1. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    What are you tired of seeing in Sci-Fi movies?

    Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Uberwatch, Feb 1, 2015.

    Hello everyone, as most of you are working on your first novel or practicing on writing one, I'm pretty much doing script work. So I feel like I'm really the only movie guy on WF. That being said, let's talk about science fiction movies. However, I have had some problems with the latest sci-fi movie trends lately.

    I feel that special-effects have become the selling point of sci-fi movies, rather than a tool to enhance a fictional world that would otherwise be really hard or impossible to depict in reality. Take a look at the Oscars every year. Most Oscars for science fiction films are shoved for the special effects category. Either the Academy is too snobbish and elite or that the writing in big-budget sci-fi isn't really good enough to win Best screenplay/Best Picture.

    2. Franchises. I will admit, I'm a fan of some sci-fi franchises out there, but when it comes to movies, these are big game for the box office market. 2015 is the year for a few big ones. Star Wars Episode 7, Jurassic World, and Terminator :Genisys are just the few of them. While I do want to check these out, I know that these films are less likely to blow my mind. These films exist solely to make money so they can feed off the nostalgia factor and acquired fanbases from these franchises. I mean, the director or writer for these movies might bring up the themes and philosophical points in the story in some interview, but I know they aren't really serious about it.

    3. Lack of creativity. I think this is one of the reasons why I'm gonna start venturing more into sci-fi literature. I've seen a lot of uninspired sci-fi worlds on the big screen. Even ones from movies that I liked a lot. I'm talking about poor extrapolation on predicting a future world. You don't need to get all hyper-optimistic like it's Star Trek but boy have I seen a lot of stories that are set 200 years from now, but still look like it's the present. I'm going to be pointing fingers at the movie Elysium which is a film that seems to occupy my mind every now and then. This was probably because I became a fan of the director Neil Blomkamp after his debut film, District 9 then suddenly became disappointed after Elysium.

    These are just a few things I can list off the top of my head so if you're into sci-fi movies, what's bothering you about some of them? Kind of sad how some the good recent sci-fi films are the ones that don't get a lot of attention. (they're usually indie).
     
  2. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Didn't like-- Interstellar, Terminator (recent), Pacific Rim (awful), Snowpiercer, Transformers, Under The Skin (except for a couple of choice visuals), recent Superman (way boring), Elysium.

    Liked -- Project Almanac, Starwars, Star Trek, Matrix, Avatar, Alien, Lucy (ended poorly), Edge of Tomorrow, Inception, Cloud Atlas, Ironman.

    I can't say I need to see anymore 6 pack abs.
     
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  3. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    I thought Avatar was fantastic. Everyone bashed on the derivative story but the world of Pandora was so unique and amazing. I think it's one of the more realistic alien planets depicted in sci-fi. I liked Snowpiercer actually but didn't like Lucy at all.
     
  4. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yup, that's why we see a variety of movies and books.
     
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  5. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Lucy...isn't that the movie about Scarlett Johanson turning into a thumb drive?
     
  6. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not just any thumb drive, but a star speckled, infinitely big, USB 1000000.0 thumb drive.
     
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  7. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Stuff I dislike in sci-fi:-
    • Excessive CGI (that goes for all movies though).
    • An absence of any science. Now don't get me wrong, I can happily suspend disbelief; but if the premise of a movie is fundamentally absurd (think of In Time or Looper as an example) then it had better have something good going for it, be that:- it's an interesting fable, it is visually impressive, it has Arnold Schwarzenegger running around delivering crap lines... something. But basically I get bored of the fact all film-makers seem to run scared from actual science in the false belief it will ruin their movie... so much so that Interstellar gets billed as realistic- realistic how???
    • Inconsistency in terms of the technology used.
    My favourite sci-fi is probably the same as most: Alien(s), Terminator (2), Solaris (original), Blade Runner, 2001, WALL-E, Twelve Monkeys, Fifth Element, Total Recall (original), District 9, Moon... among many others.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
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  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    SnowPiercer was excellent. You must have missed the point. :p

    Cloud Atlas was boring. Maybe the book was better.
     
  9. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Snowpiercer had a point? Cloud Atlas the book is supposed to be very good, I have on my to read list.
     
  10. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    I've noticed you brought up In Time and Looper as movies that have concepts that are "fundamentally absurd". I'm guessing it's just time travel then (except In Time which isn't time travel). It is a pretty hard concept to tackle. Looper was a cool-looking movie but had a few problems. I thought In Time was another one of those interesting but implausible dystopiamovies. It's like the writer sat down and thought "You know that saying 'time is money'? Well what if time really was money?!" A society based on time as currency just would not work.
     
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  11. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I bet that was the precise pitch to the studio.
     
  12. odolmen
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    odolmen Member

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    As far as time travel goes, I was quite blown away by Primer. Must watch it a second time, not sure I understood everything.

