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 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 10:51 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

It is really just an extension of now, with a vision of what might be. Star Trek was far out there in 1968, but a good many of the gadgets that had came to be, or are coming to be. Cell Phones, tablets, medical scanners. Star Wars is odd because it was framed as a long long time ago, as in past history, which is odd. Nonetheless it is a conceptual extension of space craft that were around in 1977, made much larger, faster, nicer etc. Aside from the Jedi spiritual stuff though Star Wars in many ways is more grounded than Star Trek in my view. Star Trek was breaking out our ideas of physical reality with transporter beams, and they were always getting into 'other levels' of reality.


Very good points.

I agree the gulf between science-fiction and science-fact gets smaller every day. Good call.
I also think that if some people think of "Star Wars" as sci-fi (using whatever criteria they prefer) then they must also concede that it is just as much a religious movie as a "sci-fi" movie, simply because The Force (or at least the belief in it--the "spirituality" you mentioned) drives a great deal of the plot. This was a point that I nearly addressed in my post above, but I thought to do so would dilute the original issue I was addressing. So I excluded it for the time being.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 11:31 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Very good points.
I agree the gulf between science-fiction and science-fact gets smaller every day. Good call.
I also think that if some people think of "Star Wars" as sci-fi (using whatever criteria they prefer) then they must also concede that it is just as much a religious movie as a "sci-fi" movie, simply because The Force (or at least the belief in it--the "spirituality" you mentioned) drives a great deal of the plot. This was a point that I nearly addressed in my post above, but I thought to do so would dilute the original issue I was addressing. So I excluded it for the time being.


Well Star Trek from TOS thru NG dealt with a lot of religious themes. Even the Klingon's had a religious structure. That is why I think we can add Star Wars into the category of Sci Fi. Besides Space Opera just seems to be splitting hairs at this point.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 11:44 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Bladerunner with it's genetically created humans ( Replicants ) and flying cars, all possible but still a fiction right now. Alien, we don't have spaceships mining on other planets...yet. The Alien itself is obviously based on insectoid life right down to using a living host to born it's young so even that creature has a basis for possibility.


I'm not quite sure we've encountered something with acid for blood yet, Timmer!!!

Although, saying that, some of the women Ive dated definitely had acid for blood!!

Think this thread should be entitled "Alien or Aliens? Goldsmith or Vangelis? Get your blows in early"

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Well Star Trek from TOS thru NG dealt with a lot of religious themes. Even the Klingon's had a religious structure. That is why I think we can add Star Wars into the category of Sci Fi. Besides Space Opera just seems to be splitting hairs at this point.


True, but I'm not the one that called it "Space Opera". wink
My position is that "Star Wars" would more correctly be called an action/adventure movie (the phrase I used above), which only happens to be clothed in what would be called "the traditional sci-fi accoutrements".

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 12:09 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

As I've said before, there are two ways to define sci fi -- the narrow defintion which is more strictly about the science aspect (and in which case STAR WARS would be hard to include) and the wider, more general understanding of the term which encompasses STAR WARS and many other things.

Also -- and I said this before too -- sci fi can include many other genres and styles (romance, drama, action, film noir, religion/metaphysics etc.) The wide definition of the term simply means that there are fantastical elements related to the science of it -- as part of the universe -- and not strictly ABOUT that.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 12:56 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

See, this is sort of what I'm getting at. It is WE, the moviegoers, who define what these descriptions really mean. And for people who don't like what they perceive to be sci-fi to dismiss films like "Alien" or "Star Wars" as mere sci-fi films are really doing the films, and themselves, a huge disservice.

So I think it's time for the filmgoers (like us, at least) to start doing away with such compartmentalization. Films these days are so cross-pollinated that to label them as "this" or "that" is to continue depriving others from enjoying films they would quite enjoy were it not for the silly labels.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 1:30 PM   
 By:   Timmer   (Member)

I'm not quite sure we've encountered something with acid for blood yet, Timmer!!!


Is this confirmed, could it not be a bio-chemical defence system? wink


Although, saying that, some of the women Ive dated definitely had acid for blood!!


