When hearing the term “science fiction” one would imagine a film filled with unrealistic gadgets, humans with super powers and even technology of the future. However, science fiction is much more than that. Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction dealing with whimsical concepts such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space and time travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. Over time, this genre has changed and thrived due to an increase in available technology and science which led to an increase in special effects and filming techniques. Viewers are transported into more believable worlds of Utopias run by shiny machines or cities being overrun by a giant, violent monsters. The films Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) and Gorjira (Dir. Ishiro Honda, 1954) provide evidence that show how the genre has changed over time; the former film being set in the Silent Period and the latter film being set in the Posclassical Period.
A genre is composed of myths, conventions and iconography. Myths of a genre tend to portray the content of a film as a defining force following certain ideologies. Science fiction follows the myths that extraterrestrial life forms are invading earth and here to harm humans or that shiny new technology can take over the need for basic human functions. While each science fiction film follows different story lines or plots, they stick to these same myths. These myths remain unchanged, but as time goes on, the way these myths are approached and conveyed across the screen changes. For example, in the early twentieth century when special effects were still being developed, sets would be very basic. The set for a utopic society may have included a basic back drop and a f...
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In his book Science Fiction Film, Keith M. Johnston states, “At this early stage… film audiences could easily spot poorly executed visual effects.” This goes to say that the lack of technology at the beginning to the sci-fi genre era made films cohesive and unbelievable. Being able to tell that big shiny machines in a futuristic society weren’t functioning and realistic was common. However, Johnston goes on to say that starting in the 1950’s, special effects technology began to advance and the use of special effects, 3-D and color filmmaking became more common. Men in cheaply made monster suits were being replaced by realistic graphic images. It is clear that as time periods changed, and technology and science advanced, so did the science fiction genre. Silent films with basic sets evolved into films with sound and advanced technology and science based ideas.
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