Re-imagining the Disaster
In Susan Sontag’s essay The Imagination of Disaster she gives us a comparative view between old science fiction films and the more current films of her day. From a psychological point of view she contends that science fiction films allow us to escape the boring realities and continuous threat of some inconceivable threat that most people either have to contend with or live in fear of in their daily lives. She goes on to give different scenarios of science fiction films in an effort to show the predictability of as well as the classic elements that make of science fiction films. I was kind of surprised that Sontag seems to have more of an inclination towards science fiction films as opposed to science fiction novels.
Sontag states that science fiction films are not about science but about disaster; I take it that is why she prefers films over novels. According to her, science fiction films offer an immediate representation of the extraordinary. She goes on to state that sci-fi films provide “sensuous elaboration”. I think Sontag seems to be a little critical of the science fiction films that were popular back when she wrote her essay. In one point of her essay she talked about how there was a lack of social criticism in science fiction films and at the end of her essay she summarized her thoughts regarding science fiction films by stating that “aside from their considerable amount of cinematic char, consists in this intersection between a naively and largely debased commercial art product…” I think today she would have been less critical of popular science fiction films, especially I she saw Avatar, which had a strong social message, not to mention it was visually and commercial appealing.