— Bud Abbott as Dexter from Caddyshack, 1980
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January 25, 2014
Is ‘Gravity’ Science Fiction?
— Posted by Kenny Miles
With Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity receiving alot of attention in the last few months from a successful box office and becoming a serious contender in the Osacr race (with numerous Academy Award nominations), it is interesting to hear pundits and fans describe Gravity as “sci-fi.” Co-winning the Producers Guild Award alongside 12 Years A Slave is quiet an accomplishment and a testament to the high quality production it took to orchestrate this big budget blockbuster. It is a magnificant feature needed to be seen on the biggest screen. A movie like this demands a reaction and gets people talking. The critics group I belong to (the Denver Film Critics Society) which voted on numerous movie awards last week declared Gravity to be the best Sci-Fi/Horror movie of 2013 as well as awarding it best movie of 2013. I had a major issue with this because technically Gravity isn’t in the science fiction genre.
The dictionary defintion of the science fiction genre states the following:
“Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.”
To me, this doesn’t describe Gravity. I consider Gravity to be an action/adventure thriller set in space. It is a fictional movie that takes place in outer space with astronaunts, space ships, flying debris, etc. There is a difference calling it science fiction. Innaccurate stretches of science doesnt necessisarly make it sci-fi. Besides we suspend disbelief for action movies all the time (see the latest action packed movie that does well at the box office) and wouldn’t call action packed movies set in modern day as sci-fi.
When I posed the question to social media, most people of diverse backgrounds and various taste seemed to agree with my valid point. Gravity isn’t a sci-fi movie. However, the most logical counter point came from Yahoo.com movie contributor Jason Cangialosi who said, “The dramatic catalyst in the film is based on a theoretical premise called Kessler’s syndrome, so it actually abides by the definition of sci-fi that is a rational or realistic portrayal of possible future events. While the setting itself may not be futuristic, it relies on a theoretical premise, which as I understand, has not be proven or recorded true.”
It is interesting that even Alfonso Cuarón himself doesnt classify his own movie.
So TMB readers, what is Gravity as a film genre? Science Fiction? Action Adventure? One person even suggested Horror? Please let us know in the comments section.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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