an audience. They can scare or shock us, they can make us laugh or cry, they can be thought provoking and serious, they can raise important issues and encourage discussions, they can be a form of escapism, and of course, they can entertain us for two hours. Or perhaps they can do all of the above.
When makes a film entertaining can of course be a highly subjective topic and what one person finds entertaining may not be what another person finds entertaining and vice versa. That being said, when we talk about an entertaining film, it can be agreed upon that in general that means a film that most audiences find enjoyable and engaging.
Science fiction (or sci-fi) films fall into many categories and subgenres, from high concept, cerebral films to big budget blockbusters. Science fiction has always been a massively popular genre and many sci-fi films can most certainly be described as highly entertaining for audiences.
10. I, Robot (2004)
Inspired by Issac Asimov’s anthology of the same name, I, Robot sees a future where humans have become reliant on their servant robots. Though each robot is significantly advanced, robots must obey certain rules and are not allowed to harm humans. When a scientist is killed and the main suspect is a robot, the world is forced to question whether the robots are as safe as they first thought. Meanwhile, robot hating cop Del Spooner is assigned to investigate the murder.
Entertainment Value: Will Smith was apparently hesitant to include comedic moments and one liners in this film, however test audiences loved them, so they were kept in. That decision was a good one because it contributes to what makes I, Robot so appealing. The sci-fi elements are ones that audiences have seen in artificial intelligence films before, but the added comedy and the awesome visuals are what makes I, Robot a very entertaining sci-fi film.
Trivia: The film is set in 2035. At one point the audience can see a sign in a café which reads, “Sirloin steak, two eggs and hash browns, $30.95.” In 2004, the same meal was around a third of that price, today it would be about half that price, so the 2035 price is probably about right.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
When thief Peter Quill steals a mysterious orb, he finds himself the subject of an intergalactic bounty hunt. He is forced to team up with a group of misfit criminals – Rocket, a weapon loving raccoon, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, a tree like humanoid and Gamora, a fierce warrior. But when Quill discovers the orb’s true power and the danger it poses to the whole universe, he must find a way to rally his quirky team in an attempt to save and protect the galaxy.
Entertainment value: The Marvel Cinematic Universe is well known for its entertaining films and most Marvel films are full of fun and action. Yet Guardians of the Galaxy goes one step further with the fun factor. From the hilarious one liners to the quirky characters, every scene is filled with entertaining moments. Not only is the film massively entertaining, it makes use of a brilliant soundtrack which only adds to its appeal.
Trivia: Whilst on set, if someone did a particularly great job that day, director James Gunn would give them a container of Play-Doh. Over the eighty-five-day shoot, Gunn gave out forty containers.
8. Star Trek (2009)
When rebellious officer James T. Kirk and logical Vulcan Spock are assigned to the novice crew of the USS Enterprise, they find themselves colliding with danger when they come across Romulan Commander Nero who is on a mission of vengeance. To stop Nero and save the fate of humanity, they must put aside their differences and rivalry and learn to work together.
Entertainment value: A Star Trek reboot could so have easily been a disaster. When a franchise is already loved, and audiences have a strong idea of how the characters should be, then it can be hard for filmmakers to live up to that legacy. However, fears were soon abated when J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek hit theatres. Full of action and thrills and with great performances, Star Trek is arguably one of the best reboots of all time.
Trivia: The film was shrouded in secrecy and those working on production had to stick to strict rules. Actors were not allowed to wear their costumes as they walked between sets on the movie lot and they were also driven around in golf carts covered in black canvas. Only a few people were allowed to have a script and the film also had a number of fake titles including, ‘Corporate Headquarters’ and ‘Untitled Walter Lace Project.’
7. WALL-E (2008)
Waste Allocation Load Litter Earth Class, or WALL-E for short, is the last robot left on a deserted Earth. He spends his days cleaning up garbage, one piece at a time. But spending seven hundred years alone has left WALL-E feeling a little lonely and he has developed his own personality. When he spots EVE, a sleek and sophisticated robot sent back to Earth on a scanning mission, he becomes smitten and embarks on a dangerous mission across the galaxy to follow her.
Entertainment value: Pixar films have come to be some of the most popular and successful animated films of all time – the wonderful animation and heart-warming stories appealing to all ages and audiences. WALL-E achieves so many things at once – an engaging story and visuals, great characters and sci-fi that feels relevant and current, all which all add up to making it an endlessly watchable and enjoyable film.
Trivia: There are several cameos from other Pixar characters in this film. A few examples include – Carl Fredericksen’s walking stick, the Pizza Planet truck, a Buzz Lightyear lunchbox and a Dinoco lighter.
6. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
In the near future, an unbeatable alien force has attacked Earth leaving the planet’s military defeated. Major William Cage, who has never seen a day of combat, is assigned to what is essentially a suicide mission and is killed instantly. However, Cage soon finds that he is in a time loop and he must relive the same brutal mission over and over again.
Entertainment value: Whether you hate or love Tom Cruise, it cannot be said that he doesn’t throw himself wholeheartedly into every role he undertakes. Edge of Tomorrow is no different and his role as Major William Cage sees him in the midst of the action once again. Edge of Tomorrow uses tried and tested ideas but manages to recycle them as something that feels fresh and new. Throw in the cool visuals and action-packed scenes and Edge of Tomorrow is certainly one of the most entertaining sci-fi films of the twenty first century.
Trivia: Guillermo Del Toro worked on the initial design of the mimics, sketching them and advising on how they should sound. However, the design changed numerous times during post-production and the final result bears little resemblance to the designs Del Toro worked on.