5. The Martian (2015)
Adapted from the novel of the same name, The Martian follows the story of astronaut Mark Watney after he ends up stranded on Mars after a mission goes badly wrong and he is presumed dead. Alone in the hostile environment and conditions, Mark must use all his wit, ingenuity and determination to survive and thrive on the planet. Millions of miles away, NASA work frantically on a way to bring the Martian home safe and sound.
Entertainment value: The Martian manages to effectively combine tension, laughs and great visuals to bring audiences a film that is smart and thought provoking but also fun and highly watchable. Matt Damon always delivers in his performances, but he shines as astronaut Mark Watney in a film that celebrates the determination and resilience of the human spirit.
Trivia: The film faced some controversy after it won Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and Matt Damon won Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes. Many filmmakers criticised the producers for submitting it in this category as a way of not having to face stronger competition in the Drama category. These complaints led to a rule change in which drama films with comedic overtones must be entered as dramas and not comedies.
4. Ready Player One (2018)
Based on the bestselling novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is set in the year 2045 where people escape the harsh reality of everyday life by visiting virtual world the OASIS. In the OASIS, you can be anyone or anything – the only limits are your imagination. When creator of the OASIS James Halliday died, he promised his vast fortune and control of the OASIS to the player who could find an Easter egg hidden deep in the virtual reality. Wade Watts joins the quest to find the egg and along the way finds himself caught up in a fierce battle for control of the OASIS.
Entertainment value: As with Minority Report, audiences know to expect big entertainment from a Spielberg blockbuster. Ready Player One brings massive entertainment value, not only is it visually pleasing and engaging, the many references and Easter eggs surrounding pop culture make it a thoroughly fun film to watch.
Trivia: The Zemeckis Cube is name after director Robert Zemeckis. The music from Back to the Future is played when the cube is activated.
3. Attack the Block (2011)
When aliens attack London under the cover of Guy Fawkes’ night, a gang of tough inner-city kids band together to protect their apartment block from the attack. Matters are further complicated when they also incur the wrath of a local cannabis dealer and his henchmen. With danger coming at them from all sides, the group must stick together and fight to defend their turf.
Entertainment value: Alien invasion films often feel quite similar and follow similar storylines, so the comedic approach and distinctly British flavour make Attack the Block feel like a breath of fresh air. Add in the social commentary and scares, and Attack the Block is a highly entertaining sci-fi film.
Trivia: Joe Cornish, the writer and director of the film, was inspired to make Attack the Block after being mugged in real life. He saw that the young assailants mugging him were as scared as he was and afterwards started to research their lives.
2. Minority Report (2002)
Based on a short story by famed science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, Minority Report follows John Anderton who works for Precrime, a special police department that arrests murderers before they have committed the actual crime. When Anderton himself is identified as a future killer, he is forced to go on the run as he tries to uncover why he has been named and whether he is the victim of a conspiracy against him.
Entertainment value: You can’t go too far wrong with a Steven Spielberg film for entertainment value and Minority Report certainly falls into that category. Minority Report is one of those rare films that combines action packed sci-fi with thought provoking sci-fi, something that a lot of other sci-fi blockbusters fail to do, usually sacrificing one for the other.
Trivia: When visiting the prison, John Anderton has his retina scanned and the confirmation sound that is heard would later be used by Apple as the charging noise.
1. Inception (2010)
Dom Cobb is a thief who can enter the dreams of other people. But he doesn’t steal objects, he steals ideas and secrets from his targets’ subconsciousness’s. His skill has made him a massive success in the world of corporate espionage but has also caused him to lose everything he loves. When Cobb is tasked with one final mission, he sees it as a chance for redemption. But this time he needs to plant an idea, not steal it. Along with his team of specialists, Cobb looks as though he will pull off the impossible. Until a dangerous enemy attempts to stop him.
Entertainment value: Nothing beats Nolan’s incredible visuals in this film. Seeing whole cities flip and turn in on themselves is brilliant and the dreamscapes are always engaging. Add in a great cast and a premise that is unique and interesting, and Inception is a sci-fi film that many audiences find themselves returning to time and again.
Trivia: There are several metaphors for filmmaking in the film. For example, each character represents a vital part of the industry – Cobb is the director, Arthur is the producer, Eames is the actor, Ariadne is the production designer and Robert is the audience.