Monday, March 24, 2008

I Walk the Line

Despite my blog's Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin' title, I have been known to stray off the strictly sci-fi and fantasy lovin' path from time to time.

There are times when this is really easy to justify. James Bond may not be a character out of high fantasy, but until pocket sized rebreathers, or bowler hats as weapons become commonplace or believable, I can probably get away with featuring Bond on my site without question.

On the other hand I do walk a fine line when I feature movies like The Bourne Ultimatum or Live Free or Die Hard. Most action films don't fit into the sci-fi/fantasy category as a rule, though I tend to bring them into the fold because so many aspects of these films cross the line from reality to fantasy. Take "Live Free or Die Hard" as an example; how many men do you know who have walked on the wing of a F-35 Lightning Jet while in flight and lived to tell about it? I'm guessing none.

I've never fretted about my inclusion of movies or TV shows that don't fit squarely into the sci-fi/fantasy category. I've always kind of had the 'out' that this is just a blog and I'm just someone who is having fun throwing up bits of nonsense and hoping that one or two people out there will be entertained. And hey, it's my blog and I'll stray off topic if I want to.

But then I realized something. Many of my favorite TV shows, movies and books kind of walk the line too. It's a funny thing. My mom, and I'm sure a lot of other people out there would say they're not particular fans of fantasy or sci-fi. But they'll watch an episode of CSI with great enthusiasm probably never really connecting the dots with the fact that nowhere but in a fantasy world could the test results from a DNA sample come back in a half-hour. I mean c'mon people, I like a little realism in my true-crime entertainment!

But you probably get where I'm going with this. I've noticed a lot of TV shows and movies throw in little bits of fantasy with real-life and people with all kinds of taste seem to enjoy it. I remember when Edward Scissorhands came out in 1990. Visually it was so different with all the pastel colors but the only real fantasy element was the fact that Edward was not a natural born human and he had hands made of scissors (hence the title). Most of the movie really revolved around his attempts to fit into normal society and the strange reactions-- and sometimes bigotry, he faced. The movie, whether because of or despite its fantasy elements was critically acclaimed and became a cult classic.

I'm sure if you were to think about it, you could easily come up with tons of movies that have some fantasy or sci-fi elements but don't quite fall into the categories, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Being John Malkovich (which you may just consider weird), but still find a wide audience.

And I don't know if it's deliberate, but I am coming to notice a trend on TV in which small bits of fantasy find their way into prime-time shows, like New Amsterdam, Chuck and Pushing Daisies that bring a bit of the otherworldly into our ordinary world. I like to think this is because we all like fantasy, but if I was being cynical I might suggest that it's because many people don't like to consider themselves fans of fantasy or sci-fi, but they can accept a little bit of whimsy in their entertainment.

Me? I like the fact that a little bit of the fantastic finds its way into so much of our entertainment. Who knows, some people may be converted into fantasy/sci-fi fans without even realizing it.


Charles Gramlich said...

*Holds his hand up* "Well, there was this one time..."

furiousBall said...

Hey it's cool, I just enjoy reading the writing. So whatever you've got for us is appreciated.

The Curmudgeon said...

Bring on the whimsy.

Carl V. said...

I certainly wouldn't worry about things on your blog crossing the line despite your blog's name and focus. I certainly don't have as obvious a sci fi/fantasy blog but it is still pretty much the focus. That doesn't stop me from talking about how much I love period piece films, etc.

I certainly agree that there are fantastical elements in a lot of films and television shows that wouldn't necessary be classified as fantasy. I think it ties into the fact that the folklore and mythology that is the foundation of storytelling from our ancestors has such resonance and truth in it that it cannot help but creep into non-genre storytelling.

SolShine7 said...

Excellent point! You hit the bullseye and summed it up nicely. Creativity doesn't always fit in neatly packaged labels.