I've known some too Bill and I'm positive one ex had nothing but liquid nitrogen for blood.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 2:17 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

See, this is sort of what I'm getting at. It is WE, the moviegoers, who define what these descriptions really mean. And for people who don't like what they perceive to be sci-fi to dismiss films like "Alien" or "Star Wars" as mere sci-fi films are really doing the films, and themselves, a huge disservice.

So I think it's time for the filmgoers (like us, at least) to start doing away with such compartmentalization. Films these days are so cross-pollinated that to label them as "this" or "that" is to continue depriving others from enjoying films they would quite enjoy were it not for the silly labels.


That's why I won't watch any film with a motor vehicle in it. I don't care for films about racing. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 2:25 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

That's why I won't watch any film with a motor vehicle in it. I don't care for films about racing. wink


LOL
My other car is the Millenium Falcon.
Vroom. big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 2:32 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

See, this is sort of what I'm getting at. It is WE, the moviegoers, who define what these descriptions really mean. And for people who don't like what they perceive to be sci-fi to dismiss films like "Alien" or "Star Wars" as mere sci-fi films are really doing the films, and themselves, a huge disservice.

Well, I don't think it's anything 'mere' about calling them sci fi. Most people know that sci fi can come in many different forms and shapes. It's possible to include a film like STAR WARS and ALIEN in the sci fi category while at the same time acknowleding that they have elements of fantasy/space opera and psychological horror, respectively.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 2:53 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Ironically enough it was Star Wars that made "Sci Fi" more assessable (relatable) to the general public.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Well, I don't think it's anything 'mere' about calling them sci fi. Most people know that sci fi can come in many different forms and shapes. It's possible to include a film like STAR WARS and ALIEN in the sci fi category while at the same time acknowleding that they have elements of fantasy/space opera and psychological horror, respectively.


I personally get your point, but I disagree with your assessment that "most people" know that. There's a ton of people out there who DO consider sci-fi in terms such as "mere". They roll their eyes at the mention of the word. And it is precisely because they connote the word with a negative stigma that they will never know how many excellent movies are out there just because of it.

It's sort of a twist on what Trekkies had to go through for years, isn't it? (Of course, walking around with rubber Spock ears never really helped either, credibility-wise.)

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 3:28 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I personally get your point, but I disagree with your assessment that "most people" know that. There's a ton of people out there who DO consider sci-fi in terms such as "mere". They roll their eyes at the mention of the word. And it is precisely because they connote the word with a negative stigma that they will never know how many excellent movies are out there just because of it.

True, but that seems to be more of a separate issue having to do with general geekiness/nerdiness/social awkwardness that some people associate with the genre and its followers.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2013 - 3:34 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

True, but that seems to be more of a separate issue having to do with general geekiness/nerdiness/social awkwardness that some people associate with the genre and its followers.


Quite right. And it's still out there. The general unenlightened attitude towards sci-fi in general, I mean.
Happily though, I think it has steadily diminished over the years.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 13, 2013 - 1:55 AM   
 By:   Alex Cremers   (Member)

For what it's worth, I don't think "Alien", "Blade Runner" or, for that matter, "Star Wars" are sci-fi movies at all.

The second is a noir-detective story set in the future.



According to the definition of many a sci-fi writer, Blade Runner is science fiction because it deals with futuristic yet credible science (replicants) and the science is affecting the human psyche and society.

So, in my opinion, it's science fiction presented in a noir wrapping.


About its influence:

William Gibson: "I was afraid to watch Blade Runner in the theater because I was afraid the movie would be better than what I myself had been able to imagine. In a way, I was right to be afraid, because even the first few minutes were better. Later, I noticed that it was a total box-office flop, in first theatrical release. That worried me, too. I thought, Uh-oh. He got it right and ­nobody cares! Over a few years, though, I started to see that in some weird way it was the most influential film of my lifetime, up to that point. It affected the way people dressed, it affected the way people decorated nightclubs. Architects started building office buildings that you could tell they had seen in Blade Runner. It had had an astonishingly broad aesthetic impact on the world.

