Discuss the conventions of science fiction films with reference to Armageddon and Independence Day.

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Discuss the conventions of science fiction films with reference to Armageddon and Independence Day.

Two of the earliest science fiction stories were Frankenstein and war of the worlds by H.G Wells. Telling these stories gives directors plenty of opportunity for special effects. They can use their imaginations to design aliens, spaceships, robots, cities etc. Science fiction films are stories about imaginary scientific discoveries, space travel or life on other planets, they are popular because of this. People can just escape from their boring lives and enter a world of fantasy, where the only limit to as far as a science fiction film can go is your imagination. Science fiction is a popular genre of film, with a wide range of audiences. People enjoy collecting the memorabilia, they enjoy the action, the weapons, and the characters. Most science fiction films are set in the future, this is because the film can be as imaginative and as serial as you want. One of the most popular science fiction films ever made was star trek.


All science fictions films follow a Set pattern, there is a peaceful world at the beginning of the story, and then a problem is created by a new type of technology, an alien world, or an unknown force. A hero takes on the job of saving the group threatened, which is a whole world, a town or a family. Difficulties arise in defeating the danger that creates tension and excitement for the audience, eventually there is a confrontation, the hero wins and order is restored.

 In Independence Day it starts with a peaceful world, the film begins with the American flag on the moon, there is then a close-up shot of the words ‘world peace’ this revels that the film starts off peacefully. A similar way is used in Armageddon as in Independence Day, as it begins you see the world from space, it looks peaceful but then the mood changes, you can tell that something is going to change the world by the music, it changes from high keys to low keys this indicates that something bad is going to happen. In Independence Day you can not see the threat to the world straight away, whereas in Armageddon the threat is apparent from the start of the film. This starts to create tension and excitement for the audience, because they don’t know what the threat is yet.

 Independence Day focuses on an alien world, they have come to earth in the hope to kill all the people on it and to use up the world’s resources, and this is the problem. It is similar to Armageddon because both of the problems come from space. In Armageddon the problem is a huge asteroid heading towards earth, but if it hits then the whole world will be destroyed, and the entire human race will be wiped out.

 In all science fiction films there is a hero, and Independence Day and Armageddon are no different. They both have strong, powerful and brave heroes. They both set out to save the world, but in different ways. In Independence Day Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) sets out to destroy the aliens and their spaceships. Whereas in Armageddon Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) a deep core driller, sets out to destroy an asteroid the size of Texas. He attempts this by drilling a hole deep enough to drop a nuclear bomb into the giant iron rock to blow it up in time for it to miss the earth.

But then a problem arises and it needs to be solved as quickly as possible, In Independence Day the mission to save the world from the aliens is going well, at least until a problem occurs. They soon find out that the huge spaceships, which are looming over the cities of the world, have some sort of force field around them. This protects the spaceships from anything that tries to come into contact with it, unfortunately this includes all of the missiles, and nukes that are sent their way. It’s a job for Jeff Goldblum (David Levinson), he needs to find a way that he can corrupt the protective shield, so that the spaceships can be destroyed. This is a completely different problem to the one created in Armageddon. In Armageddon unlike in Independence Day, everything is going wrong. They get into space, that goes well, but then everything goes downhill from there on. They go to re-fuel, but a leak occurs in one of the pipes, this causes the space station to blow-up. Luckily they all manage to just escape with all the crew onboard the two spaceships. Then as they try to land on the asteroid, there are some unexpected rock showers, these cause one of the spaceships to go down, and lose all communication. But then another problem arises, because of the rock shower, the ship went off course, this means that when they land the ship, the conditions are rougher and harder to drill in. but this doesn’t stop the worlds best deep core drilling team. There are a few more small problems throughout the rest of the film, such as NASA trying to remote detonate the nuke before the hole was finished, the severe conditions killing some of the crew and problems with the ship. There are a lot of problems in this film, but this is done to create tension and excitement for the audience, they don’t know what to expect to happen next. The main problem in Armageddon is when the remote detonator on the nuke is broken, this means that the bomb has to be detonated by hand and the crew have to draw straws. This part of the film really creates tension, and is really serious, you can tell by the close-up shots of the crew’s faces when they draw the straws, they look scared and worried. And the rest of the camera work makes you think about the situation that they are in.

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 Order is restored in completely different ways in both of these films, In Independence Day they manage to corrupt the proactive shield surrounding the ships by planting a virus into the mother-ship. This gave them the chance to nuke the spaceships and destroy the aliens. The shots used are mainly establishing shots to show where things are, and to show the size of the ships compared to the cities and close-up shots these are to show the emotions of the character. The music used is quiet ethereal, as if the peace is a miracle. They use shots from all different ...

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