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March 1993


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 12 Mar 1993 14:46:57 -0400
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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This in part supports some of Henry's earlier remarks: SF (and related
genres such as Horror) have always been interested in spectacle and special
effects.  This interest is accentuated in film, which is visual and can
become for the purpose of the image alone.  In the last 25 years (roughly
since "2001", look and special effects have become more and more dominant,
until for the last decade or so it has usually been the case that a high
cost SF film was for the purpose of the SpEffects, rather than the other
way round (eg. Terminator 2).  Biger, better and grosser, SpEff. have pre-
vailed.  ("The Abyss" is another example)  TR is an instance of much of this.
The effect of the dome with a blown out window was too great to resist,
and plot credibility took second place.  I think most of the audience
appreciated/accepted this.  The idea/point of the film was to see this
sort of thing (goes along with the internal theme of virtual reality and
selling experience), plus ultra-violence (well, grosser violence, anyway)
and some sex, exotic bars, chases, explosions, etc.  An important way to
think about such films, particularly as cultural objects, is in terms of
this "spectacle" function, not plot, credibility, etc.  The effect, when
it works as effect (like theddome blow out or the morphing in T2) is
self-certifying, or self-validating (again, coming close to "virtual reality"
itself) and doesn't need plot or story or narrative confirmation.
Jesse Kalin, Vassar College