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The first science fiction film was a French film ‘A Trip to the Moon’ made in 1902 adapted form a Jules Verne novel. It used special effects such as stop-motion cutting to make creatures disappear or reappear. The first American science fiction was ‘The Lost World’ in 1925 based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel. Model dinosaurs were used and at the time seemed quite impressive, now seem quite tame and dull compared with the likes of Peter Jackson’s dinosaurs in ‘King Kong’. This shows that many science fiction films are actually adapted from novels as this was the source of their inspiration.
Science fiction films were very popular during the 1950’s as Americas beliefs, attitudes and morals (Americas concerns) were reflected in Hollywood’s science fiction films. One of America’s main concerns of the day was the ‘space race’ between America and Russia to develop rocket technology. The race was a way for each country to demonstrate their power and world supremacy. One of the films reflecting America’s worries about the ‘space race’ was ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’ released in 1957 as it shown technology was improving dramatically e. g.space technology.
Another concern of America was the ‘Arms race between them and Russia many were concerned of the consequences of the testing of nuclear bombs. The film ‘The War of the Worlds’ (1953) reflected the worries of invasion and the devastation of War. One of the recent narratives which reflect peoples concerns today was the hybrid genre ‘Constantine’ directed by Francis Lawrence tells the story irreverent supernatural detective who has literally been to hell and back. This narrative reflects peoples concerns with god and questions the power of god.
This movie has a combination of action/drama/horror/thriller and fantasy. Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski are the duo who created ‘The matrix’ and Warner Bros studios decided to make the film. The production companies were Village Road Pictures and Silver Pictures. Warner Bros faced a risk making ‘The Matrix’ as the Wachowski brothers had never directed a film before. To avoid a box office flop ‘The Matrix’ they asked the Wachowski brothers to direct another film called ‘Bound’, this would test their directional skills and would decide whether they would be able to direct and make ‘The Matrix’ or not.
Elements which influenced the creation/idea of ‘The Matrix’ were: Japanimation, Science fiction books and simulacra simulcration. This shows that this film takes more influences from other genres whereas original science fiction films would be based on the simple ideas like good Vs evil and new technology. ‘The Matrix’ follows this tradition of the fight between good against evil and set in a dystopian future but uses the influences of Kung -fu for example to broaden its appeal.
Todorovs narrative theory is a formula which most science fiction films follow. It consists of different stages within the movie these are: Equilibrium, disturbance, attempt to solve the problem, further complications, resolution and lessons learned: new equilibrium. The matrix follows this. Equilibrium: Neo Anderson lives a peaceful life and works in an office but is a computer hacker in his spare time. Disturbance: Neo is contacted by Morpheus and discovers he is not living in the real world and that the matrix is just a software program.
Attempt to solve problem: Neo sees the oracle. Further Complication: Morpheus is kidnapped by agents and Sentinels threatened to take over Zion (the last safe place). Resolution: Neo saves Morpheus from the agents and defeats agent Smith. He and the others also defeat a group of sentinels in the real world. Lessons learned: new equilibrium: Good will always overcome evil no matter how bad the situation is.
The production value for ‘The Matrix’ was $63 million. It made $456,500,000 worldwide and made $171,479,930 alone in the U.S. A. The Matrix was released 31st march 1999 in the U. S. A and released 11th June 1999 nationally in the U. K. I think the timing of the release of the film contributed to its success as it was released on the eve of the millennium; many people were worried about the future and what it held. Some people actually believed the world would end on 1st January 2000. The dystopian future ‘The Matrix’ offers to its audience is a world where machines are threatening to take over the real world and end the existence of humanity.
Other factors that made ‘The Matrix’ successful is that the creators use authentic ideas e. g. our ‘real world’ is actually a software program an enigma is created as we wonder to ourselves ‘are we actually living in the matrix’? Also the digital/special effects the Wachowski brothers use e. g. slow motion; Kung-fu etc. are used to appeal to a younger adult audience as more teenagers tend to like more action films, whereas the complex parts of the matrix may be aimed to an older audience.
Another camera technique used in ‘The Matrix’ for the first time is called ‘Bullet time photography’. This technique was devised by John Gaeta. This is where the passage of time is displayed as extremely slow in order to allow a viewer to observe fast events (such as flying bullets). The impact of this technique was so great that other films began to use it for example: Scary Movie Cindy dodges attacks and deals a flying kick to the masked killer. The masked killer also hurts his back when imitating Neo’s dodges on the rooftop in ‘The Matrix’. By Kiefer Rendall.