Five Great Sci-Fi Comedies
They seem disparate, especially when examined independently, but science-fiction and comedy are two genres that work surprisingly well together. When you blend absurdist realities and faraway worlds with absurdist humor, the result is often a freaky, hilarious escapade. Some of the resulting films have something to say about society, while others warn against the rapid advancement of technology. The rest are just here to have a silly, goofy time.
Here are some of the best mash-ups when it comes to science-fiction and comedy…
Not only is Mars Attacks a “who’s who” of comedy — featuring everyone from Martin Short to Danny DeVito — but Tim Burton’s film is one of his most iconic outings on aesthetics alone. The star-studded alien invasion packs a punch with purposely cheap-looking special effects and over-the-top comedy that have continued to help make it a cult classic nearly three decades after its initial release.
Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers was misunderstood upon release and panned by critics and viewers alike. But thanks to Netflix, a new generation of viewers have been able to appreciate what the Showgirls director was going for with his indictment of the military-industrial complex. The satire boasts some pretty impressive special effects for the 1990s, a razor-sharp wit and a hilarious (and formative) shower scene.
Washed-up actors in space is the premise of a Fox reality show, but before that, it was the plot of the universally beloved Galaxy Quest. The parody that pokes fun at some ridiculous sci-fi conventions — as well as literal fan conventions — is adored by Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike for its acute attention to detail. It even features some of the late Alan Rickman’s finest work and yet another superstar outing from the sci-fi queen herself, Sigourney Weaver.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
A recent addition to the sci-fi comedy landscape, the Daniels’ IRS-dodging romp across the multiverse is well-deserving of a spot in the blended genre’s pantheon — read: there is no recency bias here — even as it survived months of scrutiny and online discourse. Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan mix the perfect blend of comedy and humanity in an interdimensional adventure that tackles generational trauma and the fate of the world.
Back to the Future
Back to the Future first enmeshed itself in the zeitgeist back in 1985 and has stayed there ever since (I mean, it’s currently on Broadway). While it didn’t exactly do a great job of predicting the future (a la The Simpsons), it’s a certified classic that made a star out of Michael J. Fox. The visual gags and memorable quotes make it not just one of the great sci-fi comedies, but one of the great comedies period.