Simon Pegg Says Sci-Fi Is Making Us Childish

cayman shen

Master Member
I'm not trying to troll; obviously I'm an active member here and on several other "geek culture" sites. But I can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, he's got a point. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, no doubt, but still. As a guy who regularly blows what ought to be a student loan payment on comics or props, I felt the harsh jab of something in Pegg's comments.

Again, not trolling or trying to be insulting, just fishing for a thoughtful conversation.

http://io9.com/simon-pegg-worries-the-love-of-science-fiction-is-makin-1705420424
 

joeranger

Sr Member
He has a point but I don't think it is connected to Sci-Fi. I see shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy being the turning point in "Celebration of Stupidity".
Scifi tackles very mature issues. Dist 9, Minority Report,
 

cayman shen

Master Member
Agreed. Sci-fi CAN be one of the most thought-provoking, introspective mediums. I feel like he's lumping it all into one category, which is obviously unfair and inaccurate. Maybe if Pegg had been probed further he would have clarified that he's weary of geek culture and not sci-fi per se? But I can't put words in the man's mouth obviously.
 

Michael Bergeron

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The themes in good Sci-Fi have always been mature and related to serious issues. If you didn't come out of a Star Trek episode "thinking", you're an idiot.

The rebuttals in the article are more powerful than the original quote. For instance, I don't read comics, stopped when I was in my early teens. I also am not a fan of superhero movies (Avengers Who?). That doesn't mean I dismiss the art form as childish. Read MAUS and tell me it's for kids and doesn't make you think.

Tackling serious issues or highlighting the human condition in a fictional setting has always been a way for society to address it easier. It's one thing to talk about racism in the 1960's, it's another to show a black woman on a star ship in the future.

I consider myself a Simon Pegg fan but his comment here is just stupid. Perhaps he's referring to the CRAP Sci-Fi, like, you know, modern Star Trek. :thumbsdown
 

BlobVanDam

Sr Member
I'm getting more excited for the next Trek movie by the day.

imo science fiction has traditionally been one of the most thoughtful genres for exploring mature and complex aspects of human nature, and has inspired generations of scientific experimentation and invention, and raised discussion of social issues.

This is a problem with the dumbing down of Hollywood on a grander scale, and not a problem inherent to scifi. If a movie is well written, people have every right to take it seriously, regardless of whether it's a gritty crime drama, or a movie about apes taking over the planet. Perhaps Pegg is just in the wrong genre.
 

Solo4114

Master Member
"Sci fi" is so broad that I don't think you can clearly say that it does anything as some monolithic force. I do think that there's an element of "extended adolescence" in the air these days, but it ain't just from sci-fi. Actually, I'd say "maturity" is undergoing a redefinition.
 

CB2001

Master Member
As much as I enjoy Pegg, he's still just an actor.
Who cares what he thinks?
He's an actor and a writer. Remember, he co-written Shaun of the Dead, Run Fatboy Run, Paul and The Worlds End, the last two listed being sci-fi comedies (with the very last one appearing much more serious in several spots than the one previous to that), as well as co-written all 14 episodes of Spaced.

So, from a writer's point of view, I have to agree with him. It's not just the sci-fi genre that's suffering, it's ALL genres that are suffering the same degrading. Sci-fi films when they first started were mostly B-grade quick buck grabbers while sci-fi literature was where there was thought provoking material most of the time. And then 2001: A Space Odyssey came along and had the thought provoking along with spectacular visuals. Nowadays, there's not much of the emotional enduring and though provoking in sci-fi in film these days. The last sci-fi movie, to me, that seemed like that was Sunshine, which got a lot of love and hate from audiences.

But most importantly, the real point is being missed:
Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about … whatever.

Now we’re walking out of the cinema really not thinking about anything, other than the fact that the Hulk just had a fight with a robot.
And that's the point. Hollywood films, as I've said before, have become nothing more than the film equivalent of fast food. Something quickly made, and quickly consumed and then to be forgotten by those who consume it. That's the point of his statement. And, as bad as it sounds, he's right.
 

dascoyne

Master Member
Let me point out the obvious.

Pegg says, "Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about … whatever."

Guess what? They still are. The fact that he doesn't recognize this simply suggests that "junk cinema" is all that he watches.

