Science Fiction Genre in Movies and TV Shows• I. Introduction II. History of Science Fiction Genre III. Analysis of The Star Wars, VI. Mad Scientists theme in Back to the Future, and “Fringe”. V. Analysis of The Matrix, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind VI. Conclusion
• Thesis Statement: Science fiction movies, since it first came out in 1902, contained the zeitgeist of every decade and until now, were used as a tool of metaphor that reflects the society’s and individuals’ desires and fears, and ultimately became the indispensible part of the popular culture.
History of Science Fiction• Science fiction film history almost starts with the motion picture industry but it was not until 1960s that the genre was taken seriously.
• The first example of science fiction movie is A Trip to the Moon by George Meiles in 1902. It was based on Jules Verne’s novel From the Earth to the Moon. It is a 14 minutes long, silent movie.
1910s• Science fiction literature continued to influence early films. Jules Vernes classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was adapted into the film in 1916, one of the first feature-length science fiction films. First World War and the German Undersea boats made this movie popular.
1920s• In that era of Roaring Twenties, people were interested in material things, wealth, physical funs of the world. As a result, there was no interest to science fiction at all.
1930s• With the Great Depression that began in 1929. Audiences began to pursue films with more escapist themes, leading to a decline in serious speculative films.
1940s• The decade saw the rise of film serials: low- budget, quickly-produced, futuristic, heroic adventures. Action and melodramatic plots. Echoes of this style can still be seen in science fiction and action films today• They continued to use science fiction elements like space travel, high-tech gadgets, plots for world domination, and mad scientists.
1950s• Two events at the end of World War II had major impacts on the science fiction genre. The development of the atomic bomb increased interest in science, as well as anxiety about the possible apocalyptic effects of a nuclear war. The period also saw the beginning of the Cold War, and wide-spread Communist paranoia in the United States. These created a Golden Age of Science Fiction along with the one taking place in literature.
• Alien films saw gained popularity during the 1950s. Many featured political commentary being mixed with the concept of UFOs, which was into the public consciousness after the Kenneth Arnold and Roswell incidents of 1947. (who first claimed to see UFOs)
• The first of this kind was The Day the Earth Stood Still (1958), directed by Robert Wise
• However, in the second half of the decade, the steady success of the genre led to some studios attempting serious films with large budgets, including the coldly realistic depiction of a post-nuclear war world.
• Forbidden Planet, (1956) a sci-fi re- imagining of Shakespeares ”The Tempest”, had an impact on the genre for years to come; it included the first all- electronic music score, introduced the character Robby the Robot, and served as the inspiration for Star Trek.
1960’s• Several other important science fiction films were released in the 1960s. Planet of the Apes (1968) was extremely popular, spawning four sequels and a television series. Earlier in the 1960s, Fahrenheit 451 was a social commentary on freedom of speech and government restrictions.
1970s• The era of manned trips to the Moon saw a resurgence of interest in the science fiction film in the 1970s. The space discoveries created a growing sense of marvel about the universe that was reflected in this era’s films, such as Star Wars.• However, the early 1970s also saw the continued theme of paranoia, with humanity under threat from ecological or technological threats of its own creation.
• Notable films of this period included: Silent Running (ecology), the sequels to Planet of the Apes (man vs. evolution), Westworld (man vs. robot) THX 1138 (man vs. the state) Stanley Kubricks A Clockwork Orange (man vs. brainwashing).
1980s• Following the huge success of Star Wars, (1977) science fiction became profitable and each major studio rushed into production their available projects. As a direct result, Star Trek was reborn as a film franchise that continued through the 1980s and 1990s. Scotts Blade Runner; far from presenting a sleek, ordered universe, presented the future as dark, dirty and chaotic.
• The strongest contributors to the genre during the second half of the decade were James Cameron and Paul Verhoeven with The Terminator and RoboCop. Steven Spielbergs E.T. the Extra- Terrestrial became one of the most successful films of the 1980s.
1990s• The emergence of the world wide web and the cyberpunk genre during the 1990s spawned several Internet-themed films. and The Matrix (1999) created a machine-run virtual prison for humanity.
2000s• In the first decade of the 21st Century, Sci-fi films turned away from space travel, and fantasy dominated, such as the Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions.
• Science fiction has returned to being a tool for political commentary in recent times with films like Artificial Intelligence and Minority Report with the former questioning the increasing materialism of todays world and the latter questioning the political and crime situations surrounding the world post 9/11.
• An unique movie was released in 2004, the first science fiction romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In 2009, the most known and instantly famous science fiction movie was Avatar by James Cameron. It was also controversial for not having an unique plot, being like the space version for Captain John Smith’s “Pocahontas” story in “A Description of New England” (1606)
• In 2010, Inception by Christopher Rolan was a big hit, questioning reality like The Matrix, by its subject of dreams.• “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream” Edgar Allan Poe
China Bans Time Travel in TV and Movies• In March 2011, Chinese State Adminsitration of TV and Film, accused time-travel shows, and mythical stories of having bizarre plots, absurd techniques, even propagating, feudal superstitions, fatalism and reincarnation, ambiguous moral lessons, and a lack of positive thinking." The government said TV dramas should not have characters that travel back in time and rewrite history. They say this goes against Chinese heritage. As a result, the most knows and beloved series like Back to the Future, “Fringe” and “Doctor Who” are now banned in China
Mad Scientists in Back to the Future and “Fringe”Dr. Emmett Brown Dr. Walter Bishop
• Much Madness is divinest Sense – To a discerning Eye – Much Sense -- the starkest Madness – Tis the Majority In this, as All, prevail – Assent -- and you are sane – Demur -- youre straightway dangerous – And handled with a Chain – “Poem 435” by Emily Dickinson
• “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” Edgar Allan Poe
“Fringe”-Deals with the science issues that we couldnever imagine possible.- Concept of parallel universe is the main theme.- By the parallel universe, it questions whetherfate or free will, dominate our lives.- Fringe Division of FBI solves crimes. Thecommon features for crime shows are also in“Fringe”. All people in the division become likethe family
• In the allegory, Plato describes prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads. All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire, while puppeteers, behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. The prisoners are only able to see and hear the shadows and echoes cast by objects that they cannot see.
• The Matrix is in the same case, mankind is only aware of its existence through machines. As Neo says while he goes to see the Oracle: “I have these memories from my life and none of them happened”. However, the machines, like the puppeteers, also share that false reality.
• The prisoner who lives the cave, comes into the sun and their eyes are blinded by the light. The same can be seen when Neo first came out of The Matrix and Neo said “My eyes. I cant see.. was told thats because you have never used them before”. In the Cave the prisoners never used their eyes truly, they were always in the darkness where they could not see behind themselves to see what was the source of the shadows
Neo - One Having realized he has “been living in a dream world”, Neo has to “free his mind”. Plato also imposes a mission on the “One” who discovers the dual worlds; he has to free the other prisoners. That is Neos mission, he will save humanity by showing everybody the truth.• In that way, Matrix appears to be a philosophical metaphor of self-consciousness setting itself free, with the paths you choose in your life, which is symbolled by the red pill and the blue pill.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind• It is the first science-fiction romance. It reflects people’s desire to forget somebody or something that gives pain in their lives. Combines with Science-fiction elements to visualize it.