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Sci Fi Movie Rules Part 1 – 3 Things

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Sci Fi movies have rules!  When filming one you have to make these rules happen, otherwise how can you movie be considered a true science fiction flick, and be accepted by your much respected peers and colleagues.

You have probably noticed a trend in many sci fi movies along the years and you wont be the only one.  In the first of our series exploring some of the cult phenomenon associated with science fiction movie rules, we will be picking out some of the more obvious rules that directors tend to follow.  Of course this list is not complete at the moment, but if you bear with us, we’ll be sure to bring you some other classic sci fi rules.

Sci Fi Movie Rule One – Monochromatic Light
Some scenes in your sci fi movie need to be shot using only monochromatic light!  This is a staple of science fiction films and can be traced back years to classics such as Aliens and the Terminator.  Blue light is extensively used in modern day sci fi movies and has the ability to create a cool and tense atmosphere, also used in movies like Pitch Black and the video game to movie adaptation Doom.  Green light is also highly favored among science fiction directors, look at some of the scenes in Event horizon which successfully use this tactic and of course every sci fi movie that has a drop ship or amoured car is required to feature a red lit scene just before they reach their destination, they did it in Aliens, they also do it in Doom gotta love the coloured lighting for that classic sci fi feel.

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Sci Fi Movie Rule Two – Infighting
Infighting among the main cast is a must have in a science fiction flick.  In every good sci fi movie the pressure needs to be amped up by a bickering war between the films main cast, this could involve fighting over what course of action to take, who is going to go first, who needs to die, or whether they should run or fight.  Mostly the bickering and infighting occurs due to one main reason though and this is power, in all sci fi movies you need a moment where the leader of the group is tested by the cocky upstart who thinks they should be running the show, this adds much needed tension, and if this rule is not implemented the science fiction movie will suffer!

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Sci Fi Movie Rule Three – Something Goes Wrong
Something has to go wrong!  This is almost essential, think back to Sunshine how they messing up the first manual calculation meaning the shields were at the wrong angle to protect them from the burning heat of the sun, from here the movie was set up, with blame, guilt and tough decisions having to be made.  The same went on with Pitch Black where the ship crashes on a strange planet you know that something is going wrong, especially because they have a serious convict in tow and the planet has three suns, thats just not normal!  In 2001 you have everyone favoure talking computer Hal, starting to act a little strange and then proceeding to get more and more bizarre,  without some dilemma and major problems the sci fi movie just doesn’t work as well.  Even going back to more recent sci fi movies like Serenity, you have the resident phychic and often quiet River going crazy in the bar, she takes down the whole crowd with some crazy kung fu moves and sets up the movie for a race to find out who and what caused it.  If you don’t have a problem in a science fiction movie it really can’t be a science fiction movie even slow paced science fiction movies like Solaris fully understand this concept and fixing or finding a solution to the problem keeps the viewer glued to the screen.

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If you think we’ve missed a very cool rule of science fiction movie making be sure to let us know, leave us a comment and you might spark a new rule for our next post!  So be sure to pop back soon when we will be adding up part 2 of our science fiction movie rules.


Article by - Alan Dalton

Posted on - June 25th, 2009

Categories: 3 Things Main Movie Feature
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