the genre best suited to advocate for a different future is the one most likely to be shaped by conservative forces.
science fiction is celebrated because it changes the way we see things.1 but it’s very expensive to make. so the formulas that are used to make a science fiction movie are far more conservative than those used to make, say, a horror movie.
as a result, the slicker it looks, the more likely it is to be politically conservative. heroism is defined as staying the course. (killmonger was right.) technologies of war are tamed and made friendly.2
consider the trailer for the movie AXL Movie which puts Becky G to work as Megan Fox. the trailer pitches us a deadly technology that “falls from the sky”. the boy who befriends said killer robot soon discovers it has a heart of gold – i.e., the soul of a dog.3
can you imagine if the deadly technology that fell from the sky was a drone? and the place where it fell was Afghanistan and the kid who found it was a girl? i can. because it’s already happening!
hell, don’t even put it in Afhagnistan. Put it in the militarized US Mexico border. you could even cast Becky G as the lead.
the CG would be the same. the hero’s arc would be similarly pleasing and universal. but the implications of the movie – how we got here, where we go from here – would be radically different. it would have something essential missing from much sci-fi: gravity.
leaving that movie, we’d see reality differently. in other words, it would be science fiction.
1 Wakanda forever, yes, and also War Games, which changed President Reagan’s understanding of nuclear war and brought the world one step back from apocalypse.
the USA has been in a war in Afghanistan for ~17 years. during that time, the USA was also at war in Iraq for about ~10 years. this was the second US war against Iraq in about 30 years. we have so much war equipment, we’re giving it to police who are using it in American neighborhoods. to build a movie around a weapon of war… should be a dicier proposition.
2 see also Zero Dark Thirty, also, but that’s for another day. here’s a good review of interrogation
3 i’m sure A-X-L is a fine movie and everyone who worked on it busted their butt to make it awesome.