I grew up with all the Sci-Fi greats Star Wars, Star Trek, 2001 etc… What was the thing that made them great though? I don’t want to say it was just the concepts, really it was about how these films made you feel.
I still get goosebumps watching Darth Vader going about being evil in Star Wars, at the rebel fighters preparing to attack the Death Star and at the starship Enterprise escaping death from the Genesis weapon. Even the allegedly ‘boring’ film 2001 A Space Odyssey is purely terrifying at times and if not you don’t understand what’s going on.
Now I don’t want to sound all Monty Python and ‘when I we’re a lad’ type of thing but it seems things made ages ago was better because I’m kind of feeling like the modern sci=fi that carrying on form these original greats is leaving me more than a little underwhelmed.
I think looking at this in a little detail is needed. Firstly lets look at 2001, an alien race and unknown object that seems to traverse time and space. A supercomputer that can interact with humans and also kill them and on top of this a whole human world living in space which in 1968 before man landed on the moon was out there in terms of sci fi.
The basic concept was the starship Enterprise, a vessel that could travel between the stars in days or hours. With this we has phasers, transporters and other advanced technology.
When the next generation launched the concept was expanded with holodecks and a humanoid android.
This favourite space opera of many brought us the Death Star, the Jedi, the force as well as iconic symbols like R2D2 and the Millenium Falcon.
Going back even before 2001 to the 1950’s the scifi concepts were pretty awesome and still hold up today, Robbie the Robot, The Krell – and alien race that possessed awesome power, wireless technology and the power to project force by thought.
Now let’s fast forward. The latest Star Trek, Discovery has gone back in time as the previous series Enterprise did. There is no new technology or thinking as you can’t do that when you’re looking backwards. I’ve not had chance to catch up with Discovery yet, but I find the concept somewhat uninspiring.
Despite the fact that Star Wars is looking forward it’s kind of not done much that’s new. Sure we have much bigger Star Destroyers but how big do you need them when they still keep getting blown up? The light sabre duels are fairly crap if I’m honest, this is where I have to say I didn’t mind the prequels. They brought more to the Star Wars universe than the sequels have and the light sabre duels or handling was epic.
My thoughts on the Last Jedi are so mixed. It looks like they brought back the old cast to kill them off, they have wasted an epic opportunity and not given the fans what they wanted. This is going to cost the franchise in the long run. It seems now Disney is just interested in getting their money back and while I liked Rogue One all these new films aren’t going to help I don’t think. But we’ll see.
It seems like maybe our long standing much loved story lines have lost heir vision and maybe we’ve lost our visionaries, or even worse they’re not appreciated because the big bucks is in action like Pacific Rim. Where giant beasts and robots battle it out.
It’s not all scifi gloom, some real gems have come about in the last few years like Interstellar and the Martian. Both of these films took on totally different approaches and I enjoyed both for what they were.
The other story I’ve also been excited about is Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s been two films and I hope there’s more but with Infinity War due out this is likely to end right?
I never read the comics when I was younger but I wish I had, the films have been great and they’ve got a feel that like nothing else that’s been out before.
I think the stark reality is that the long running stories like Star Wars, Star Trek and even Tron have been left far to long before doing more with them and when they did they have not done the best they could have. That’s a shame. But it’s big universe and who knows what can happen.
Let’s hope the visionaries return.
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