What would you think if I told you that a science fiction movie that had one set, was mostly dialogue, had no special effects, was one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen?

And believe me I’ve seen a whole lot of SF movies; from the really, really bad (Battlefield Earth) to the sublime (Blade Runner, everything Star Trek-y, Alien-y, and Harry Potter-y), from the earliest (Metropolis – 1927, and Things to Come – 1936) to the offerings of the last few years (2012, Inception, District 9, Avatar)

*I’ve only named a few in each category. If I put in all my favourites, we’d all be here for at least another 24 hours*

I’m also a special effects junkie, it’s my drug of choice, after tea that is. I’ll watch almost anything if the effects are good enough. It’s the science that fascinates me. “Just how did they do that?” is a question that I have to know the answer to, and I’ve sat through some absolute junk as research.

But this movie was different. I’m not going to tell you anything more than what I already have in case you want to watch it for yourself.

My point is this. The man who wrote it, Jerome Bixby, crafted something wondrous and challenging using dialogue and not much else. (of course dialogue alone lacks a certain something without a superb cast deliver it)

Words created the atmosphere, words created the special effects, words created the central conundrum, the tension, and the final unanswered question.

If we have the courage to name what we do, we call ourselves writers. We require courage to send our work out into the world to be published, then courage demands that we sit down at our computers, (of whatever manifestation) our typewriters, or our notebooks (the paper kind) and write some more.

When we run out of courage there are occasions when a shaft of light penetrates our slough of despond and something occurs that pulls our hands back in concert with our minds. It could be anything, even a movie we never expected.

The movie is The ‘Man from Earth’

“I love vampire stories. That’s why I did the movie. Women especially were taken with that movie-even more so when it came out on video” Catherine Deneuve

(Wanna bet she’s talking about ‘The Hunger’?)

11 comments on “Dialogue

  1. It’s ironic that the headline actor is a fellow whose greatest professional credits are a supporting part in a Star Trek series, and the second banana was the Greatest American Hero! (Talk about a sci-fi lineage…)

    Until you said the name of the movie at the bottom, I wondered if you were talking about 2001: A Space Odyssey. That was in the days before special effects were special so the story, and the characters, had to create the drama.

    I think the most amazing thing about sci-fi movies is how the imaginations of those writers inspire the scientists to try to make those ideas a reality. But I’m still waiting for them to figure out how I can ‘transport’ with one of those cute little broaches they wear on Star Trek.

    Thanks for the movie review: I’ll keep an eye out for this one.


  2. londonmabel says:

    I find a lot of the SF that gets made into movies are just thinly veiled action adventure, so I’m not tempted to see a lot of them. I don’t mind action-adventure, but there are so many GREAT SF novels that could be movie-ized instead, it just seems a waste. Though TV has been picking up the slack. I’ll definitely check this out–for my husband too. I’m a dabbler, he’s the junky.


  3. I’ll take a well-written story over bells and whistles any time. I’ll definitely look for this movie. I like what you say about being a writer and writing. Somewhere along the way, I lost my passion and became a hack. Ouch.


  4. […] when I talked about teh movies,  ‘Man From Earth’, and ‘The […]


  5. […] when I talked about the movies,  ‘Man From Earth’, and ‘The […]


  6. […] Science Fiction movie. One was Jerome Bixby’s ‘Man From Earth’, which I’ve posted about here, another is one I’ve just finished watching, ‘The Fountain’.(Warning: If you’re […]


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