    Loved: "Blade Runner", "Wall-E", "Moon", "Tron", "The Matrix", "A Scanner Darkly", "Aliens", "Akira", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Avatar", "Donnie Darko", "Sunshine" (except for the last 15 minutes which ruined the movie for me), "Contact", "District 9",
    "The Man from Earth" and "K-Pax" (not exactly sci-fi but do tackle some interesting themes, and no fancy CGI in there),
    Star Wars of course, but that's not sci-fi either, that's either space opera or fantasy (despite Lucas' best try at force-feeding us with "midichlorians"...)

    Didn't like: "Transcendance", "Oblivion" (had a really good vibe until SPOILER
    -----------------------
    Tom Cruise turned into Jesus
    -----------------------

    END OF SPOILER)

    "Elysium" (-ish, wasn't as bad as Oblivion IMO), "Inception", "Cloud Atlas"...

    Both lists go on.

    The thing you pointed out about franchises is unfortunately very true. There's a lot of money involved in these "tentpole" movies as they exist solely to support the whole industry and therefore, there's no way big studios are going to invest bazilion dollars into a project which does not already have a fan base. Heck, even these can sometimes flunk big time! Think John Carter. That's why, except for Cameron's Avatar or the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending, there are no big sci-fi, space opera or fantasy movies being made based on completely new and original material. It's all novels, comicbooks, sequels, reboots.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    And this is precisely what makes In Time a purist's delight as a sci-fi movie. It doesn't matter that the premise would never come to be in real life (and I completely agree that it would not, ever). It's an extreme distortion of a concept: time is money. The distortion is a lens that allows us to focus on just the idea, the concept, in a way that isn't possible in a film that asks us to believe that is somehow plausible. That's the purpose of good Science Fiction.
    _________________________________

    One thing I deplore in Science Fiction is the utter disdain for economics, which has as a side-note, the idea that humans, en masse, will somehow alter economic dynamics in accord with altruistic motives for the betterment or furtherance of mankind. Examples ranging from Contact, where a consortium of nations shift pretty much their whole GNP to build this alien thingy, to Elysium, where we're asked to believe that the uber-rich somehow made peace with one another long enough to fuck the rest of the planet over for a singular goal, the creation of Elysium, that for some reason does not leave behind a gigantic infrastructure of construction and manufacturing, save for the manufacture of slavedriver bots that the slaves make themselves. If you want to talk about absurd, there's your absurd.
     
  14. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    With Contact, I can believe that (within reason) money would be found to undertake a project like this. Think how momentous it would be discovering an alien species and receiving a schematic from them. There would be so many compelling arguments for finding the money, not least security of the entire planet. I could certainly imagine a Great Leap Forward scenario occurring, where a lot of industry and public money turns towards the manufacture of this alien thing and crops etc suffer as a result. What I could not believe is that some rich bugger built the same thing unnoticed on the far side of the planet.

    Elysium is just crap, but it does exactly what In Time does, takes an absurd idea, that the rich and poor divide has widened too extremes and provides a lens to focus on the idea. Surely this is the purpose of good SciFi? Personally I would run with both films being crap.
     
  15. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I'm lacking the psychology of the main protagonist. But once it's there, the sci-if movie delivers with an emotionally crushing force, as in A.I. or The Moon.

    I think today's sci-if movies should step away a bit from CGI and focus more on the story's complexity (as in Inception - but there, too, were plot inconsistencies). The thing is - true to the genre - that sci-fis go hand in glove with technological progress - 2001 Space Odyssey is a showreel of then-and-today amazing effects but the protagonists are disembodied.

    Seen Primer? It might satiate your science appetite :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  16. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I was also disappointed by The Guardians of the Galaxy - it had such huge humor potential but used about a tenth of it.

    Liked: Firefly the movie
    Pandorum
    The Edge of Tomorrow
    Ghost in The Shell (anime)
    Tron (the trailer)
    Inception

    Also, Mad Max trailer looks promissing.
     
  17. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Snowpiercer looks like an adaptation of Iron Council by China MiƩville...
     
  18. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I am tired of seeing not enough space battles. They all have too much drama.

    Yes, I watch sci-fi movies for the destruction of space ships.
     
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  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Things I don't like -
    Bigger is Better syndrome - Mind you I liked The Matrix but I didn't like the sequels as much - The whole bigger is better gets real obnoxious, real fast and can even seem goofy. The story got too big and then implausible. They really wrote themselves into a corner.

    Overwinded - John Carter - Overlong, the first twenty minutes could've been clipped. Had a nice old-school sci-fi feel to it though, that I miss in recent movies. Every character nowadays seems so disgruntled and moody - there's no awe like Rod Taylor in The Time Machine.

    Thin Plots - The class struggle in Elysium seemed rather old hat. I found it a bit of a bore, a waste of a good cast too. Also, I wish Neill Blomkamp would tone down his f words all his characters sound the same. Also After Earth - not much to it. Might've been better if the director would stop directing every moment as if it's the climax.

    You lost me - Looper - it wasn't bad but overly complicated. But I like Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis. Different actors though, I might've dismissed it.

