2013: The Year of Science Fiction Films?
by Johnamarie Macias (@BlueJaigEyes)
Every summer, we get our fair share of sequels, reboots, remakes, and any other term you want to toss in the mix. In addition to that, the superhero genre tends to rule the box office, with this year including major marvels like Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and Thor: The Dark World. Putting aside the comic book world for a second, I noticed something different (and awesome) with this summer’s slew of blockbusters. Most notably present in 2013 is the handful or so of science fiction films.
A few days ago, a friend of mine tweeted, “It’s interesting to see science fiction making such a big comeback. I wonder how long it will last.” And she’s completely right. Sure, The Avengers (2012) and Men in Black 3 (2012) fall under the umbrella of science fiction, but slip into the superhuman and time travel subcategories, respectively, with a mix of aliens and advanced technologies here and there. Personally, I am more interested in space operas and hard science fiction. Basically, any material that is grounded in science with a pinch of realism and the stuff that makes you say, “Hey, this could possibly be our future in some way, shape or form.”
According to the Nielsen Company, among US moviegoers aged 12 and above, our top three favorite more genres in 2012 were action/adventure (61%), comedy (50%) and sci-fi/fantasy (42%). Not bad, being at third place. Nevertheless, the number is less than 50% and it more than likely shares that percentage with fantasy films, like Breaking Dawn – Part 2, since both genres are interrelated (unless that particular film was included in the romance genre at 22%). Either way, it presents a disturbing image.
Whether it is an original concept or an adaptation, science fiction films have the power to inspire and inform innovation, allowing fiction to become fact. Given how far we have come with technology, it seems only logical that more science fiction films, television programming and literary works become more and more common. I am not stating that science fiction is the sole resource to draw inspiration. Humanity has drawn inspiration from various sources, picking and pulling ideas and figuring out innovative and clever ways to generate new inventions. Science fiction, however, allows the imagination to flow into uncharted territories. This is the main reason why the genre is so near and dear to my heart!
Anyway, so what is on our plate for 2013? There is the recently-released Oblivion, After Earth, Elysium, Ender’s Game, Gravity, Pacific Rim, and Star Trek Into Darkness. Will these movies outperform in the box office and blow people’s minds? Maybe. Maybe not. Personally, I am most looking forward to After Earth, Ender’s Game and Star Trek Into Darkness. I placed After Earth at the top of my list because the movie stars two minority actors, which is quite rare for a science fiction film (or any film, for that matter). I recently searched the “List of Science Fiction Films of the 2010s” on Wikipedia and nearly all of them were led by straight white males. That, however, is a topic of discussion for another time.
That said, I hope more science fiction films (with more diverse casts), particularly space operas and hard science fiction, continue to have a strong presence during the summer box office in the coming years. Maybe a child or adult will be inspired by one of them, enough to spark an idea and make fiction a reality.
Which science fiction film are you looking forward to seeing the most?