Friday, June 27, 2014

It's all about chaos

In the essay “The Imagination of Disaster” by Susan Sontag, she begins by stating why science fiction films are so popular, and she says it’s because of their ability to do the unthinkable and still be “too close to our reality” (Sontag 317). She argues the different elements that go into science fiction movies like budget, locale, and what technology is used (black and white or Technicolor) Sontag also gives us two lists of models of how different types of sci-fi movies usually go like. “Science fiction Makes it possible for moral scruples to be lifted, for cruelty to be enjoyed… in the figure of monsters from outer space, the freakish, the ugly and the predatory” (Sontag 324) Sontag claims that like in horror films, in sci-fi films we take pleasure in what wouldn't be morally acceptable in the real world. But unlike Frank Rose in “The Art of Immersion Fear of Fiction” we don’t get inside anyone’s feeling we are just spectators. She believes that in science fiction films ‘things’ (machines) are more important than humans, because they are the source of power. “The other world creatures which seek to take ‘us’ are an ‘it’ not a ‘they’ (Sontag 329) she believes sci-fi films reflect the anxieties people have today.

The movie I chose was Inception (2010) this movie supports what Sontag is claiming, that sci-fi movies are not really about science but about destruction, although this movie has both there is way more things getting destroyed than there is scientific discovery. “Science fiction films are not about science fiction. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art” (Sontag 321). I don’t think the models she gives for how sci-fi films usually go really apply to this film, it’s not the world that’s getting invaded it’s someone mind.  This film also supports her claim that sci-fi films do the impossible, because in the film buildings bend and move in was not possible in real life. 



  1. This is a good post but I would like to disagree with buildings don't bend and move because look at the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

    1. Yeah I see what you mean, but if you see the movie its like the whole street moves with the buildings.

    2. Also, that;s not the building bending but sinking. The Tower is, in fact, straight ;-)

      Good post, Homi. Maybe the reason Inception doesn't fit Sontag's scripts is because the heroes ARE the invaders! #mindblown