What does science-fiction mean to you? Does it mean aliens from outer space or intergalactic travel or does it simply mean futuristic? The beauty of science-fiction is that it has become all of these things and more and will only continue to flourish. Whether you are depicting distopian futures or chromed out metropolises with flying cars and robots, you are going to be correct as well as satisfied. There are not many genres that come close to science-fiction in the department of flexibility and constant growth. Genres mesh and borrow from each other like siblings without a care in the world, some are successful while other’s are looked at like the red-headed step child. Through this technique of advancing a genre, sci-fi has made a living off transcending through cinematic imagery and bold ideas through (quite literally) out of this world storytelling.
Where else do you see genres like westerns, gangster flicks, comedies, romance, adventure/action, and so on come to life on one screen? There is a complex beauty in the world of science-fiction and that’s because the ideas reach from every end of the spectrum towards the next. That spectrum of films is like a musician strumming a guitar. With every different strum, there can be a different tune can be made. Not only does it produce widely plausible notions to the human cortex in our brains, but also in our hearts as the stories can fulfill deeply emotional ideas and concepts others would think to be ludicrous. It’s this ability to both entertain and philosophically endear us that the genre has lived on for so long. That is a trait that makes science fiction filming such a perfect genre and we are the recipients of the constant flow of songs.
A song I’ve never quite enjoyed has always been Star Trek, not the J.J. Abrams ones, but the original shows and series, but Star Trek has always been like The Beatles where I appreciate what they did to change our world and culture, but I’m not their number one fan. Star Trek did something for not just sci-fi television, but also changed the landscape of ethnic and gender diversity for cinema. Having the first interracial on screen kiss ever is an incredible, why? Because it was fictional, but isn’t fictional is how significantly it chipped the armor of racism and sexism in Hollywood. Not only have there since been countless films with healthy mixtures of men and women from all backgrounds, but in strong leading roles. Some of the most iconic female leads have mostly been from sci-fi movies e.i. Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien, Zoe Saldana in Avatar, Star Trek, and now Guardians of the Galaxy, but let’s not forget roles in Terminator as well as Carey Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars.
You saw the outcry of a black male lead and white female lead for this new Star Wars film and how silly that all was, but when you realize how much diversity has factored into the characters of films like this, it’s almost laughable other films didn’t catch on quickly after. This isn’t to say that all films require a rainbow of people every time, but it should have at least sparked a wave of more chances for diverse actors and actresses. For all brand of actors out there, there is a form and style of sci-fi that will suit their skills, whether large or small.
Opportunity lies in science-fiction and it limits no man, woman, or storyteller. Without it, we aren’t given some of the most smartly written science driven pieces in cinema nor the iconic status of so many films that would come far later in the genres conception.
The subject matter of all these films coexist in our lives and mindsets once the camera stops rolling without us often thinking a second about it. Ideas as large as the division of societies and the crippling of mankind through technological advancements or the division of classes can be seen through futuristic tales of survival and restoration. Only through exaggerated imagery do these concepts hit us so vigorously and the landscape tends to come through sci-fi. But often enough, there are films that purely love detailing a great story, and there’s nothing wrong with informing us to recycle along the way — just not in Tomorrowland’s style please — and we are cool with it because at the end of the day, we just want diversity and some exceptional movies and sci-fi is the outlet we can always rely on.