Talk:Science fiction film

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Additions/changes[edit]

I propose the addition of a 2010s "category" or an extension of the 1990s/2000s one and also the addition of such movies as Inception and The Hunger Games to those mentioned in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.247.146.29 (talk) 22:49, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Honestly, I'd delete "The Hunger Games (2012) and Oblivion (2013) have, so far, the only notable non-superhero sci-fi movies of the 2010s." as that's just an opinion, and not really quantifieable.Stoutwalker (talk) 12:21, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

References to use[edit]

Please add to the list references that can be used for the film article.

Science fiction on television[edit]

Some parts of the current article may be merged/synchronised with Science fiction on television. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 15:47, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

What else?[edit]

Is there anything else that needs to be added to this page? I thought it could use a section on how Aliens are portrayed in Sci-fi movies. I.e. typically as humans in heavy stage make-up and acting with specific human qualities greatly exagerated, or as extreme predators from apparently out-of-whack ecosystems. :-) Anything else? — RJH 23:16, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

But what about...[edit]

Battlestar Galactica? Ed James Olmos (aka Cmdr. Adama) promised to walk off the set if he saw even one bumpy-headed alien on the stage. Okay, I couldn't resist the commentary.  ;) - Zalasur 07:05, Mar 20, 2005 (UTC)

What about stanislaw Lem's influence and the classic Solaris (Russian version by Tarkovsky) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.88.255.176 (talk) 17:50, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

Please note that the peer review was with respect to how this page appeared back in March 2005, rather than the current form. Please reference the history from that time to see how the comments relate to the content.[1] The page has been considerably revised since then. Thank you. — RJH 22:21, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Slimming the category[edit]

The category Science fiction films is marked with the {{verylarge}} tag. I am trying to slim it down by subcategorizing it. I've already done a few films, but am losing inspiration on how to further subdivide this category so that we can remove the {{verylarge}} template.

Create these categories:

  • Disney science fiction films (9 films)
  • Invisible people films (Hollow Man, The Invisible Man/Woman)
  • Science fiction thriller films (ie. Event Horizon, Solaris, The Sixth Sense, The Others, Signs, etc.)
  • Films based on computer and video games

Add Science fiction films to these categories:

  • Time travel films

(The list can be expanded by others, of course.)

I posted a couple of things on the category's discussion page, but got nothing, so posting here was my next option. Let's see if we can get the main Science fiction films category down to one page with films so general that they have no where else to go.

Lady Aleena 09:42, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

While I think a shorter article is a good idea, breaking down into categories should use disjoint and similar categories, not in one case a studio (Disney) in another case subject matter (invisible people), and in a third case genre (thrillers). What if Disney made an invisible people thriller?

I would suggest: Earthbound (set entirely on earth in more or less the present day), The Future (set on Earth in the future), Space (at least partly set in outer space), and Time travel (includes time travel as a major element, no matter the setting).

Another way of dividing up the genre would be, romance (love is the major force driving the plot), superheroes (includes costume heroes as a major element), monsters (includes monsters as a major element, but no superheroes), adventure (action but no monsters or superheroes).

A third possibility: animation, children's films, adult adventure films, art films. Rick Norwood 13:36, 13 May 2006 (UTC)


This is really difficult if the goal is to achieve a MECE (mutually exclusive but collectively exhaustive) categorization. About the only way I can think of to achieve a MECE set of categories is by year of release (or decade, or similar time-based grouping). I guess categorizing by the movie's director or by studio might also be MECE, but I'm not sure that would be a useful categorization (is it helpful to compare Sci-Fi films by Sony Pictures vs. those by Universal Studios?) With just about any other categorization scheme, there is bound to be overlap. So unless we go by date, my recommendation would be to go by SF sub-genre (Space Opera, Cyberpunk, etc.). Yes, the definitions of the subgenres are not precise, and yes it's possible that there might be a Postcyberpunk Military Sci-Fi movie. So then let the film be listed under both sub-genres (to heck with MECE!). The main advantage I see with sub-genres over other non-MECE schemes is that it is more likely to be consistent with how sci-fi literature is generally being categorized on Wikipedia. For example, see the novel Starship Troopers, which is categorized as both a "Space Opera" and "Military Science Fiction" book. Why wouldn't then, the movie version then be categorized as a "Space Opera film" and a "Military Science Fiction film"? Fairsing 22:31, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Image deletion[edit]

