Science Fiction MoviesScience Fiction has always been a staple of the movies. From Le Voyage dans la Lune to Star Trek: Into Darkness, people have always been excited about seeing what might be waiting for us in the future realised on the big screen.

But after more than a century of sci-fi movie making, some of us are getting fed up. We might still love sci-fi movies, but we’re seeing the same weaknesses over and over again. We just want filmmakers to try harder, and to learn from those mistakes that disappointed their viewers in the past.

When the Special Effects come before the Plot

We’re looking at you, Michael Bay. People will always want action, and sci-fi allows directors so much leeway in new and exciting opportunities to deliver it. But if you don’t bother to construct a story, it’s just two hours of exhausting explosions with no reason to care. Don’t get lost in the toy-box and forget you need a reason for the monsters and laser-beams.

When the whole movie is just a toy advert

We’re looking at you, George Lucas. Everyone knows that the LucasFilm empire, and through it a large chunk of the modern film making world, was founded on the money made from merchandising rights. But while the original Star Wars films were classic movies that spawned a lucrative toy franchise, they were first and foremost good movies. The prequels however? They seemed to be an excuse to fit as many toy friendly objects and characters into a movie as possible. How well did that go down with your fans, George?

When they assume only boys like Science Fiction

We’re looking at you, J. J. Abrams. What was going through your head when you wrote Star Trek: Into Darkness? There are female fans out there who want a little more consideration. I don’t mean throwing in a quick shot of Chris Pine with his top off to make up for the fact you splashed Alice Eve in her underwear all over the trailer and forgot to give her any actual plot. Remember that girls like sci-fi movies as well, and might well want less of the film given over to macho posturing and fan-service semi nudity, and more to interesting female characters.

When the writers get preachy and philosophical

We’re looking at you, Andy and Lana Wachowski. You created a cultural phenomenon with The Matrix. You gave us one of the most original sci-fi movies in a decade. So why did you have to follow this with two sequels that diluted that memory? Instead of lean, in depth story and groundbreaking special effects, we had two movies of forced action scenes and complex and convoluted philosophy that required a guidebook to navigate.

When it’s just a remake or rip off of a classic

We’re looking at you, Scott Derrickson. Did the world need a remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still? Did it really? Did 57 years of special effect development mean that the original movie was no longer good enough? Did an $80 million budget really improve anything about the message and style of the original? Please refer back to my first point; special effects can make sci-fi possible, but they don’t make it better.

When it misses the point of Science Fiction

We’re looking at you, Alex Proyas. Sci-fi has a long and wonderful tradition of telling stories that make us think. While we all love a good space action adventure, the genre feels empty without something substantial behind it. When you take Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot books, strip out the commentary on the human condition and throw together an action movie/Converse trainers advert, you’re really missing the point.