Looking into Adult Sci-Fi Films

What is considered grown-up science fiction?


Grown-up science fiction or Adult Science Fiction is science fiction based on dark themes, real-life issues, and real-life experiences.

The hero doesn’t arrive timely to save the day and is in a grey area between the good and the bad side. The characters are complex human beings and the ending of the story is usually about the aftermath of what happened in the story and how the characters are dealing with it. Some stories have an intellectual or cerebral nature like “Arrival (2016).”



Dark Themes

Darker themes in Sci-Fi Movies don’t have the same buzz as the traditional Sci-Fi model they usually go for. They are a few filmmakers who dare to work around darker themes like “War for the Planet of the Apes”, “Get out” and “Logan.”

Dark themes are very popular on television. Just think of “Dark Matter”, “The Expand”, “Orphan Black”, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Stranger Things”, “American Horror Stories” and “West World”, just to name a few.

The Sci-Fi subgenres action-adventure, military, space opera, and superheroes are dominating the cinema. Even though these subgenres are currently the most popular there is still a fan base for the adult science fiction stories like Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Both stories came to life on film many years ago and became Sci-Fi horror classics.


Adult Science Fiction

The current fan base of grown-up science fiction consists of readers of adult science fiction books that chose to support (or not) the movie version of the stories. Titles like “The Martian”, “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, “Ender’s Game”, “The Road”, “Dune”, “The War of Worlds”, and “World War Z” were adopted for the big screen some more successful than the others. Why? It could be that the narrative of the story as in the book did not look right in a live-action sequence; the transition from a book to the screen is not an easy process.

Adult science fiction has dark themes and is not everybody enjoys it. But if you are someone who liked Sci-Fi you will see that many elements from adult Sci-Fi are being used for lighter friendlier stories like the story of how Captain America came back to life which is similar to the Roger Dodsworth “The Reanimated Englishman” story based on the science fiction theme of cryonics.


Final Thoughts

If you want to see some adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy films let’s first check these 4 great Sci-Fi movies mentioned in the previous post  4 easy ways to introduce sci-fi to your friends, Part 3: “Children of Men”, “Her”, “Snowpiercer” and “Time Crimes”.  Did you see any of them already?

We will discuss some interesting Sci-Fi movies in the upcoming articles, so make sure to visit us again. Which gown-up Sci-Fi or Fantasy film would you like for us to see and talk about in the upcoming articles?  Feel free to leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.



Hi There! I am Sci-Fi Fan who wishes to share the love for Sci-Fi. Whether you know about Sci-Fi or not, on SFM&TV you will find interesting material to explore. I'll be happy to share with you what I know and to learn from you as well.

4 thoughts on “Looking into Grown-Up Sci-Fi Films”
  1. This is a great article! I love sci-fi and themes that actually deal with scary or potential problems. Dune is actually on my reading list. Do you think its a comparable movie to the book?

    1. Hi Ariana,

      That is difficult to answer: The film tries to hard to follow the narrative of the novel quite closely, which is clearly impossible when attempting to fit 600 pages novel into a two and a half-hour film. The Sci-fi in the film seems outdated. There have been some rumors of a remake. The technology we have today would suit the story better.
      Overall this film would have been more successful if it had not tried to stick to the source material. At its core Dune is a pretty simple story. The hero goes from his ordinary life into a land of otherworldly discovery where he transforms and learns new things, achieves victories and gains great authority and supernatural power. It’s a timeless narrative and a very powerful and successful one that has been copied into other stories many times.

  2. Whenever anyone mentions Snowpiercer I get so excited…that was an incredible film. more people need to see it. the theater was definitely the best setting. I tend to side with those who grumble about adult sci fi novels and classics being converted to film; it doesn’t usually work. I also LOVED Arrival and wouldn’t have thought to put it in this category. Makes sense though!

    1. Hi Penelope,

      Thanks for sharing your views. As they are many films based on novels coming up this year, I want to stay optimistic. I look forward to Wrinkle in Time, Ready Player One, Annihilation, and The Meg.

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