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SF Tidbits for 8/2/06

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

6 Comments on SF Tidbits for 8/2/06

  1. Resnick is missing an important point. Lawrence of Arabia was geared at adults while Phantom Menace was geared at 12 year olds. I’m sure that the year Lawrence of Arabia came out there were plenty of truly awful science fiction drive in movies. Resnick is comparing the modern equivalent of the drive in movie with some of the finest films of the past. It’s not a fair comparison

  2. Well then, could it be (I havne’t read the article yet) that Hollywood is aiming SF movies (on the whole) at younger audiences? And by younger I don’t necessarily mean 12 year olds. I mean mid to late teens and early 20s. That would explain why so much of it seems stupid and horrible and nothing but SFX.

  3. JP, you could use that description for a good chunk of all movies out there, SF or non-SF.

    Maybe the problem is that the “target audience” for when “Lawrence of Arabia” (great flick, BTW) came out was a lot older than the “target audience” today. And since Hollywood appeals not only to the target, but the least common denominator, we get a lot of explosions and dumbed down explosions (plots) as well.


  4. I think the basic issue that the average movie audience consists of those folks in thier late teens to early 30s, and they like seeing only a small subset of films. Hence the huge number of action and quasi-horror movies in production at this time. We have movies like Serenity and Sky Captain and the World of Tommorrow that combine the SF with some decent action, but don’t do the same numbers as some of that other crap that is getting sequel after sequel (gives George Lucas an evil glare).

    While I respect Mr. Resnick’s opinion on this topic, the problem will not be solved by those folks who like to see good SF in film/books/etc since we are the folks that have pretty much given up on the theatre to begin with. Hollywood sees very little of my money in initial release and since I don’t purchase movies either – the only way they are getting my cash is through Netflix. Given that Hollywood and the movie industry is currently trying to figure out how to fix thier problems with lowered income (which they will say is due to piracy not production of crap), they will focus on making films that will feature action over substance.

  5. And there’s a healthy amount of looking at the past through rose tinted glasses going on. It’s easy to look back and think cinema in the 60s consisted purely of movies like Lawrence of Arabia, 2001 or Bridge Over the River Kwai but these are the exceptions. The truth is that the decade mostly consisted of films whose memories have long been covered by the sands of time that you’d be hard pressed to sit through nowadays.

    As much of a let down as Phantom Menace it was better than the Sci Fi Drive In class THEM (the one with the giant ants). That’s a more valid comparison because the two movies are aimed at the same demographic.

    We are actually living in the Golden Age of cinema in my opinion. Hollywood blockbusters leave much to be desired but they always have. The movies aren’t getting worse, our tastes have gotten more sophisticated and diverse. If you’re willing to check out world cinema and the indie movie scene you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts.

  6. If you are going to check out the world movie scene, my suggestion for the easiest place to start (easy on the eyes) is Devdas ( starring Aishwarya Rai. It is a costume-drama musical of the sort that Hollywood once made, and no longer does. There is nothing grotesque, nothing shocking, nothing horrifying, but it has some of the most lavish sets and beautiful characters every to grace the silver screen. It is a feast for the eyes.

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