The art of showing, not telling?
August 31, 2008 12:25 AM Subscribe
What science fiction films are there, iyho, that really measure up to the best of written work in that genre?
posted by protorp to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
The past couple of days I've rewatched The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions. Enjoyed them as much as I had done the first time I saw them - I think they're good films, especially when watched back to back (ish) and especially if you're a bit 'keyed in' to SF, esp. cyberpunk, and its generic models / conventions (and this, I think explains why a lot of people I know who aren't into SF slated them as convoluted, confusing, with too much acronym laden babble for their liking).
What struck me, however, was that:
1. There's quite a lot of Hollywood "action/war-film-norm" filler (the Kid in Revolutions running ammo to the sergeant's APU then saving the day when sergeant gets wasted, for eg.)
2. There's really quite a lot of dropping down from SF convention driven plot babble to explain things in as simple terms as possible to the audience without breaking the 4th wall.
3. Actually, the AI vs. human, virtual world, what is the nature of reality (SF babble!) plot, even at its most convoluted, doesn't break any substantial new ground in SF ideas.
Now I can understand completely why this had to be, particularly in these films no. 2 and 3 of a surprise hit mega-franchise, but what I'd like to know is the following:
1. What films are there which truly sustain the sense of wonder, conceptual imagination and depth of possibility that the best written SF does, even if that means complete disregard for the audience knowing what's going on?
2. What films, if any, are there that have truly done a great written work of SF justice, from start to finish?
3. What films, if any, are there that have pushed the boundaries of ideas within the genre of SF before these being (extensively) explored in written form?
I'm approaching this as someone who reads and knows a huge amount more about written SF than they watch films (of any sort!), so please let me know the obvious as well as the obscure. And a handful of names to partially illustrate my idea of good written SF would be Ian M. Banks, Dan Simmons, Vernor Vinge, Philip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, Frank Herbert . . .