Six Genre Movie Sports We Wish Were Real (And One We’re Glad Isn’t)
It’s been about a week since the FIFA World Cup kicked off, and the tournament’s got us thinking about what the future of sport might look like when humanity finally colonizes space and athletes begin to compete in zero gravity—or against alien lifeforms. To get a better idea of what might be in store for us, we revisited some of our favourite sci-fi and fantasy film feats of athleticism in six fictional (but for how long?) sports.
Harry Potter fans love the game of Quidditch—first introduced on screen in 2001—so much that house league teams have sprung up in colleges everywhere. IRL players are seemingly undeterred by a lack of flying brooms and Golden Snitches. We, however, are holding out for Elon Musk to set up the first zero-gravity pitch on the moon and/or Mars.
The exercises in Ender’s Game featured two armies of agile pre-teens floating around in a competition against each other to prepare to face the Formics. The object of the game was for one army to freeze every member in the opposing army while navigating the microgravity atmosphere. The purpose behind the game was serious, but the game itself looked like SO. MUCH. FUN.
Not that we’re in any rush to become trapped in a computer program like in Tron and Tron: Legacy, but the cool, backlit animation in the original film made light cycling look like a sport we’d definitely want to try (although we’d opt to skip the whole ‘exploding when you accidentally drive into a wall of light’ thing).
Pro Tip One: Never tell a player that chess isn’t a real sport. Pro Tip Two: Always let the Wookie win. That last one is a lesson C-3PO comes dangerously close to learning the hard way in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Skip the 2002 remake that stars Chris Klein and go right for the 1975 Norman Jewison-directed original. In it, basketball has morphed into a futuristic (and lethal) team sport played on roller skates AND motorcycles. In Rollerball, players are kitted out in protective padding—something that seems like a safety precaution until you realize that every surface of the pads, gloves, and helmets is covered in metal spikes. Still, it’s really not that much more dangerous than NFL football or that game where athletes strap knives to their feet (aka hockey).
The Star Wars prequels weren’t all bad. First: Queen Amidala’s costumes and makeup were rad. Second: The Phantom Menace’s pod racing scenes were actually pretty kick ass. Yes, Watto made us squirm uncomfortably (as blatant ethnic stereotypes tend to do) and baby Anakin was mildly obnoxious, but come race time you could ignore George Lucas’ tone-deaf characters and focus on the thrilling competition… for a few minutes, anyway.
Tracker Jackers, Nightlock berries, razor-clawed Monkey-Mutts and a couple dozen of your own peers who want nothing more than to kill you as quickly and spectacularly (for the ratings, of course) as possible? Being your District’s tribute in the Hunger Games doesn’t sound like a very sportsmanlike sport to us. We’ll gladly stick with soccer.