There are good sci fi movies, mediocre sci fi movies, bad sci fi movies, and really bad sci fi movies*. And each movie flavor has something to recommend it to viewers. (I have to admit that one of my favorites is The Giant Claw.)
The unifying theme throughout, of course, is the science fiction element. And from the great movies to those which are laughably awful, the element of science always plays a role in advancing the storyline, developing the characters, or simply defining the world in which the story is set.
But if Prof. Sidney Perkowitz has his way, you may never see another movie like “Avatar”, “Star Trek”, “Godzilla”, or “The Giant Claw” again. The Guardian is reporting that Dr. Perkowitz isn’t a fan of bad sci in sci fi:
Science fiction movies should be allowed only one major transgression of the laws of physics, according to a US professor who has won backing from a number of his peers after creating a set of guidelines for Hollywood.
The proposals are intended to curb the film industry’s worst abuses of science by confining scriptwriters to plotlines that embrace the suspension of disbelief but stop short of demanding it in every scene.
The guidelines are by Sidney Perkowitz, a professor of physics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and a member of the Science and Entertainment Exchange, an advisory body run by the US National Academy of Sciences.
Let’s see… How many different ways is that idea profoundly arrogant and/or stupid?
- There is no way to know what is absolute scientific fact… Geocentricism was the rage for centuries. Newtonian physics was the be-all and end-all in the mid 1800s. And heavens know that we can’t mess with the speed of light. The bottom line is that today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s science fact.
- Imagination is a wonderful thing. Consider “Edward Scissorhands”. Now that’s a sweet story, but the scientific implications are ludicrous.
- When I was a kid, I lived for those stupid “Godzilla” movies. Yeah, they broke every law of physics and common sense, but they made me wonder, and they gave me ideas… Those ideas played no small role in my becoming an engineer.
- As a writer, I’ll write whatever the hell I want to. So long as I don’t pen the equivalent of “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no fire, break copyright, or threaten public well being, I’ll write whatever I damn well please. If I write a crap screenplay and it goes down in flames, so be it.
Finally, just who does Sidney Perkowitz think he is? How is it that he’s so much smarter than the rest of us that he can recommend such a thing? No, his asinine idea will wither in the light of pragmatism. But it’s still frightening to witness such foolish ideas coming to the fore.
*For a list of the best and worst sci fi titles, click here.