Final frontiers: Computer-generated imagery and the science fiction film

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20 Citations (Scopus)


The science fiction genre has, since George Méliès's Le Voyage dans la lune (1902), been indelibly associated with special effects technology. The genre offers a space to showcase special effects while also pushing technological developments forward in order to convincingly represent the imagined worlds and visions of the future that are so fundamental to the genre. The rise of computer-generated special effects over the past twenty-five years offers an interesting case study in the shifting relationship between technology and genre. In this article, I trace how sf films have contributed to the rise of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and then consider how the genre has responded to the domestication of the technology by turning away from brave new worlds to explore the new frontier of CGI, the representation of the human body. By focusing on such films as Blade (1998) and THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (2001-2003), as well as the American movies of Asian superstar Jet Li, I further demonstrate that the use of computer imagery specifically transforms genres such as horror, fantasy, and martial arts into a form of hybridized science fiction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-108
Number of pages20
JournalScience-Fiction Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

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