A new FelixOnline article, The Science Fiction Renaissance, referring to the plethora of science fiction movies asks, “Why are we seeing this new wave of science fiction?”
Sci-fi movies are all about suspending the audience’s disbelief. A science fiction film with obviously fake special effects quickly finds itself relegated to the ‘B-movie’ category. Recent advances in Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) have made it cheaper to make convincing alternate universes.
But a criticism that has often been levelled at science fiction is that usually the characters are very poorly developed and unrealistic. This may be true – from Blade Runner to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, dialogue and characterisation have always been weak points with sci-fi movies.
However, what science fiction lacks in characterisation, it makes up for in ideas. We live in a world when advances in technology are beginning to outpace our ability to keep up with them. We live in a technological culture.Although recent films such as I, Robot and Minority Report are entertaining, they also provide social commentary about the nature of our technological culture that other genres of film are unable to make. Another recent example is Gattaca, in which social issues about genetic engineering are addressed.
But some sci-fi purists remain sceptical: “Big budget ‘sci-fi’ films have always been popular and tend to come in waves,” says Michael Wright of Imperial’s Science Fiction society. “I’m not sure science fiction as a genre is getting more popular. Many of the people who will see Revenge of the Sith in the cinema wouldn’t touch a sci-fi book, and many of the best sci-fi TV series have been cancelled.”