Why Hollywood isn't good at Science Fiction
I have decided that Hollywood is unable to make truely good science fiction. They can do fantastic action movies with science fiction backdrops but they almost never do a science fiction movie. And after thinking about it I believe I understand why.
The very nature of science fiction goes against the nature of a Hollywood movie studio. The problem is that Science fiction is about new ideas, about thinking about things in a new way. I read science fiction because it comes up with things that I have never heard of before.
What Hollywood studios want though is a proven formula. This is why we have 3000 different superhero movies in production. It's why we are going back to old movies. It's why every science fiction movie in existence is at its heart an action movie.
To prove my point think about the truly innovative science fiction movies you have seen. The ones that did something completely different. First off I suspect you're having trouble thinking of it. This in itself is sad because science fiction is supposed to be about new ideas.
The ones I came up with were, Gattaca, Donny Darko and Primer. Two of these are independent movies and the third Gattaca had a budget of 36 million. Even in 1996 when this came out that was pretty tiny, so I suspect that was how they were able to make this movie.
I see the same problem with the Syfy channel. They are afraid to try anything truly innovative because there is risk, and the longer the station exists the more it moves this way. They put wrestling on the station because it is save, they put reality TV on the station because it is safe. They put more Stargate on the station because it is safe. With as long as Syfy has existed why haven't they done a hour long show similar to the outer limits with a different science fiction story each week?
So what is the solution. I think we are already seeing it. As the cost of special effects plummets more and more independent science fiction will appear and along with more web series and those will be willing to take risks because for shows with no budget and no big name actors the only thing left to do is to take risks and put out interesting ideas.
Why is all of this important? Because we are in an age when change and technology are going to be the defining factors and the one type of media that can really deal with those ideas in a meaningful way is being relegated to gunfights with robots.