I reverted an edit that removed the images from the article. Some Wikipedia editors desire to have no fair use images used anywhere in the encyclopedia, but (from my perspective at least) they make a significant contribution to the quality and value of this article. No words can explain what an alien looks like, but a picture can. Fairsing 15:05, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Fair use should not be used when there is a free alternative. Seeing as your claims for the posters are "identify the film", the film can be freely identified using the name of the film. Yes you need a picture to describe what a alien looks like, but you only need that picture if it is discussed in the text. For the pictures I removed:
  • Metropolis - movie not discussed, let alone appearace of robot/alien.
  • Peter Sellers - not discussed at all in the text.
  • Back to the Future - mentioned as a successful time travel movie. How does the poster add to this point?
  • Clockwork Orang - again, how does the poster add to the points made in the text?
By all means use fair use pictures if you have to to illustrate a point - but when they are scattered over the article because they are related to a section of the text - that is not acceptable. ed g2stalk 17:17, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, we disagree about some of these issues, which is ok. Not sure you are keying into the actual details of the article here -- for example Metropolis is indeed discussed. And fair use permits the use of a screen shot or movie poster even if the sole purpose is to identify the film in question. For example, Template:Movie poster states that the use of images of movie posters is fair use when used "to illustrate the movie in question or to provide critical analysis of the poster content or artwork ". So for Back to the Future for example, the poster serves to illustrate the film. Understand that your personal *preference* may be to not use the image in this way, and I respect your right to hold a different opinion in this regard. But I see it a bit differently, so am editing the article accordingly. Fairsing 18:02, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I've tried to address your concerns with changes to the image captions, text of the article, or both in order to provide a clearer link between the use of the image and the text of the article. If the connections between the text and the images still aren't clear to you, could I respectfully request that we discuss the issue here before you delete the images again? Discussion is (IMHO) the best way to avoid edit wars and other detrimental situations. Thanks! Fairsing 18:41, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Using a movie poster every time you mention a film is hardly keeping fair use to a minimum, one of the main principles of the compromise to allow fair use on Wikipedia. Yes the template says the image may be used to identify a movie, but in the overall context of a free (as in libre) project, we must always ask, "is it necessary", and "can we do without it". Where the poster itself has a special significance to the discussion (which it very well could on this article) then it is suitable to use it. If, as is currently the case, there pictures are not contributing significantly to the article, and are merely used because the film is referenced, then they are uses that we can do without. Thanks, ed g2stalk 21:41, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I tried again for Clockwork Orange. Hopefully the link between the text and the image is now crystal clear. Sorry that you felt the need to delete it again without discussing -- can we please discuss before you delete it yet again if it doesn't meet your personal judgement for "contributing significantly" to the article? That is, after all, a subjective judgement, and it seems like we are more likely to arrive at a beneficial conclusion here if we discuss the specifics rather than if you just keep deleting the image until I somehow guess what's going to be "good enough" for you. Fairsing 22:20, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Okay, what have you said about Back to the Future that requires illustrating? ed g2stalk 01:27, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I'd agree that the text and caption for Back to the Future as-is aren't very closely linked. That doesn't bother me, because from my perspective the image makes a significant contribution to the article just by serving to identify the film and by illustrating the section of text dealing with time travel films. But I understand your preference is different, and would like to accommodate your viewpoint to get a tighter connection between the text and the image. To that end, the text notes that the movie "explores the result of altering the past". We could make the text more explicit by specifying the consequences (i.e. that the protagonist will cease to exist if he doesn't rectify the problem within a certain amount of time), and then altering the caption to reference the fact that Michael J. Fox's character is checking his watch to see how much time he has left before the consequences of meddling in time catch up to him. Would that make the connection explicit enough? Fairsing 04:54, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
The poster does not illustrate the film, it illustrates the poster, that is, how the film was marketed. The poster (compared to say, a well-written paragraph), tells me practically nothing about the film. It tells me about how the lead looked, how a bit of the car looked and how a "futuristic" font was used to market the film. None of this is particularly relevant to the article (or at least, there has been no attempt to explain why it is). So apart from aesthetically, I don't see how the poster "contributes significantly", as is required. ed g2stalk 01:15, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Edward, how can a poster illustrate the poster? Matthew Fenton (contribs) 14:50, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. ed_g2s, Please remember that Template:Movie poster states that one of the two legitimate uses of movie posters is "to illustrate the movie in question". So I agree that the statement "The poster does not illustrate the film, it illustrates the poster" is essentially nonsense. Regardless, you have several times stated that you don't believe that a poster illustrating the film is a significant enough contribution to the article to pass your own personal test of what "contributes significantly". Fine, we understand that this is your opinion. So even though we disagree on this point, I'm still trying to accommodate your preference here by making a clearer link between the text and the image caption so that the poster not only illustrates the film, but also ties into the text of the article. What do you think of the proposal I made above to do this -- does it tie the two together well enough? Or perhaps you'd like to suggest alternate language to tie the text and the image together in a way that would meet your personal standard? That would be most welcome, and then we could all move on to more value-added Wikipedia editing tasks. Thanks. Fairsing 20:22, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
"The poster illustrates the poster, not the film" means that your definition of "illustrate" is entirely subjective. What about the film does the poster illustrate? The only think it actually illustrates is how the poster for the film looked (hence, the apparently "nonsense" statement "the poster illustrates the poster"). ed g2stalk 23:09, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
You are obviously an intelligent person, so this comment first seemed to me that you might be being deliberately obtuse about this. But I am going to assume good faith here and take you at face value that you truly don't understand how the poster illustrates the film. To explain this, then, this is a film about time travel and the section of the article in question here discusses time travel technology and the fact that time travel is a popular/common theme in science fiction film. The poster, therefore, illustrates the film and the section of the article by showing a visual of the time travel technology used in the film (the car), and visually emphasizes the "time" aspect of the film's theme by showing the protagonist looking at his watch, with advertising copy in the the image that further reinforces the time travel theme ("He wasn't in his time at all"). I understand that you may feel this information can be conveyed in words equally as well as by using an image, but that's a subjective judgement with which I disagree. Hopefully, however, you will now be able to see that the poster illustrates the film even if you don't like the poster being used for that purpose. Fairsing 02:21, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

