It seems like Hollywood is on a recycling binge. JJ Abrams got Star Trek back and is now tapped to direct Star Wars but you can blame James Cameroon for that – he raised the bar by breaking box office records with Avatar opening the door once again to limitless possibilities.
The science fiction genre deals with futuristic technologies or biological advancement, this genre has the most fun with “what if?” questions. Anything is possible as long as it’s believable. It lets us experience, to see our own culture from the outside and ask questions. Star Wars in the past had set the bar and there were many less successful sci-fi films afterwards. Then in the 90’s we got Matrix and the prequels to Star Wars. Then it fizzled.
This revival of sci-fi mania now is due to filmmakers challenging themselves, putting their passions in the story, the character, and quality. They keep pushing the genre as technology gets cheaper and more readily available, pushing the industry forward. Some films are inspiring, some make you cringe. Nevertheless, films like Attack the Block, Looper, District 9, Pacific Rim, Oblivion are unique, original ideas that pay off. They are risks that create a buzz, feed the intellectual and foster a fan base that embraces a challenge and excitement. The misconception that sci-fi has to be heavy on spectacle and undemanding on ideas is wrong. Watch Super 8 or Chronicles, they are intelligent stories with smart visual effects. This proves that the possibilities are endless.
The visual effects revolution might be one of the biggest factors that is allowing Hollywood filmmakers to create immense worlds, nonetheless, contemporary society is still influential – the concerns about the future state, current fascinations and technology. The filmmakers are now keeping it real.
We already have cool gadgets in our pockets and Richard Branson is heading out into orbit soon. Remember that meteorite in Russia? This fascination will never end as long as we keep asking “what if?” and Hollywood will always be there to quench our thirst visually.