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End-of-the-Planet-Earth Science Fiction Films in Hollywood: Dystopian Spatio-Temporality in Blade Runner and Interstellar

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2015, (57), pp.67-99
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : April 23, 2015
  • Accepted : May 7, 2015

Yun-Jong Lee 1

1동아대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Hollywood Science Fiction (SF) films dealing with the end of the world tended to focus on showing "pure spectacles of disaster" by moralizing human victory in the confrontations between humans and the extraterrestrial/robots in the twentieth century. Turning to the twenty first century and viscerally realizing the environmental disasters brought from technological developments and concomitant environmental contamination that have destroyed the planet Earth, Hollywood came to recognize that the end of the world introduced in the SF films is no longer an imaginary situation but an upcoming reality. Accordingly, Hollywood SF films in this century come into the liminal period wherein spectators’ conception of time and space, namely their understanding of the future in the Earth has been converted to cope with the ever-approaching crisis of the end of the Earth. In this paper, I will examine what I call "end-of-the-planet-earth films" made in Hollywood at the turn of the twentieth and twenty fist centuries by tracing the changing trajectory of the spectacles of disasters in Hollywood SF films and their worldviews before and after the year 2000. Therefore, this study not only inquires into the epistemological shift of time, which used to be categorized thrice into the past, present, and future, but it also explores the space called the Earth as a human condition. To look into the changing details of the narratives and spectacles representing utopia or dystopia in the future of the Earth, I take textual analyses of Blade Runner (1982) as an end-of-the-world film of the twentieth century and Interstellar (2014) as an end-of-the-planet-earth film of the twenty first century.

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