The intro to our fair use policy reads "The primary goal of Wikipedia's fair use policy is to protect our mission of producing and distributing free content ... however ... we must permit some non-free material for critical commentary". You must explain how the inclusion of the posters is so important for critical commentary in this article, that we sacrifice one of our "primary goals". ed g2stalk 23:15, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

I've already stated that I'm fine making a clearer link between the article and the image by modifying the text. I proposed a change to the article's wording in order to effect this change, and asked you (twice before) to respond to that proposal. Would the changes I proposed above meet your definition of contributing significantly enough to the article? If not, would you care to suggest an alternate wording / approach to the critical commentary here that you feel would work better? I'm going to have only sporadic access to Wikipedia over the next week or so, and I'd welcome your contributions to the article in terms of improving the critical commentary. Alternately, we can pick up this discussion in a week or so. Cheers, Fairsing 02:50, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
This is not about shoehorning in some text to give a tenuous enough link to keep the images. This is about looking at the article without text, and deciding what makes no sense without an image. Back to the Future is only briefly mentioned as a an example of a time travel movie, there is no in depth discussion of it or critical analysis, nor need there be (that is done on the article about the film). If there's no critical analysis (or even a need for it) then there's no need for an image. ed g2stalk 13:42, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Science in Science Fiction[edit]

I think this article should mention the common use and emphasis of science in science fiction films. Many examples are evident. For example, H. G. Wells and much of the 1950s films were heavily influenced by general relativity. Several outer space films such as 'Destination Moon' make a big deal about it. Another example is the use of quantum theory to ground the portrayal of a time machine in the movie, 'Primer'. This could be contrasted with H. G. Wells' use of Einstein to talk about time travel in the films inspired by his writings. The following website, for instance, is devoted to science in SF films: http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/film/promise/


Necromancer976 20:14, 29 December 2006 (UTC) Necromancer976

Forbidden Planet[edit]

Discussed in the section Themes, Imagery, and Visual Elements. To say that the monster of the film is supernatural in origin seems as if it was written by someone who is ignoring what the film actually says and is more intent on imposing their own opinion. The sentence "(Some interpretations see it, however, as a manifestation of the Freudian Id, made material by alien superscience)" is dismissing exactly how the creature is explained in the film itself, specifically in a key scene between Commander Adams and Morbius. MDonfield 01:33, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Multitude of Kubrick references[edit]

Not that it is neceassirly wrong to do so or anything, but it seems that Kubrick is heavily referenced and provides many examples from the get-go. Even films that are debatibly Sci-fi (Strangelove, although i'm sure you could interpret it as Sci-fi it's certainly not a strong example of sci-fi.) While the Strangelove example serves well as an example of the technique in question, couldn't some clearer sci-fi example be used instead. This would both help prove the point that these are common themes in sci-fi (and not just Kubrick films) and help diversify the examples a little. 203.97.237.98 03:01, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

