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Gravity - Sci-Fi Or Not Sci-Fi?

Friday 7 March 2014, 14:25

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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No science fiction film has ever won the best film Oscar and this has prompted a debate about whether Gravity is sci-fi or something else. The answer in my view is very simple...

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1.

    Thank you Mark! This issue has been bugging me ever since the nominations were announced. The BBC and others have repeatedly kept referring to Gravity as a "space film". Every time I heard that I seethed just a little bit. Its Science Fiction to its core, just as the film Buried is a horror piece and not a thriller as some have stated.

    I always smell pretension in the air, when filmmakers actively go out of their way to try and avoid categorizing their work outside of the genre that it most clearly resides in. Its almost as if they are slightly embarrassed to admit that its a genre piece. Rejoice I say, and take pride in what it is; not what you try and make it to appear otherwise.

    Sure; Gravity has thriller elements and religious overtones that do appear to transcend some of the more obvious tropes of the genre. But at its heart it is and always will be Science Fiction. And proudly so.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 2.

    Well, duh. Look to the bookshops as well - too many things get stuffed onto "genre" shelves in an attempt to pretend that they aren't "literature". Just because something is a genre movie doesn't mean it has no artistic merit, as Gravity proves in spades - and, equally, just because something is considered "art house" doesn't automatically mean it deserves more respect...

    So here's my own minor contribution to this pointless debate: Gravity is clearly not SciFi - Gravity is SF. There, that should sort everything out.

    (Anyway, in passing, and *spoiler alert* does anyone else think that Gravity would have been immeasurably improved if there had been a single post-credits shot of Bullock still in the Soyuz airlock? As someone who thinks that the only plausible explanation for the last part of Dark Knight Rises is that everything after Bruce Wayne in prison is his fantasy, this reading of Gravity appeals to me enormously.)

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 3.

    Firstly the fact that the Acadamy still to this very day won't let science fiction, horror and now the comic book/superhero genre nab the top prize just goes to show how single minded the award committee truly is, and I for one was disappointed that 12 Yrs a Slave won Best Film since its above all else a historical epic, and how many of those films have won Best Picture over the years.

    The Silence of the Lambs is many things; psychological thriller, detective drama, horror film, I would even put the coming of age tag on it. Gravity is also the same, its a science fiction film that has elements of psychological drama, and even dare I say it has elements of the road movie, Bullock's character goes on a journey to space, and her character must confront her own torments and issues during her journey. But like oldskool has mentioned, at its heart Gravity is a science fiction film.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 4.

    If Gravity is science fiction, then so is Dallas Buyers Club.
    After all, the Matthew McConaughey film is based on science (medical drugs that combat disease) and is fictionalised.

    To qualify as science fiction I think a film needs to be set in a non-contemporary fantasy world. Gravity is a fictional film based in space, set in the present. Sorry, I'm not buying it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    Gravity is certainly science fiction, as there's little in it which is factual or even possible within the laws of physics. It's a fantasy, and one which has an unpleasant anti-science, anti-technology, anti-space message.

    Cuaron clearly mistrusts science and thinks humans belong on earth. Fine, but then why make a space movie? Seems like the wrong subject matter for him. It would be nice if he left all the religious junk out of his work too, especially if he ever does sci-fi again.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

This twice-weekly video blog is the place where he airs his personal views on the things that most fire him up about cinema - and invites you to give your own opinions.

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