I met Ridley Scott years later, maybe a decade or more after Blade Runner was released. I told him what Neuromancer was made of, and he had basically the same list of ingredients for Blade Runner. One of the most powerful ingredients was French adult comic books and their particular brand of Orientalia—the sort of thing that Heavy Metal magazine began translating in the United States.

But the simplest and most radical thing that Ridley Scott did in Blade Runner was to put urban archaeology in every frame. It hadn’t been obvious to mainstream American science fiction that cities are like compost heaps—just layers and layers of stuff. In cities, the past and the present and the future can all be totally adjacent. In Europe, that’s just life—it’s not science fiction, it’s not fantasy. But in American science fiction, the city in the future was always brand-new, every square inch of it."


Christopher Nolan: "I think anytime you look at science fiction in movies, there are key touchstones: Metropolis. Blade Runner. 2001."


Dan Glass (Senior visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, Cloud Atlas): "The three Method facilities played a major role in creating Neo Seoul, a futuristic flooded Seoul that is central to the movie's fifth story. "It's a world that doesn't exist as well as technology that needed to be created from scratch," says Glass. "We looked a lot at Blade Runner as an influence, so there's a certain dank, dark, not very optimistic look to it. It's an authoritarian regime, which is a key part of the story, so the look fits into that idea." Method LA's 203 effects included a gun ship, flying police vehicles ("skiffs"), a prison truck, digi-doubles and numerous environments."


Charles de Lauzirika: I think Blade Runner endures on three fronts. One is that there's just so much detail in the film plugged into every single shot. That every time you see it you see something new. I mean, today I did a picture and sound check for the screening tomorrow and I saw something new that I hadn't spotted before and I had seen the film hundreds of times. So that's--it's like this kind of puzzle that you keep coming back to. There's always a different way to solve it, there's always a different angle you can take when you see it. Additionally the film is so influential with other film makers. Immediately after Blade Runner you started seeing not only other science fiction films and commercials and music videos, comp books, was just--you know, ripple effect, that you started seeing neon steam and rain. It was always kind of like we're going to have some visual cliches. But back then they were really striking. And there's this interesting shorthand to the future that really had figured out that he kind of started with the Alien but definitely kind of blew out of the water with Blade Runner. So even though Blade Runner kind of faded away on its first release, it was still alive through these other film makers that were kind of copying it or paying homage to it along the way. And on top of that you look at the real work and it's like becoming slowly like Blade Runner. I mean look at Times Square. I mean that's Blade Runner. You look at—[to Hackett-Dick] I mean this goes back to your father's work but I mean the—paranoia about government and the corporate mindset. And that was in the film. Then you look at it today and it's--it is so much like a Blade Runner world minus the flying cars which I really want…I think that we're seeing it unfold before our eyes, and that kind of keeps it alive too.



I could go on forever!


Alex

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 13, 2013 - 2:43 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

According to the definition of many a sci-fi writer, Blade Runner is science fiction because it deals with futuristic yet credible science (replicants) and the science is affecting the human psyche and society.
So, in my opinion, it's science fiction presented in a noir wrapping.
Alex



A fair point. Thanks Alex.
But my opinion remains that if you take away all the futuristic trappings, you are still left with what is fundamentally a detective story. The reverse, however, would not be true; if one took away the detective trappings, leaving only the futuristic stuff, you would be left with an entirely different story--if there was still any recognizable story at all.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 13, 2013 - 3:11 AM   
 By:   Alex Cremers   (Member)


A fair point. Thanks Alex.
But my opinion remains that if you take away all the futuristic trappings, you are still left with what is fundamentally a detective story. The reverse, however, would not be true; if one took away the detective trappings, leaving only the futuristic stuff, you would be left with an entirely different story--if there was still any recognizable story at all.


Yes, Octoberman, but the futuristic trappings are at the center of the story. It's not just a flashy backdrop for a detective story. In the future, our science has become our problem and it will change mankind. That's is the very essence of science fiction (to me and many science fiction writers). Take away the flying cars, the pyramids and the neon, you still have the (futuristic) science asking us questions about humanity.

In case I missed it, what is your definition of science fiction and which movies do you feel are compliant?


