So long, reality, it’s a brave, bonkers new world … Aaaand, ...

Ideas

So long, reality, it’s a brave, bonkers new world … Aaaand, action!

We’re in a time of almost pure science fiction, so the old scriptwriting formulae are going to have to adapt

Columnist

The point of blockbuster films is that they don’t have to stay in touch with reality. This is why every alien invasion or viral outbreak is ultimately sorted out by a very handsome young American with almost no body fat, rather than by a multinational team of scientists who resist the urge to take their shirts off all the time.

Still, we have our limits. A giant mechanical shark stalking Amity in Jaws is frightening. A giant mechanical shark rising out of the sea and roaring like a wounded bull in Jaws: The Revenge is hilarious.

Which is why the Hollywood blockbuster needs an urgent update. In 2020, somewhere between Covid-19, Siberian heatwaves, cigarette bans and the American president retweeting a video clip celebrating white power, we gently pushed away from reality and floated into a world of almost pure science fiction. And if popular culture is going to keep up, the old scriptwriting formulae are going to have to adapt to this brave, bonkers new world...

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