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Old 24th November 2010, 01:27 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Re: My problem with SF on TV and film today.

JD has nailed it.
..these Hollywood people...sigh* ...are often similar to a spoiled 14-year old, no exaggeration. I've talked to a few, involved in these big projects, say AVP..and it's hopeless. They really and truly have come up in a wealthy self-centered world , where they don't have to ever grow up...and it's all a big game. If they don't have the ability to do something themselves, they pay someone then do what they want with it.
HEY ! Why don't we make the aliens...infect that pregnant woman. That would be really gross! We could have a bunch of them pop out of her stomach! Cool!
It's really at that level. Everyone complains about it and they are right to. These people actually think it's their job to..I dunno..'push the envelope'.. or whatever nonsense it is they believe. So really, a lot of what we see may as well be made by spoiled kids - cleaned up a bit based on the demographics of course.
Could any one of us walk in there and do a better job, with all the resources at
our behest? Probably, yes!
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Old 24th November 2010, 12:29 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Re: My problem with SF on TV and film today.

Well, there's a few factors, I suspect, but for me the problem is as often as not bad and lazy writing. I've seen some SF that really would be outwritten by a computer game plot. The whole questioning, challenging element of SF is often replaced on the screen by a sort of special-forces-on-the-moon that makes Warhammer look like Das Boot.* There are exceptions, and some are done much better than others, but still...

Speeches in SF blockbusters are beginning to become a pet hate of mine, especially the ones written by randomly choosing nouns from Churchill and/or the Constitution. "Today, we stand together as brothers, to face the first darkest dawn of mankind's new hour! An hour of madness. An hour of fear. An hour of liberty. I say never! Never shall humanity fight to allow our freedom not to be stolen from us..." Yawn. If you're not Shakespeare and you're not doing it for laughs, please don't put speeches in.

*In fairness I should add that daft, big-budget war films of the Where Eagles Dare variety, where our chaps kill thousands of baddies and war is more fun than it is hell, aren't and probably can't be made any more. I think SF has taken over this role to a certain extent, as per Aliens and Starship Troopers, neither of which is bad.
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Old 11th December 2010, 06:55 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Re: My problem with SF on TV and film today.

The issue with a sci-fi tv show isn't what the show is, it's who's doing it. Get HBO or Showtime to do a sci-fi show and it will be quality. HBO are doing fantasy in a Game of Thrones, so it's not out of the realms of possibility that one or the other may pick something up in the future.
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Old 26th December 2011, 09:28 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Re: My problem with SF on TV and film today.

Originally Posted by Moonbat View Post
I think the concensus is that writing for TV is a serperate skill from writing for books and novels, and there is no doubt that it is. TV is a visual medium, there is much less scope for internal dialogue (within the person's head) and so any themes or internal conflict need to be expressed visually. That's not to say that SF writers (of books) are incapable to transfering their skills to the small (or big) screen its just that the prodcution companies feel safer if the screenplay is handled by those used to writing for the visual medium.
I think JD's strongest point is the required scientific knowledge. George Lucas created Starwars which is a classic of film but it is obivous he didn't really have a full understanding of the scientific restrictions. But then fiction is just that; fiction.
I think that films must have appeal that goes beyond science-fiction enthusiasts, and this is one of the problems or factors that limits what stories are chosen for film adaptations. Granted, I do not know of any science fiction stories that are so much about the science as they are about characters who must live in the scientific cultures themselves. Was FRANKENSTEIN about the science or about the abandoned child/creature? I have FRANKENSTEIN... A NORTON CRITICAL EDITION, and this was the focus of my class CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LITERATURE that opened my eyes to the vast number of interpretations.

Yet, there may be some, perhaps many who would not even consider watching a sci-fi or fantasy film. Filmmakers may hesitate to invest big bucks in stories that though they are essentially about the characters, are just too involved with the high-tech gadgets that they may scare away many who might otherwise enjoy them. Novels can take time to ensure that readers grasp the important aspects of the technology, while films often must assume that viewers will figure-it-out on their own.

I do not recall BLADERUNNER explaining much other than the empathy test, all the other high-tech stuff was just there; you simply had to accept it. Likewise, STAR TREK immersed us in a world of technology that was assumed to be sufficiently comprehensible to viewers. We did not need to know about the transporters other than their purpose; a few inherent problems that could occur under certain circumstances were introduced as plots required them. But, who would have imagined that a guy could be split into a Jekyll & Hyde pair? In a story involving automatic weapons, if one should jam on a bad round, though we may never have heard of this before, it does not seem so much like deus ex machina as does the transporter malfunction, or the phaser overload, though we may readily accept both as we watch them for the 1st time.

I think STAR WARS at least the 1st 2 made did a better job on this than TREK. I really cannot recall any instances of deus ex machina, though there may be some. The story itself is an archetype, or so some say, and though the technology was just as impressive as TREK's, I cannot call to mind any device failing in such a way as to be so unexpected as Kirk splitting into 2.

Moonbat says, films cannot get inside the characters' thoughts as novels can, but this is not specific to the sci-fi genre. I recall several instances of characters 'thinking' depicted as hearing their voices but not seeing their lips move. Cartoons can get away with thought balloons depicting their thoughts, but serious stories would shy away from these. Though awkward, it can be done, instances of the current scene dissolving away as the characters' visualizations of thought solidify may be few, they may seem to detract from the action, but they are possible.

Last edited by Jeffbert; 26th December 2011 at 10:07 PM.
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