Discuss: What constitutes a Sci Fi movie? — Part 1/?

[9/15/12 8:59:33 PM] sam: ok question
[9/15/12 8:59:35 PM] sam: do you consider Inception a Sci Fi movie?


[9/15/12 8:59:47 PM] alanah: hm….
[9/15/12 8:59:52 PM] alanah: my impulse was to say no
[9/15/12 8:59:54 PM] alanah: but let me think
[9/15/12 9:00:00 PM] alanah: i mean….no
[9/15/12 9:00:23 PM] alanah: I – emphasis on the I – do not consider it to be a sci fi movie, but i understand that, technically, it falls into the category
[9/15/12 9:00:55 PM] alanah: considering the science would be dreamscaping, which doesnt exist, but could potentially in a highly evolved future
[9/15/12 9:00:59 PM] alanah: which is a basis of sci fi
[9/15/12 9:02:06 PM] alanah: also, since it involves hallmarks of science fiction, i can see that
[9/15/12 9:02:15 PM] alanah: but it is not a genre film
[9/15/12 9:02:33 PM] alanah: i mean, like supernatural and x files and buffy are genre television
[9/15/12 9:02:42 PM] alanah: its not….typical of the genre
[9/15/12 9:02:57 PM] alanah: and it doesnt evoke sci fi in my mind, because the point of it is a really specific drama
[9/15/12 9:03:11 PM] alanah: id categorize it a drama, or a psychological thriller, even
[9/15/12 9:03:34 PM] alanah: the major arc of the story isnt to defeat the science, which most sci fi is about
[9/15/12 9:03:51 PM] alanah: its about defeating one’s fears/emotional issues
[9/15/12 9:04:03 PM] alanah: sci fi is always about defeating a science
[9/15/12 9:04:12 PM] alanah: unless its dystopic, in which its defeating injustice
[9/15/12 9:04:16 PM] alanah: or some kind of oppression

[9/15/12 9:04:28 PM] sam: read The Hunger Games
[9/15/12 9:04:30 PM] sam: lol

[9/15/12 9:04:33 PM] alanah: lol
[9/15/12 9:04:49 PM] alanah: i was thinking 1984, Brave New World, or I, Robot
[9/15/12 9:04:50 PM] alanah: lol
[9/15/12 9:05:05 PM] alanah: but yes, The Hunger Games is a dystopic novel, in my mind, not a science fiction novel

[9/15/12 9:05:07 PM] sam: yeah right those are good too :p

[9/15/12 9:05:24 PM] alanah: though it is justifiable to attach sci fi to the end of its subjects list
[9/15/12 9:05:30 PM] alanah: hhahahah
[9/15/12 9:05:38 PM] alanah: but yeah

[9/15/12 9:05:38 PM] sam: yeah

[9/15/12 9:05:39 PM] alanah: inception….
[9/15/12 9:05:42 PM] alanah: totally a drama
[9/15/12 9:05:44 PM] alanah: not sci fi
[9/15/12 9:05:47 PM] alanah: you?

[9/15/12 9:06:00 PM] sam: I agree for the most part
[9/15/12 9:06:11 PM] sam: i think it fits into a very very literal definition of science fiction
[9/15/12 9:06:34 PM] sam: wherein you have some kind of science that drives the story that in the current time period is a thing of fantasy
[9/15/12 9:06:56 PM] sam: but yeah the science itself not being the crux of the matter is probably what makes it feel not sci-fi-y
[9/15/12 9:07:29 PM] sam: if i were to categorize with other movies I would probably place it alongside Pi or like Donnie Darko
[9/15/12 9:07:46 PM] sam: definitely feels more psychological thriller-ish to me

[9/15/12 9:08:14 PM] alanah: totes agree

[9/15/12 9:08:21 PM] sam: but yeah i’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what things really classify as science fiction
[9/15/12 9:09:09 PM] sam: like is the fact that we’d say Hunger Games is dystopian before we’d say it’s science fiction indicitive of a lower caliber of science fiction
[9/15/12 9:09:17 PM] sam: or is science fiction just this huuuuge umbrella

[9/15/12 9:09:20 PM] alanah: hm…..

[9/15/12 9:09:24 PM] sam: that a lot of things fall into

[9/15/12 9:09:34 PM] alanah: i feel like sci fi is umbrella-esque in literal def
[9/15/12 9:09:45 PM] alanah: i like the diff between literal def and true def tho
[9/15/12 9:09:49 PM] alanah: i like that terminology
[9/15/12 9:10:03 PM] alanah: i mean, from back when i was in my sci fi lit class, the caliber of sci fi we looked at was formulaic
[9/15/12 9:10:13 PM] alanah: and not badly so, just incredibly obviously
[9/15/12 9:10:19 PM] alanah: sci fi is born out of fear of science
[9/15/12 9:10:30 PM] alanah: not that people who watch or read or enjoy sci fi fear it
[9/15/12 9:10:35 PM] alanah: but those who make sci fi do
[9/15/12 9:11:08 PM] alanah: its born out of fear that AI will make robots take over the world, that space exploration will result in alien invasion, that medical research will make us zombies
[9/15/12 9:11:27 PM] alanah: its all fear based, and the plots always come from trying to defeat or survive the science-turned-evil
[9/15/12 9:11:53 PM] alanah: so, if the plot of a film doesnt abide by that rule, id venture to say its not true sci fi, even if it fits a literal definition
[9/15/12 9:11:57 PM] alanah: *is very pleased*
[9/15/12 9:12:00 PM] alanah: I LIKE THIS DISCUSSION
[9/15/12 9:12:04 PM] alanah: THIS IS A RICH QUESTION
[9/15/12 9:12:06 PM] alanah: /
[9/15/12 9:12:10 PM] alanah: *dances*

[9/15/12 9:12:48 PM] sam: lol
[9/15/12 9:13:35 PM] sam: yes
[9/15/12 9:14:31 PM] sam: now i’m trying to think of examples of classic sci fi where it isn’t necessarily the science that’s the evil thing
[9/15/12 9:14:53 PM] sam: i keep thinking star wars, because there it’s just evil…that’s the evil thing
[9/15/12 9:15:21 PM] sam: and whose side has the most destructive technology is a matter of perspective

[9/15/12 9:17:05 PM] alanah: me too lol
[9/15/12 9:17:22 PM] alanah: but wow, i dont think id call star wars sci fi
[9/15/12 9:17:30 PM] alanah: id call it a mythological epic, or a space drama
[9/15/12 9:17:31 PM] alanah: lol
[9/15/12 9:17:41 PM] alanah: because it follow the Hero’s Journey arc so frakking exactly
[9/15/12 9:17:46 PM] alanah: *mind blown*

[9/15/12 9:17:56 PM] sam: lol

[9/15/12 9:18:17 PM] alanah: i mean, yeah, its a “classic” example, but if i think about it, i would call it an epic, not a sci fi film…tho it is genre specific
[9/15/12 9:18:19 PM] alanah: @_@
[9/15/12 9:18:25 PM] alanah: THIS IS RUINING MY BRAIN AWESOMELY
[9/15/12 9:18:49 PM] sam: lol

Authors’ note: We find this question INSANELY intriguing. We will likely continue this discussion over several posts, and we encourage comments that ask relevant questions or make points that we can address in follow-ups. The implications surrounding Star Wars being or not being technically “sci-fi” are especially interesting to us. Comment away!


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