Anthony Stokes on the death of original science fiction…
Jupiter Ascending has arrived and is pretty much been the bust we all thought it would be. Needless to say I doubt it will even come close to breaking even, and I’m not shedding a single tear for the Wachowski siblings who should have learned better after their past six or so movies. It seems now like original science fiction is a graveyard where no movies perform as well as expected, and I believe I know the reason why:
Because most of the recent releases have sucked, or they aren’t even original to begin with. Save for Edge of Tomorrow and Gravity, most of the original science fiction releases over the past few years have been pretty bad, or just macramés of other science fiction movies.
I point to my first example – Pacific Rim. I don’t care what anybody says – this movie is awful. It’s got terrible pacing, horrible dialogue, the characters are dull, and it somehow turned Charlie Hunnam, the second-best television actor after Bryan Cranston, into a charisma-less dud. It only succeeds in giving fanboys giant robots fighting aliens, something they’ve already seen. And the worst part is it was poorly filmed action of robots fighting aliens. Instead of watching Pacific Rim watch Edge of Tomorrow, which actually has a story , characters, plot, etc.
Then we have the other example of what I like to call “psuedo” science fiction; movies that are good and technically original, like Inception and The Matrix, but redundant as they’re almost the same movie. The movie that came closest to being true science fiction, while also having somewhat of an identity, was Prometheus, but that also dropped the ball.
My favorite science fiction movies of the last couple years are The World’s End and Moon, two modest films that use their sci-fi to tell human stories – as opposed to The Wachowskis and Zack Snyder (once again redundant since they’re virtually the same filmmakers), who use science fiction to showcase their special effects.
Nothing would make me happier than for these genre directors to make something small and intimate built around science fiction. All the movies we grew up watching used to tell real human stories, (i.e. Back to the Future and The Terminator), as opposed to just throwing things onto the screen, with budgets that somehow keep getting bigger and bigger.
Seriously, how many more times is Warner Bros. going to keep giving the Wachowskis money? Until that time is over, I fear that the sci-fi genre will continue to take a beating, whilst squeezing in a gem every one in a while between the indulgence and the rehash.
What’s your take on the state of original sci-fi? Let us know your thoughts…
Anthony Stokes is a blogger and independent filmmaker.