Just taking a glance at some of the more recent science fiction films from the past few months and last year, to me there does seem to be an increased level of modern realism depicted in the narratives, plots and settings that many pitched. Films such as RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, SPLICE, PERFECT SENSE, CONTAGION, DISTRICT 9, IN TIME, ANOTHER EARTH. Obviously not all of these movies are reall realistic-apes taking control, aliens being abused- but I do think that genrally these films seem to suggest a return to deeper thoughtful concerns about the advances of modern scientific technological advances and dangers in our world now.
There of also of course many very successful and loved bigger more classic science fiction movies around featuring all the spaceships, aliens, UFOs, ray guns or galactic invasions that some really might love to watch while munching much overpriced popcorn while wearing awkward 3D glasses. Fine but the other stranger SF films, with smaller budgets and appearing closer to our own lives offer much lasting interest I believe.
Helped a good deal by massively convincing CGI these days, these new films have tried to explore fears of genetic manipulation, stem-cell research, animal testing, chemical and biological warfare or outbreaks, government control and manipulation of the populace through technology and more. Some of these films and directors return almost to the challenging times of a few decades ago, and remind me of classic brave movies like THE PARALLAX VIEW, THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, SOYLENT GREEN, CAPRICORN ONE, WESTWORLD, and almost the extreme provocative films of Cronenberg like VIDEODROME, SCANNERS.
Some of these films were not just great SF genre entertainment but provocative, thoughtful, questioning films on some level making us consider possibly near future dangers ahead, for our lives, our way of living. Yes, right now there is a danger of losing much originality and freedom in the film industry with budget tightening unless you adapt a known successful book series or remake some fond movie or television series, but hopefully many filmmakers will continue to attempt to produce science fiction movies that in ways challenge us and make us question our futures ahead.