Alex

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 13, 2013 - 3:34 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Indeed. The design and conceptualization of BLADE RUNNER and ALIEN are statements in themselves. It's a type of filmmaking that relies more on a visceral level of experience than a purely narrative one. For me, the detective story in BLADE RUNNER and the 'monster on the loose' story in ALIEN are secondary to these concerns. Both of these are about putting the audience member in a certain mood (dystopian and freudian, respectively) and draw value from that.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 13, 2013 - 4:10 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Yes, Octoberman, but the futuristic trappings are at the center of the story. It's not just a flashy backdrop for a detective story. In the future, our science has become our problem and it will change mankind. That's is the very essence of science fiction (to me and many science fiction writers). Take away the flying cars, the pyramids and the neon, you still have the (futuristic) science asking us questions about humanity.
In case I missed it, what is your definition of science fiction and which movies do you feel are compliant?
Alex



Don't get me wrong. I love the sci-fi elements that exist in all the movies we've been talking about. To me the basics stories are enriched immeasurably because of them.

As to your point about taking away the flying cars, etc. that you said above... I completely agree that what remains makes us ponder all those questions, but all of that stuff is part of what I feel is the total message or concept of the movie--they don't necessarily drive the plot. That is perhaps the essence of what I've been trying to say: that these films can be, and often are about larger ideas, but the traditional "sci-fi" environment in which they take place doesn't always change the way the basic plot unfolds once it's been set in motion. The plot and the message are two different things.

To put it another way--Deckard is given an assignment. He has to chase down some bad cats. He doesn't care that they are artificial. That detail is actually incidental at that point. It's a chase to put them down before they do more damage. When Batty saves his life at the end, Batty himself could just as easily have been just some psycho who came from a broken home and the act of saving Deckard's life would still have been the same amazing gesture of humanity and grace. Sure, it has an extra resonance to us that Batty's not human because we are groomed to think and feel that way through the progress of the entire movie.
Another example would be the spinners. Very cool, but if the movie didn't have them, Deckard would still somehow get from point A to point B. The Voight-Kampff machine? That's really just a twist on the old lie-detector test.

Anyway, it bears mentioning that my thoughts about this issue should not be perceived as slights against these films in any way. They are superlative films. In particular, "Alien" and BR are two of my all-time favorites. (And for what it's worth, my personal interpretation is that Deckard was human.)

What defines science-fiction to me? I'm not even sure I know any more. I used to be a lot more dogmatic about it when I was younger. I guess now I'd have to say that it would be any story that absolutely could NOT take place if the technology in question was not there. That without it, there would simply be no story to tell that couldn't be told just as well using more conventional practical devices. But who can say? That could easily change with time.
Whether that criteria was illustrated in a valid way in all of my comments above is a matter of opinion, I guess. And I knew going in that my opinion would not be one with which many would agree--assuming I could even explain it properly in the first place.

(Yikes, this was long-winded! Sorry. big grin)

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 13, 2013 - 5:41 AM   
 By:   Alex Cremers   (Member)

Blade Runner is a theme driven film, not a plot driven film. Is that not what we've been hearing for decades now? wink

I understand what you mean, Octoberman, but even though I stand behind the statement above, I'm not altogether sure whether the plot and the characters are not somewhat forwarded by the science of the story as well. The discriminated and shortchanged replicant wants answers and solutions to his problem. The replicant wants to change his condition and therefore he needs to find his creator. However, his mission, his quest ... is made difficult by a bureaucrat, a human who is assigned to stop the uncontrollable science from doing any damage. Due to previous encounters with the science at hand, the bureaucrat is reluctant to do his task. And every new encounter makes him questioning his own deeds. While the science - especially in the latest incarnation - is becoming more and more human, the bureaucrat finds that he is becoming more and more inhuman. At the end of his journey, he decides to quite his task for good andhe runs off with one of the replicants he was suppose to 'retire', regaining his own humanity in the process. But wait, there's more, in the very last scene, an unexpected twist in the plot tells us they actually have been using the science of the story to stop the replicants. We now can rewatch the whole movie and look at it through the eyes of an artificial protagonist. How cyberpunk of Ridley!


Alex

 
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