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Are modern audiences more sophisticated?

I was watching the Quatermass Experiment (1950's era SF), and struck by how childish a lot of the "science" was, and how the show wouldn't fly today.
Are audiences more technically sophisticated today?

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 7th, 2006
A live version of the Quatermass Experiment was tried on BBC 4 recently, they underran by about 30 minutes so I'm not sure what they forgot to do, but although it was naive it was still quite gripping.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 7th, 2006
yep. not necessarily more "intelligent" per se.

we're more able to watch several ongoing themes simultaneously, we can hanle quick interchanges, scene angles, plot twists, etc... it's like we have a larger entertainment medium vocabulary?

a normal audience from 20 years ago would be left quite confused after watching an ep of csi, i think...
Permalink Kenny 
January 7th, 2006
Given that The Quatermass Experiment was made so long ago, it's no wonder that the science might seem childish - the space age had yet to begin then. 50 years of scientific research has pushed back the frontier to the unknown a long, long way since those days.

The later Quatermass and the Pit was one of the creepiest and most memorable films (movies) I saw as a child. It was probably one of the first films which successfully combined science fiction and mythology to make an utterly nail-biting thriller.
Permalink Mick 
January 7th, 2006
"Are audiences more technically sophisticated today?"

Yes. Both television and movie audiences. Most dramas from even the 1980's wouldn't fly today.
Permalink Almost H. Anonymous 
January 7th, 2006
Was the science plainly wrong by 1950's standards? Was it the kind of movie that would care about technical accuracy? Is it less accurate than Star Wars?
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 7th, 2006
Well, the first example that struck me was when a rocket crashed back to earth - represented by an image (or model) of a V-2 sticking into the ground like a lawn dart.

Materials science hasn't changed, V-2's were crashing into the ground a decade before the movie opened (near the homes of many of the viewers), but this appears to have been acceptable. Today it would laughed at.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 7th, 2006
Well, that's just a matter of convention. We probably have tons of conventions that people will laugh at 50 years from now. We're only just beginning to acknowledge that there's a difference between space & atmosphere (entering the atmosphere, wings on space ships, etc.) or that you don't need constant thrust to keep up your momentum in space.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 7th, 2006
Granted a V2 impact would create a bit of a mess but I think it was the ton of TNT that most people remembered - and probably why they got away with it on Quatermass.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 7th, 2006
Well, I'm sure there's the good and the crap in any time period. I get the impression we're overrated; there's a fair bit of good stuff from decades ago.

28 Days Later was pretty bad, where a wee drop of blood turns us straightaway into zombies. And that's a pretty good recent film, relatively speaking.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
January 7th, 2006
Hollywoods approach to anything the least bit complicated has always been to just make shit up.

And people swallow, ultimatly because its about storytelling, not documenting reality.
I'd even say that the directors/producers that dont give a crap about presenting a consistent reality and focus on the people and the story, are often superior.

Joss Whedon would be a good example. The first incarnation of George Lucas is another.

The annoying shit happens when they pretend that they are not just making shit up -when they have those "hey look we got some real science shit going here" scenes and they get it all wrong.
Permalink Eric Debois 
January 7th, 2006
One day I'll see a sci-fi movie where a ship in space *doesn't* make a whooshing noise.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 7th, 2006
I heard the Firefly movie was one which didn't have the whooshing.. and ironically there's no way I'm gonna watch it. ;)

Did 2001 have the whooshing when things zipped around? Did things even "zip around" in it?
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
January 7th, 2006
BTW, it would be hilarious if we one day begin to fly around in space for real and suddenly notice, that spaceships actually do go whhoooosh when they fly by.
Permalink Eric Debois 
January 7th, 2006
>> One day I'll see a sci-fi movie where a ship in space *doesn't* make a whooshing noise. <<

MoonTrap (Walter Koenig & Bruce Campbell, how's that for a duo?) was somewhat accurate in this regard.

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0097911/

As well as 2001: A Space Odyssey, where all you heard was Dave's breathing.
Permalink example 
January 7th, 2006
Never mind stuff from the 1980s, most of the science fiction from this decade doesn't work.

I'm thinking of "Supernova" here...
Permalink Katie Lucas 
January 8th, 2006
Though that movie did spawn one of my favorite lines:
"I've gotten out of worse situations"
"When?"
"Remember ten minutes ago when the ship was falling into the atmosphere with no propulsion? That was worse..."

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 8th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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