One of the best parts of many science fiction movies is how they handle sports. Here is our quick guide to five types of sports you might see in a sci-fi flick.
Deadly Races in Futuristic Vehicles
A staple of many sci-fi movies is dangerous racing, often in highly advanced futuristic vehicles, and often to the death. Some movies, like Death Race 2000, are even based around this premise.
You can see this in the pod racing of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and in the ultra-highspeed racing of 2008’s Speed Racer. Sometimes these races take place on futuristic bikes too, like in the original Tron movie, where players race on light cycles while trying to block one another’s path.
Machines Fighting in an Arena
What could be better than humans boxing or wrestling in the ring? What about robots doing it instead? This trope has been used in many Sci-Fi movies, perhaps most recently in Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman. This is also the central premise in the cult classic Robot Jox, where nations settle their differences by pitting their skyscraper-sized robots against each other in an arena instead of fighting traditional wars.
Sports, But Different
From big-budget sci-fi movies and television shows to low-budget B-movies and straight to video cult classics, many science fiction writers and directors combine existing sports into something new in order to say to the viewer, “Look, this is the future!”
A great example of this is in Paul Verhoeven’s classic space epic Starship Troopers (1997). You may be scratching your head wondering where the sports game was in this classic movie, but early in the first act, there is a sports game called ‘Jump Ball’ that is part rugby, part basketball, and part soccer. It is definitely all future though! It makes you wonder what the sports stars of Jump Ball might do to relax after all that action.
A Fight to the Death!
If you are making a movie set in a dystopian future, then a battle to the death may be just what you need to let the viewer know just how desperate and dystopian your future society is. Whether it is fighting in the Thunderdome in Mad Max 2, where famously two men enter but only one man leaves, or creating a futuristic TV show where unwilling and unlikely contestants run a fatal gauntlet like in the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic The Running Man, nothing screams ‘dystopian future’ like a fight to the death. Just ask the creator of The Hunger Games.
Mix It Up Some More
Sometimes, a race isn’t enough. Neither is a fight to the death, or robots. Maybe you need all three in a movie to really set it apart from the crowd. The movie Alita Battle Angel has a game called Motorball that is part race and part gladiatorial combat performed by cyborgs of the future. This futuristic sport has a little bit of everything and is likely to be copied over and over again in the Sci-Fi movies of our, near, future.
These are just some of the types of sports you can expect to see in any science fiction film. There are plenty more out there as a new sport is a fun thing for scriptwriters and movie makers to create and show you just how fun the future could be.