Sci-Fi Cliché

I can see a crack in the moon … OF URANUS!

It’s funny how the “creative” people in Hollywood all seem to work from the same atrophied brain.  This year saw not one, but two movies about terrorists taking over the White House.  It’s also had three movies released this year that assure you that you’re watching a fantastical film by showing the mind blowing image of a moon torn asunder.  For those who don’t make it a point of watching every science fiction film as they come out, those have been Oblivion (where it was Earth’s moon), Star Trek Into Darkness (Praxis, a moon of the Klingon home world of Kronos), and The Man of Steel (one of Krypton’s moons.)

The über-geeks out there will, of course, insist that the shattered moon’s appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness can’t possibly be cliché because it is, in fact, a reference to Praxis’s explosion in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (my second favorite Star Trek movie, my favorite being The Voyage Home.) Of course, anyone with knowledge enough to recognize the reference should also be able to figure out that Praxis would have blown up far in advance of when it’s supposed to and that it’s visually completely different from how it was shown in The Undiscovered Country.  But then a fan who is so easily amused (nay, distracted, like a dog having a set of keys dangled in front of him) by the mere presence of Easter eggs would, naturally, not be smart enough to critically analyze, well, anything.

It’s not that a shattered moon is a particularly novel image.  It was used in the abysmal film adaptation of The Time Machine back in 2002 (but same über-geeks will insist there was nothing wrong with that movie because it was directed by H.G. Wells’s great-grandson.)  It would be petty to complain about the fact that presenting a shattered moon in such a way is unscientific (these are science-fiction films, after all.)  My problem is merely with the way it’s been so thoroughly driven into the ground in such a short amount of time.  I can just imagine the visual artists on each of these films patting themselves on the back over how original they thought they were being, and it makes me want to meet these people and punch them in the mouth.

Yeah, that’s an over reaction.

And for the record, of the three shattered moon movies this year, I think Oblivion was by far the best of the lot.  I know, everybody’s supposed to hate Tom Cruise these days, but dammit, his movies keep on being so very watchable


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