Total Recall 1990

The original cut of the movie was given an X-rating by the MPAA for excessive violence. Some violence was trimmed and different camera angles were used in some of the more over the top scenes and the movie was then re-rated R.

Independence Day 1996

A then-record 3,000-plus special effects shots would ultimately be required for the film. The shoot utilized on-set, in-camera special effects more often than computer-generated effects in an effort to save money and get more authentic pyrotechnic results

Gattaca 1997

When Gattaca was first released, as part of a marketing campaign there were adverts for people to call up and have their children genetically engineered. Thousands of people called, wanting to have their offspring genetically engineered.

Minority Report 2002

Three years before production began, Steven Spielberg assembled a team of sixteen future experts in Santa Monica to brainstorm out the year 2054 for him.



The emergence of the world wide web and the cyberpunk genre during the 1990s spawned several internet-themed movies. Both The Lawnmower Man (1992) and Virtuosity (1995) dealt with threats to the network from a human-computer interface.

Johnny Mnemonic (1995) and Total Recall (1990) had the memories of their main actors modified by a similar interface, and The Matrix (1999) created a machine-run virtual prison for humanity.

The internet also provided a ready medium for movie fandom, who could more directly support (or criticize) such media franchise film series as Star Trek and Star Wars. Disaster movies remained popular, with themes updated to reflect recent influences.

Both Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1999) used the threat of a massive impact with the earth. Independence Day (1996 in film) recycled the 1950s alien invasion movie, with rapacious, all-consuming aliens.

Advances in genetic science were also featured in the Jurassic Park (1993) and the slow-paced Gattaca (1997).

As the decade progressed, computers played an increasingly important role in both the addition of special effects and the production of films.

Large render farms made of many computers in a cluster were used to detail the images based on three-dimensional models.

As the software developed in sophistication it was used to produce more complicated effects such as wave movement, explosions, and even fur-covered aliens.

The improvements in special effects allowed the original Star Wars trilogy to be re-released in 1997 with many enhancements. As in the 1980s, in every year of the 1990s one or more major science fiction or fantasy films were produced.


Oddly, in the first decade of the 21st Century, SF films seemed to turn away from space travel, and fantasy predominated.

Except for Star Trek and Star Wars films, the only films set off Earth that appeared in the first half of the 2000s were Serenity and the poorly received Mission to Mars and Red Planet.

On the other hand, fantasy and superhero films abounded, as did earthbound SF such as the Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions.

Science fiction has returned to being a tool for political commentary in recent times with films like A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and Minority Report.

A.I. questioned the increasing materialism of today's world and Minority Report questioned the political situations surrounding the world post 9/11.

Unique entries into the genre were also released around this time with the first science fiction romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

By the middle of the decade, the theater audience had begun to decline and this was reflected in the numbers attending the science fiction movie releases of this period.

Sophisticated home theater systems came close to matching the cinema experience, and avoided the expense and inconvenience. Film studios had begun placing product advertisements prior to the start of movies in theatres.

Seeking another means to enhance their bottom line, and alienating a segment of the theater-going audience. Making up for the losses in cinema revenue, were sales and rentals of the high-quality DVD releases.

Jurassic Park

The Matrix 1999

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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