ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 9/21/09
Recently, I've been wondering how Hollywood gets their ideas for Science Fiction movies. Depressingly, I'm pretty sure they get 'em from a combination of crappy old 80s cartoons, comic books, and things they find written on the walls in public restrooms.
Not that there's anything wrong with loitering around public restrooms waiting for inspiration to hit. Certainly that worked out well for George Michael, and, hey, the second half of his career has been golden, right? Right?
Facetiousness notwithstanding, in fact I like comic books, and I like crappy 80s cartoons, and yeah, I'm stupid enough to go to that damn GI Joe movie, despite the fact that I knew it was stupid before I went in. But just as everyone likes junk food now and again, I think everyone knows that a steady diet of it is bad for you. And even if it wasn't, eventually you get sick of the Tater Tots and Curly Fries, and you want a nice big juicy steak, or a bowl of Tom Kha Gai soup.
Hollywood, if you're listening - and of course I know you're not - I think most of us on this site are long past that point. We want that steak, we want that supernaturally tasty Thai chicken soup (The secret is the cocoanut milk!), we want something that isn't quite so explosiony, but maybe is a little bit thought provoking. Not that we mind the kiss-kiss-bang-bang if 's in the service of a good idea - remember how all of us little geeks went ga-ga over the first couple Terminators? Or The Matrix? Or Star Trek IV: The One With A Plot? - no, no, no, we don't want more Terminator or Matrix movies, and pray God you don't remake any of those films. All I'm saying is "Please can you make an intelligent SF film again? Pretty please?"
I'm not even asking that you do anything weird. You don't have to bring any of JG Ballard's crazier stuff to the big screen, you don't have to try and film "Valis" by Philip K. Dick, you don't need to do anything inscrutably odd like trying to bring Italo Calvino novels to life in film (He's not an SF writer, but you know what I mean), I'm not saying you need to shoot for the top - but I think we'd all take it as a personal favor if, every once in a while, you shot for the middle.
Tomorrow I'll be back with some suggestions you might want to consider.