Monday, March 08, 2010
So Close, But Still So Avatar: A Quick Treatise About Science Fiction
Allow me join the Internet discussion: Avatar didn't win the Academy Award because it didn't tell a new story. It used advanced technology to depict an engaging allegory, but it didn't offer anything new. Star Wars didn't tell a new story, either. They're just amazing moving pictures -- like most science fiction. Think about that; true science fiction can't offer anything new, because then it wouldn't be scientific. The genre uses science in different ways, spins it through a different perspective -- hence, the fiction -- but it needs some foundation in reality to make it a believable alternative thereof. Oftentimes, that foundation is raw humanity, like the brashness of a Captain Kirk or the naivete of a Luke Skywalker. The sensationalism of the future and/or other worlds is more attainable through their eyes, through the science of human nature above all else. Cool space ships help, too. In Avatar, James Cameron encourages an escape from our inherent humanity. He's created an entire fictional culture as an alternative. (In fact, his film is exactly the opposite of Star Trek in its violation of the Prime Directive!) We've been enticed by the unknown via science fiction for years -- like I said, that isn't new. Introducing mankind as the enigma, finally understanding that these amazing fantasies aren't external adventures but introspective discoveries -- feeling comfortable in our own skin -- now that would be award worthy.