In fairness I'm not entirely sure he's committing to the opinion that sci-fi films are the problem. It seems more that he decries the overindulgence of sci-fi/fantasy.

Pegg says, "It is a kind of dumbing down, in a way, because it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues."

Pegg doesn't speak for me. And he doesn't speak for everybody. He can only reflect an opinion based on his understanding of his personal proclivities and that of his peer group. I, for one, work to improve the quality of life for individuals and society in general. These movies serve as escapism. He doesn't speak for me.
 

dascoyne

Master Member
And that's the point. Hollywood films, as I've said before, have become nothing more than the film equivalent of fast food. Something quickly made, and quickly consumed and then to be forgotten by those who consume it. That's the point of his statement. And, as bad as it sounds, he's right.
Historically Hollywood is no more or less atrocious as it's always been.
I don't think the surge of popular escapist films necessarily means that more artistically innovative films aren't being made. Independent productions seem to be thriving in more ways than ever nowadays.

And, if I enjoy watching The Hulk fight a Hulkbuster it doesn't mean I've abandoned my appreciation of Italian neo-realism, the dialogue of Mike Nichols or the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim. You can have it both ways, no?
 

RogueTrooper

Well-Known Member
when did wankers like jj assrams and simon pegg GET control over so much of the things we loved as kids....?

we are lost indeed...
 

dascoyne

Master Member
"It is a kind of dumbing down, in a way, because it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues. Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about … whatever."

This is an interesting statement.

Pegg's very premise relies on the notion that all public interest centers around film and that all film is a reflection of public interest. How typically egocentric of folks in the industry to presume this. He doesn't seem to understand that many folks use film as escapism and seek meaningful experience in real life - not movies. I'd like to see him opine on Bollywood musicals - maybe they need to focus on things that are more socially relevant than escapist movies?

"... emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about … whatever."

OK is Pegg just taking the pi$$ out of us? Seriously. Do I have to explain how funny it is that he, himself, can't think of a "moral question" as an example? Is he just taking the mick?
 

cayman shen

Master Member
I also think he's seeing the past with rose-colored glasses. Holding up the best of the best, like the Godfather or Taxi Driver, as an example of how movies were better in the old days, is disingenuous. Movies of that caliber are still made, and crappy fluff movies were made back then. We just don't watch them anymore because they haven't stood the test of time. Kind of like how you can still hear the Doors on the classic rock station, but you never hear Donnie and Marie.
 
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Cephus

Sr Member
He's an actor and a writer. Remember, he co-written Shaun of the Dead, Run Fatboy Run, Paul and The Worlds End, the last two listed being sci-fi comedies (with the very last one appearing much more serious in several spots than the one previous to that), as well as co-written all 14 episodes of Spaced.
While I love Simon Pegg as an actor, as a writer, the things that he's written have been everything he complains about. They're all a bunch of dumbed-down sci-fi comedies that don't make you think at all, they're geared for the lowest common denominator. I'm supposed to take his opinions seriously how?
 

CB2001

Master Member
While I love Simon Pegg as an actor, as a writer, the things that he's written have been everything he complains about. They're all a bunch of dumbed-down sci-fi comedies that don't make you think at all, they're geared for the lowest common denominator. I'm supposed to take his opinions seriously how?
I take it that you didn't get the point about The World's End, which was about how modern technology destroys humanity and individualism? It's after the characters reject the Network and it leaves Earth that humanity thrives and becomes better. Even Garry King, a man who had believed when he was younger that he could change the world, only to grow up and find out that the world can't be changed because the Network had control of it, is only able to start changing the world and himself after the Network leaves. He chose his individuality over the mass that the Network was.

And you forget something: comedies represent the worst side of humanity or the worst state of humanity at the times they're written. This is true as far back as William Shakespeare, whose tragedies represent the best side of humanity while his comedies represented the worst. Romeo and Juliet was basically a "make love, not war" story, while Taming of the Shrew was about greedy people trying to maintain status with one woman's futile struggle against and eventual submission into that social norm. The same is true with many comedies even now normally deal with some sort of social issue, but its too well hidden for people to register it. Comedies are social commentaries, and those who don't get that are those who clearly aren't paying attention.

So, just because Simon Pegg writes comedies doesn't make his point any less valid.
 
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