  • I think Dr. Strangelove is clearly sci-fi, but I do agree that SK is not an overwhelming force in science-fiction / sci-fi movies and we should not leave readers with that impression. 14:15, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I am intrigued by your claim that Strangelove is clearly sci-fi. Why is this? the wikipedia entry on Strangelove does not even claim it to be sci-fi. What, sci-fi elements does Strangelove contain exactly? It has been a while since i have seen it, but as i recall it did not contain any sort of technology that was not avaliable at the time it was produced. To me it seems to simply be a satirical look at the cold war through a comedy perspective. Please, enlighten me as to why it is Sci-fi203.97.237.98 02:42, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I suppose the supposition of a doomsday device could leave SL open to the claim of being a science fiction film, but although a doomsday device had not at the time been created (still has not as far as i'm aware) does not mean it was not something that was acheiveable with their current levels of scientific knowledge. I mean the Doomsday device in question was merely a large nuclear device connected to a large computer network, both of which were technology which existed at the time. Does that mean that a film which features a similar device made in 2007 would also be science fiction? I would say the answer is no. but the only

IMHO: DS is mostly a non-scifi satire that is not scifi, but at the moment the Russians said they had a doomsday machine, DS slipped, in to scifi because this was a new plot scenario augmented by fiesable (fissable ;-)) science that did not yet exist, thus becoming a science based "what if" story. A smarter version of this doomsday machine with a few add-ons, becomes Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970).Septagram 05:00, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

I suppose the supposition of a doomsday device could leave SL open to the claim of being a science fiction film, but although a doomsday device had not at the time been created (still has not as far as i'm aware) does not mean it was not something that was acheiveable with their current levels of scientific knowledge. I mean the Doomsday device in question was merely a large nuclear device connected to a large computer network, both of which were technology which existed at the time. Does that mean that a film which features a similar device made in 2007 would also be science fiction? I would say the answer is no. but the only difference between today and then is the the science then was relativly fresh. By the same rationale that one would say SL is a sci-fi film, one could say Bond is (with his gadgets) or any number of action films which feature weaponary that does not exist but is combinations of currently avaliable technology. i think my point remians that the claim that SL is sci-fi is questionable at best and the excessive use of Kubrick as examples of key features in sci-fi does not represent sci-fi in general. If one does consider Kubrick a sci-fi director, he is certainly not a typical one.203.97.237.98 00:39, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Also forgot to mention the last 15 or so minutes of SL with the underground caves and the rest. If that scenario were made into a movie it would have been classified as scifi.Septagram 03:38, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Movie attendance[edit]

The article states that movie attendance in general was down by the 2000s. Is this statement warranted? First, are we talking world-wide or U.S.? For the U.S., see http://org.elon.edu/ipe/pautz2.pdf (Pautz, 2002, "The Decline in Average Weekly Cinema Attendance: 1930-2000," Issues in Political Economy Vol. 11, Appendix), where the graph indicates that the attendance probably was increasing in the last years of the century (per capita attendance is in effect flat). An article in the New York Timesthat refers to data for the period 2000-2004 (Holson, 2005, "With Popcorn, DVD's and TiVo, Moviegoers Are Staying Home," http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/27/business/media/27movie.html?ex=1184558400&en=6b9ef930f99fd1ce&ei=5070), states that "movie attendance has increased 8.1 percent from 2000 to 2004," (I must admit, though, that the preceding text of the article talks about generally declining attendance!). The same article cites massive increases in movie-watching outside of theatres - a point that is not supportive of a claim of a drop in popularity of movies for an article on movie popularity (as opposed to one about movie theatre attendance).

Then there is the issue of world-wide attendance (for which I have not found data). Finally, and most importantly, the Wik article does not cite evidence for the further assertion that SF/sci-fi movie attendance has declined in the naughts. I didn't find evidence one way or the other on this subject. Kdammers 14:15, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Movie attendance did undergo a decline in the 2000s,[2][3] and it was global.[4]RJH (talk) 17:06, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Headline to use[edit]

Hollywood Sci-Fi's Bronze Age: Are Comics to Blame? at Popular Mechanics. —Erik (talkcontrib) 17:10, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

In definition[edit]

The definition section uses "alien" in a way that begs for a definition. Especially when talking about SF where alien = little green men. So the sentence For example, in Dr. Strangelove, the distortion of the humans make the familiar images seem more alien doesn't mean the humans = little green men. What it does mean should be explained. Nitpyck (talk) 03:09, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

