A few weeks ago, Simon Pegg caused a bit of an uproar on the Internet with his comments about science fiction and fantasy. The whole story seemed to conclude with him considering hanging up his geekdom hat. Later, he tried to back-peddle and in the process made some pretty poignant observations. Now, I could jump on the chide-the-geek-star bandwagon and chide him for not saying what he meant, or meaning what he says, but that’s not where I landed. This whole ordeal has me thinking.
Because, like Mr. Pegg, I’m growing weary of flimsy stories. But, here’s where I depart from Mr. Pegg (or can I call him Simon? Or, The Peggster?), I don’t believe that his fatigue over “chidish things” has anything to do with the genre. In fact, in my opinion, it is the action-film-meets-popcorn-film psuedo-genre that’s really the problem.
Traditionally, SFF (Science Fiction and Fantasy for the uninitiated) has dealt with complicated and adult topics. The stories often push boundaries and cause us to think. But, the genre has garnered some mainstream appeal and the “dominant forces” want to make some money off of it. Fine, but why do fans go see these movies?
Because we live in a world that is seemingly devoid of justice. Police officers are increasingly untrustworthy. We have a “legal system, not a justice system.” We look around and see wickedness prosper and the world feels crushingly unjust. Human beings seem like aggressive animals with more intelligence than they deserve.
And comic book, science fiction and fantasy movies give us hope. We want to see real justice like the Hulk smashing Loki like a rag doll. We want to see human beings escape the imperfections that plague us and do something awesome. We want to believe in something good.
And the popcorn-action-flick gives us that sometimes, but other times, the stories just don’t sit right with us. I think this is why Ultron is leaving fans feeling cheated a little. The movie was missing the redemption, hope and justice we yearn for.
Sure, Mr. Pegg, I agree with you. I just think you inappropriately identified SFF as the source of the problem. I think Hollywood is out of league with Justice.
What do you think? Why do you like science fiction, fantasy and comic-book movies?