    Slow - Oblivion - a little slow and I could sort of see the twist coming. Without the twist a real bore and that the trouble with concentrating too much on the twist.

    Obvious Plot Holes - Prometheus - plot holes galore and worse for me was it tried to take itself so seriously. It had nothing on Alien or Alien 2.

    Huge Robot Syndrome - I decided to skip Pacific Rim ( even though I like Charlie Hunan ) The only huge robots I seen in a movie that I liked was the underrated Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

    Comic Books Super Heros - Avengers - a lot of special effects and CGI and too many characters. Love Robert Downey Jr though.

    Teenage heros - The Hunger Games - Mind you I don't mind teenage heros but there was something creepy about this given the fact of real life school shootings and the camera never quite focusing on the actual violence.


    Sci-fi Movies I love - Terminator 1 & 2, Brazil, Blade runner, The Fifth Element, Wall-e, eXistenZ, Jurassic Park, Twelve Monkeys, Dark City, Westworld, Stargate, The Time Machine, Moon, Silent Running.
    I even liked bits of Pandorum, Event Horizon and Monsters.
     
  20. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    I'm getting a little tired of the evil human race beating up another primitive race and getting their asses handed to them via spears and thrown rocks.

    Ewoks
    The race from Avator (didn't see the movie so I don't remember their names, was it Na'vi?).

    District 9 showed humans murdering the aliens and not once did they fight back.

    Hell, my aliens are going to be superior on tech, psych and emotion, but seeking peace so they don't have to exterminate a species. They haven't been forced to yet and they would rather avoid it, but they are ready if that moment of truth should come. Humans are going to put their patience to the test, but at the very least, the main character and his soldiers will be killing select groups as needed.
     
  21. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    I always thought stories like Avatar and District 9 were a bit rare. It's usullly the "primitive" human race that gets their ass-kicked by an ultra-advanced alien race but somehow we manage to beat them by one little flaw. Water, computer virus, etc.
     
  22. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well Avatar is just Pocahontas; dam I disliked that film (Avatar) with a vengeance- just a hideous mess of CGI. It looked like a child's colouring book.

    District 9 is a quality film though and fairly original.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
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  23. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Speaking of borrowing from literature, "To Live Forever," is a novel from Jack Vance based on a society that also dishes out life, in terms of tiers (you can live till 25, you can live 75, etc), the ultimate tier, of course being immortality. The currency isn't money. It's accomplishment. Accomplishment is the new currency. Scientists, artists, explorers, the ones who SHOULD be getting the credit, finally are. No idea if this society is feasible, but it should be.
     
  24. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Off the top of my head, my favorites are Alien, Aliens, Matrix, 2001: Space Odyssey, Gravity and Blade Runner. I thought the world of Fifth Element was pretty cool, but the actors ruined it for me. I don't like Bruce Willis, Jovovich can't act to save her life and Gary Oldman, whom I usually really like, was just too dramatic for my blood.

    Not strictly sci-fi, but I really liked Heavy Metal. :oops:

    I like both hard sciencey movies and sci-fi with more fantastical elements as long as the story and the characters are good and well-written. By well-written I mean no stupid, lazy writing that underestimates the viewer, thank you very much. I can't count how many times I've quit watching a TV show 'cause it was incredibly idiotically written. Last one was Orphan Black. People say it's great, but if the MC's idiocy is used to cause conflict, I won't be too entertained. Unless there're some other awesome, redeeming factors, like with The Matrix.

    And please, please make CGI go away, or at least I wish film makers used it way more sparingly.
     
  25. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I like 2001: A Space Odyssey (intelligent and visionary masterpiece, especially for its time),
    Alien, Aliens (scary as hell but great action. One of the best female action heroes EVER!)
    Terminator, I guess Terminator 2 but it wasn't as good as the original,
    Avatar (in spite of the derivative plot and often silly dialogue - the visuals saved it for me),
    The Matrix (but the sequels are unwatchable),
    Gravity (drama, believability, and a great lead performance),
    Jurassic Park (like the concept, just scary enough, and this time Spielberg's overly-precocious kids work for me),
    Stargate (loved all the weird Egyptian mumbo-jumbo in the first act, especially),
    Contact (I like this movie a lot. It dealt with its material intelligently and I'm a big Jodie Foster fan).
    Many more, I'm sure, but that's my current list.

    I don't like Prometheus (waaaaay too fucking stupid),
    Event Horizon (I hate this movie more than any movie I've ever seen. It was trying, and succeeding, to actively drive me out of the room.),
    The Fifth Element (visuals are too busy, and awful performances - especially the intolerable Chris Tucker)
    John Carter (really more of a fantasy, but slow, predictable, and a bit silly all around)
    E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (Spielberg goes for the emotional throat and misses badly, and I don't like his overly-precocious kids in this one)
    A.I. (Very good first act, so-so second act, third act is a giant pile of WTF???)
    Inception (Christopher Nolan is too chilly for me - even more so than Kubrick. I tend to hate his movies.)
     
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