I’m Having a Hard Time Getting Excited About [Insert Name of Upcoming Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie Here]…


…because Hollywood is all about the special-effects-porno when it comes to science fiction and fantasy right now. Seriously, it’s all about the cool effects, the explosions, the slow-mo pan, the lens flare (I’m looking at you, Abrams), the really detailed thing moving super fast to confuse the eye and create an impression of WOW WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT I CAN’T WAIT TO BUY THE DVD SO I CAN PAUSE IT AND GAZE AT ALL THAT DETAIL WITH MY EYE THREE INCHES FROM THE SCREEN.

It’s about “creating excitement,” the first and only commandment in the marketing Bible. Dazzle ’em and make them talk about how blown their minds were today, because, let’s face it, ticket sales happen in the short term, and a butt not in the seat is less likely to buy merch and DVDs later.

Well, it’s hard to blame someone for trying to make some money. But we just don’t get the Logan’s Runs and Soylent Greens anymore. It’s too unpredictable to try to make a hit with…. you know, story.

The smart bet is to reach right through the visual cortex, grab it, and shake until money and screams of delight fall out.

And so I’m having a hard time getting excited about science fiction and fantasy films lately. Because I’m a story guy, and the special effects porn might make a lot of other people come to the theater, but it just doesn’t do it for me.


6 thoughts on “I’m Having a Hard Time Getting Excited About [Insert Name of Upcoming Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie Here]…

Add yours

  1. Even Duncan Jones (director of Moon – which I thought rather a good ‘thinking persons’ movie, and made on a shoestring budget) is having a shot at a blockbuster with a take on World of Warcraft of all things…

  2. Okay I agree that some sci-fi movies are a little too much. But sci-fi movies like “John Carter”, or “Enders Game” were based on the novels. I read the books and I loved the fact that someone decided to make it into a movie. Just like the DC comics or Marvel comics are turned into movies, sometimes it is a lot more interesting to see something from paper make it to the big screen. On the flip side there a lot of movies that are just story line based on novels that are very predictable, like a Nicholas Sparks novel/movie. Just saying.

    1. “John Carter” sort of gets a pass — the Barsoom novels were all old-school swashbucklers, the action-adventure of their time. I’d expect a movie based on that to be all about the action and wow. Comic book movie, pretty much the same, at least for mainstream comics. The original material has a very strong action-adventure spectacle element. But take something like “I, Robot”… based on Asimov’s work, then twisted out of shape and made into an action-adventure spectacle when the original material was really nothing of the sort. Most of what Asimov was saying was lost, or relegated to subordinate scenes that vanish into the background. I haven’t seen the “Ender’s Game” movie, so can’t really comment on that one. But plenty of SFF movies have been based on authors’ work and turned into SFX pornos that make a nod to the source material and miss the point of the actual novel/story.

      I’d also call it fair to note that on occasion a movie presents a novel in a very straightforward way and flops doing it. A movie is a different form, and things have to be condensed to translate a whole novel to the screen. It is definitely possible to screw up the translation!

    1. I have my ‘want to sees’ too, yet I cringe worrying they’ll be turned into popcorn wow SFX shows. I’d love to see Ringworld as a movie, or a series of movies. I don’t know that I’d love to see Speaker-to-Animals dominate the screen showing off what a badass butt-kicker he is and making stuff explode.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: