This is fairly obvious perhaps. As with the last weird thought, this wasn’t a toilet thought but it could have been.
The contrast between how people talk in films and how people talk in real life is vast. Yesterday afternoon I was transcribing conversations I’d had with visitors to Powis Castle about their visit and I was struck by how jumbled up and incomplete their sentences were, and mine too. Here’s an example:
Ah well we’re in a hurry. We’ve got to get to Lancashire by 5pm. But my impression. The furniture. The furniture, yes, is stunning. The favourite, loved the Thomas Tomkin clock and the enormous table. One guide said, there are two Thomas Tomkin clocks, they are both gorgeous.
One of the stunning clocks at Powis Castle
See what I mean?
So later on that evening as I was watching Serenity I was struck with how eloquently (and concisely) the people in the film were speaking to each other. They were in the middle of a space crisis with dramatic music and lots of noise yet every word, every sentence was loaded with either significance or wit. Every sentence was grammatically perfect. There were no ‘errr’s or ‘umms’ at all. They spoke colloquially (which is part of the charm of the whole Firefly / Serenity thing), but perfectly. That’s not real.
I am good looking and eloquent
I understand why this is so though, they are actors reciting a script that was written by some chap sat at a computer and when you are sat at a computer creating dialogue you have time to construct good sentences. In fact, you want them to be loaded with significance and wit or the film wouldn’t be interesting.
Still, a happy medium would be better I think. I want to believe that the people in the film are real and that their space battles are as relevant as current-day crises such as the Internet has stopped working, the car has a puncture, the cat has vomited all over my foot etc. Perhaps I need to try to speak more eloquently with significance and wit the next time that happens to me.
If she drinks too much of that she might well be sick on my foot
This isn’t a thought from the bathroom but it is a thought that is bothering me so I will share it. I’m sat here watching Serenity and a few things occur to me, reminding me of issues I have with science fiction in general, and science fiction on TV and in films in particular. The first issue is the subject of this blog, and that is: people in science fiction don’t care about history. This statement of observation doesn’t sit well with me. People in the real world care about history. We have always look back as much as we look sideways and forwards. People in science fiction look mostly sideways and forwards. Consider how many hours we may spend our Sundays wondering around National Trust properties, watching The Antiques Roadshow, or browsing through old photographs or fingering fossils, crystals or old pots handed down from our father’s father’s father.
Lovely old pots
Why don’t people in science fiction films set in the future have the same urges? How come they don’t adorn their mantlepieces with bits of old pottery? Most people fill their homes with relics of their personal history and objects of previous histories. Why do you not see people in science fiction films wearing vintage clothing? Why is it that they don’t like watching Downton Abbey between fighting space battles and having wars with the Kardashians?
Who are these people from times gone by and why do we care about them?
I don’t think that this is realistic. People have always looked back to the past, fondly or with fear, and collected objects of history or historical significance. We like to have these old things around us. They comfort us. But in space, there is no sign of the past and this makes me feel uneasy. Where are all the antiques?
Kim’s new look
Apparently there are two exceptions to my observation. Firstly, Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek Deep Space Nine I’m told kept a collection of old things he occasionally liked to admire. Secondly, the film Planet of the Apes (both versions of which I have seen) was all about harking back to the past even though it was set on a different planet. I do concede on point one, but not point two. If you look at the strict definition of ‘science fiction’ it means ‘fiction that uses science to create a story’. Despite what most people may think, it doesn’t have to be set on a spaceship (and doesn’t have to be set in the future either for that matter).
Two archaeologists kissing
My issue is with proper spacy science fiction and it is yet to be resolved.