Thesis Technology, special effects, action, bugs and aliens, create a core of modern science fiction films and shade other aspects of these films.
In modern science fiction films, man's power to control his environment has increased, especially through the applications of science, fiction moves from the heroic dimension to concern itself with the relationship between man and the power that is man's most important creation. Science fiction is the literature that takes technology seriously. It must deal with the relationship of man to his creation and with the combined power and responsibility that ensues. In Fritz Lang (1927) Metropolis, Joh Fredersen serves as an instructive paradigm: Joh Fredersen not only arrogates to himself the role of creator, but also botches his responsibility towards his creation, paying an enormous personal price for his hubris. From its generic inception, sf has been a literature questioning man's ability to use effectively the power he is so capable of creating (Gibson 1986). Very often this power is symbolized by some terrible weapon of destruction. If people are to change our sociopolitical behavior, they need to know the assumptions it rests upon, not what we "believe" to be true but what we actually do when we are not looking. Then, since the one thing that humans cannot do is not assume, we need to devise new assumptions to live by. As we have encoded the current assumptions in fiction, so we need to encode the new ones, to try them out as thought experiments, to make them "real" in our imagination, and then to adopt or reject them. This is not a call for "uplifting" or "moral" fiction, for self-conscious myth making, but for creative exploration of new possibilities in human relations. Following Robertson (2000),
Science fiction's tendency to fetishise technology, particularly military technology, and its reliance on stock types of character and plot that are often flat and caricaturing, surely limits its engagement with any meaningful comprehension of the marginal, of Otherness (p. 29).
Science fiction films show that if the invention is a weapon, the threat must come from an enemy, and a superweapon requires a superenemy. Human "progress" comes from a combination of scientific curiosity and hard work; it can be measured by technology. But Man can easily lose his humanity by misusing that very technology. Evolution depends on struggle; technological sin consists of laziness, of general hedonism and elimination of struggle. Man has evolved slowly, but he can devolve rapidly. Devolution can be prevented only by continuous effort (Gibson 1986). Man's physiological evolution parallels his sociocultural evolution. Aliens produce Evolution by arriving in our solar system at a time when only a few men remain, striding through science irresistibly with their many machines. Although men have long since given up war, they assume that the aliens are hostile and try to destroy them with mere atomic explosions. The aliens use disintegrating matter to wipe Man out, leaving only his machines. The examples of such films are Byron Haskin (1953): War of the worlds, George Lucas (1977): Star Wars and Fritz Lang (1927): Metropolis.