Friday, June 27, 2014

If aliens don't come to us, we go to them!

 In the article "The Imagination of Disaster" Susan Sontag discusses everything about science-fiction films. Sontag claims that science fiction films have more disaster than science in those films. There's not just science in there. She breaks down a scenario of any science-fiction film into points, for both:  black and white, low budget films and wide-screen, high budget films.
 She compared science-fiction to horror movies and wrote about differences. The horror is, mostly, shocking. It tries to scare the viewer with an ugly face, suddenly appearing on the screen and shouting. The science-fiction is about destruction, panicking, violence and how people stop being "civilized". Eventually, we crave science-fiction more than anything else. Simply, because it feels more real.

 Question #4
 I, mostly, agree with Susan Sontag's breakdown of science-fiction films. However, the film I'm going to talk about is quite different. The film is called "Prometheus"(2012) by Ridley Scott.
 Prometheus is a about a group of scientists observing Earth's caves looking for paintings. They find a lot of evidence of ancient aliens, probably the ancestors of humans, who artificially created the entire life on Earth and left the evidence of their activity. They leave some hints for humans to find their home planet in the future, which is very far from Earth. However, their future technologies allow them to fly to the different solar system.

(1) The arrival of the thing.
The main character finds strange symbols observing the caves. Later, he realizes that symbols are just group of stars navigating him. He is already married and his wife shares his interests. They look for symbols together, though no one else shares their enthusiasm.

(2)Confirmation of the hero’s report by a host of witnesses to a great act of destruction.
When the main character gets enough evidence that prove his theory, he tells about his finding to the mass. Local scientists, geologists, army, police are sending candidates which would fly to the other planet.

(3) In the capital of the country, conferences between scientists and the military take place, with the hero lecturing before a chart, map, or blackboard.
Not in the capital, but in the spaceship scientists and military argue about the plan of the journey. Suddenly, the main character intervenes that sets his own rules and makes a plan.

(4) Further atrocities.
At some point the hero’s girl friend is in grave danger. Later, he'll be in danger himself. Lot's of people die. We see the staff panicking. There's total lack of cooperation. Everybody just tries to save his own life. In the end, we have just one survivor.

(5) More conferences, whose motif is: “They must be vulnerable to something.
Before the end, people, finally, realize where they are and who is killing them. They'll discover how to fight it and trying to plan the escape from the planet. Unfortunately, it didn't work. The main heroes' wife stays alive and she's continuing the journey alone.

In my opinion, we crave science-fiction more just because it feels more real than horror.


  1. As you pointed out with "Prometheus as an example, many science-fiction films today do not follow the same formula laid out by Susan Santag. This mostly has to do with the fact that she wrote her article in the 1960's. Cinema has evolved greatly since her time, and we did not have the giant blockbusters with hundred-million dollar budgets that we have today. It is interesting to note that both this article and King's "Why We Crave Horror Movies" are related in that both of them deal with the reasons behind our enjoyment of these films. The way that Sontag puts it, it makes you wonder whether or not science-fiction is just a sub genre of horror.

  2. Fair points, all around! But if you think Prometheus (great film, btw) breaks the mold, why do you explain how it fits?

    And nice pic :-)