Inception, Matrix, and Avatar might be some of the films you think about when you hear the phrase "sci-fi movies." You might think about something out of the ordinary, something unrealistic that penetrates reality somehow. Especially when it comes to imagining the world differently, sci-fi movies seem to make our wildest dreams or nightmares come true.
However, there's a bright side to imagining terrible and anxiety-inducing scenarios. By imagining the worst, we might prepare for possible issues and have solutions ready for use in case something similar actually happens.
But can science fiction really help us with finding solutions for future problems? Let's think about it.
The evolution of science fiction in cinematography
Before we ask ourselves any more questions, it's essential to understand this genre.
In cinematography, the science fiction genre had an exciting journey through history. You might think it doesn't even have that much history in the first place because you can't think of many sci-fi movies that date earlier than the late sixties. But the idea of sci-fi being a relatively new genre is a misconception. In fact, the sci-fi genre was one of the first narrative types of cinema, right when cinematography was invented.
The French filmmaker and illusionist Méliès made the first sci-fi and fantasy short film called "A trip to the moon." The actor and theatre manager made this first sci-fi movie in 1902, using primitive yet effective special effects. Some cinema critics and historians say that he had discovered those special effects by chance after some film jammed into the camera's mechanisms.
Also, Metropolis by Fritz Lang (1927) is another sci-fi film from the era of the Weimar Republic, the German State before the Nazis took over.
Later, especially in America, sci-fi became a low-budget genre aimed at teens and young adults. Star Trek became a popular series, but it wasn't enough to open doors for sci-fi outside the B category.
It wasn't until 1968 that Stanley Kubrick decided to make one of the most iconic movies in film history, "2001: Space Odyssey." Since then, sci-fi has gained more popularity and emerged from the underground/B category. Star Wars, Matrix, Avatar, and Inception would become other pop culture staples. Nowadays, sci-fi movies, in the form of superheroes franchises, are extremely popular.
So, the sci-fi genre went along with the development of cinematography, even though it might not seem intuitive. But the sci-fi genre, as a literary and overall artistic category, has been around for a long time. In fact, cinema only adapts sci-fi stories to the screen. Nevertheless, the novels were already famous.
But where does this fascination with fictional reality come from?
The fascination of humans with hypothetical scenarios
Do you find yourself daydreaming and wondering about things that could happen? While you work for your accounting firm, dissertation service, or tutoring site, your mind might drift away. "What if I was abducted by aliens right now?" might be a popular hypothesis.
But why do we think about things that "could" happen?
The human brain has creative abilities like no other creature. Dogs, insects, reptiles, and most animals barely have the cognitive skills to understand the difference between shapes. Nonetheless, humans are so advanced that we can think about thinking. This possibility is something that other animals can only wish for, except they don't because they're simply not intelligent enough.
Thinking and considering hypotheses help humans adapt to an astonishing amount of situations. It helped us build a modern and complex society that almost eradicated the primitive worry of survival.
We built something so secure compared to other animals that we almost won life over. The only thing we might need to hit next is immortality, and then we can consider ourselves having tricked life (and death) for good.
Obviously, life isn't all winning. We face problems every day, both individually and collectively. Nevertheless, many of the solutions come from some brain that foresaw those issues and decided to anticipate a remedy. In this sense, sci-fi can exercise our problem-solving capacities.
But there's more.
Sci-fi doesn't have to be filled with aliens or apocalyptic scenarios. Science fiction can explore ideas of a better world, a utopia. Movies can represent a world that works better than the one we have now, thus planting the seed of change.
Sure, while you write an assignment, look for the best essay writing services, or do paperwork, you might not think much of what you saw. However, in your subconscious, ideas find a place to grow and expand until you wonder, "Why can that good thing be possible?"
Movies can change your perspective because you're absorbed into that world for a while and get to live a familiar reality.
Examples of useful sci-fi
Now we can talk about examples of helpful sci-fi movies that can change the world.
For instance, a popular sci-fi series, "Black Mirror," explores a potential over-digitalized world where things take a crazy turn in every episode. The series shines a light on our social cues, daily cliches, and contradictions. Anyone watching it might get a sense of renewed responsibility when it comes to digital reality and social media.
Series and movies that explore the corporate/work world open up a vital discussion on how much work we put in to have a specific salary and status in exchange for priceless things such as time and mental health. The new generation seems to have a new sensibility towards these limited resources and makes much more thought-out choices.
For instance, the new generation heads towards working with a purpose, quality over quantity, and remote-working. So, instead of working for a bank, young people would rather become a writer, essay helper, or business owner. They'd much rather help people or do something meaningful than have a soul-sucking job.
Part of those choices come from growing up with movies that explore the future and make you reflect on the choices we make every day.
The science fiction genre seems to have anticipated some things. For example, Siri or Alexa seem to have an ancestor: HAL 9000 of Kubrick's Space Odyssey. We can even compare the global pandemic to some zombie movies or apocalyptic scenarios.
Moreover, it seems to create new references that stimulate our creative minds and change our perspective. But is pushing the viewers to think enough? Maybe we have to do our part as a society and put the work in to make life better for everyone.
Hopefully, science fiction will keep our minds working towards a better world as it has for over a century.