Science Fiction Film: An Overview
The science fiction film genre has been around almost as long as movies have, but like the cinema it is still a fairly young art form. This genre came into existence shortly after the invention of the movie camera in 1888 and has endured for over one-hundred years. Science fiction is adaptive; it changes with the times and this trend can be seen in its incorporation of other genres, cultural history and technology. This essay will attempt to define the genre, chronicle the history and evolution, and explore its relation to technology. This is in general and in the cinema.
When discussing the science fiction film genre a problem occurs. The distinction between science fiction and other genres is not always clear cut. Many movies span between the science fiction genre and other genres. Movies such as The Ring (2002) or the Alien series (1979, 1986, 1992, 1997) illustrate how the distinction between science fiction and horror films can be obscure.
(Telotte 46) Some comedies, such as Mars Attacks (1996) and Back to the Future (1985), are very much science fiction. (Mitchell 133) In fact there is an example of a science fiction film fitting into almost any genre. Starship Troopers (1997) parallels a war film and Outland (1981) resembles a western in many respects. (Telotte 45)
The characteristics that define the science fiction genre can be difficult to pin down. A genre such as the western has easily identifiable characteristics such as cowboys, guns, the wild west, and bad guys with mustaches. The average person would have no trouble picking out a science fiction film but when asked to come up with a definition, most would struggle. After being exposed to a number of science fiction films people are able to recognize characteristics...