"Alien" has multiple meanings in English. This is the English-language Wikipedia, not the Simple English Wikipedia. We need not assume our readers are incapable of understanding such obvious ambiguities. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:53, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I concur. If we have to explain this, we're in trouble, since the language is more than replete with words that are ambiguous and/or have multiple meanings. --PLUMBAGO 15:32, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Link to the "Bibliography of Fantastic Film"[edit]

Dear users/participants of Wikipedia

I have recently added links at the Wikipedia horror film, science fiction film and fantasy film pages which refer to the "Bibliography of Fantastic Film", an international bibliography of the secondary literature on fantastic film focusing on horror, science fiction, fantasy and experimental film. The administrator User_talk:Ckatz has deleted these links several times arguing that Wikipedia is not a compilation of links, that a link to the "Bibliography of Fantastic film is advertisement/spam and violates the rules of Wikipedia, and that I am not allowed to promote a site which I'm involved in as an author. A strange argumentation: not the quality of a linked site matters, but the author/contributor. Finally Ckatz commended me to find another editor to set a link to my bibliography. That suits me fine because I think (as I told the administrator previously) that it should be the decision of the Wikipedia users and not of a single person wether a link to a free scholary bibliography on the topic of the related Wikipedia article is relevant or not. So, following the suggestion of Ckatz, I request You, the users of Wikipedia interested in fantastic film, to check out the "Bibliography of Fantastic Film" and decide by yourself wether it is relevant for a Wikipedia link or not. If yes, please feel free to ad a link to my Bibliography by your own. If You want to send me a message You can use the discussion page of my Wiki username User_talk:Athenaion or email directly to Holger.Schnell@gmx.net.

I have copied this text to the discussion site of the horror, science fiction and fantasy articles of the English Wikipedia. You can also find it at my own Athenaion discussion site. Thanks for Your attention.

--Athenaion (talk) 10:12, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Introductory paragraph[edit]

I'd like to make some stylistic changes but want comments before doing that. As written there is a sentence fragment; two clauses that repeat words (technological elements such as technology and social commentary on social issues); and 3 uses of such as in the paragraph. Does the following leave the meaning unchanged? Science fiction film is a film genre that uses science fiction: speculative science-based depictions of phenomena, that aren't necessarily accepted by mainstream science, such as extra-terrestrial life forms, alien worlds, and time travel; often along with futuristic elements, such as spacecraft, robots, or other technologies. Science fiction films have often been used to focus on political or social issues and to explore philosophical issues such as the human condition. In many cases, tropes derived from written science fiction may be used by filmmakers ignorant of or at best indifferent to the standards of scientific plausibility and plot logic to which written science fiction is traditionally held.Nitpyck (talk) 18:10, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

WorldCat Genres[edit]

Hello, I'm working with OCLC, and we are algorithmically generating data about different Genres, like notable Authors, Book, Movies, Subjects, Characters and Places. We have determined that this Wikipedia page has a close affintity to our detected Genere of science-fiction-films. It might be useful to look at [5] for more information. Thanks. Maximilianklein (talk) 23:47, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Hyphen[edit]

Don't mean to be a prude, but why isn't "science-fiction" in "science-fiction film" hyphenated? (My dictionary says it's an adjective.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 14:23, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

+1 --Mormegil (talk) 09:06, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
+1 here, too. See also: MOS:HYPHEN & Compound modifier startswithj (talk) 21:35, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Confuses science fiction genre with fantasy[edit]

Too much emphasis on space and aliens - this is not a defining feature of science fiction. Unless there is a strong scientific element (even with conjecture and speculation, the science is always the starting point) it's not sci-fi. Science fiction can and is often based on Earth. Aliens and space can feature but only as a by-product of the scientific concepts if they are relevant to them. So I do not include Star Wars in the sci-fi genre even if most people do (just because most people think it, it doesn't mean it's right).

The article at least should make reference to the fact that some people hold to a stricter definition of sci-fi. 82.43.199.163 (talk) 21:31, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Science fiction film in the 1950s[edit]

If the 1950s is the golden age do science fiction film (and it is) then why doesn't have it's own heading rather than being subsumed with the 1930s and 1940s? 107.221.229.121 (talk)

Science fiction film in the 1950s[edit]

If the 1950s is the golden age do science fiction film (and it is) then why doesn't have it's own heading rather than being subsumed with the 1930s and 1940s? 107.221.229.121 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 03:03, 28 May 2013 (UTC)