26/12/2012

The fascinating science of fiction




It doesn’t matter if the film is about robots, aliens, space or time travel, science fiction movies have a great influence on our culture. From the B-Movies in the 50’s to the hi-tech special effects of the 21st century, there is something about these stories that continues to amaze one generation after the other, specially teenagers and young adults, but why is that so?

To understand this fascination, first we have to try to figure out what is common to all good science fiction movies, and that has something to do with the main characters of the stories. Mainly, it is always the technology that somehow changes the world the character is used to, and it is how he deals with these changes that the stories are all about.

For instance, take such different movies as E.T. and The Matrix. One is about a little boy who finds an extra-terrestrial being that changes his life when he has to go on a quest to save his E.T. friend from the malevolent government’s agents. The other is about a young man who discovers that his entire world is a computer program and then goes on a quest to free and save all the people trapped in the program. Both become heroes after having to overcome their fears and weaknesses to help someone else.

The special effects are stunning in both films, but I believe they only play a secondary role in all good sci-fi movies. They are there to emphasize the alternative reality that the characters, and the audience, have to deal with. But what catches our attention is the fact that, no matter how strange and technological our world can become, we are human beings and we can overcome the most challenging situations if we want to. They also remind us of how inventive we are and how dangerous that can be. And young people simply love inventive and dangerous things, that’s why they love sci-fi movies.

No comments: