Simon Pegg caused a stir in the Force of sci-fi fans on Tuesday when he said some rather condemning comments about genre films.
In an interview with Radio Times, the “Star Trek” actor was critical of the entertainment industry’s movement away from gritty art films, like “The Godfather” and “Taxi Driver,” and toward the superhero and comic book content that fills movie theaters today. “Now we’re essentially all consuming very childish things –- comic books, superheroes,” Pegg told Radio Times. The “Hot Fuzz” actor added that the geek culture prevalent today is “dumbing down in a way” since it’s “it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues.”
These comments, of course, erupted across the Internet, igniting rebuttals from i09 and debates on Reddit. In response, Pegg wrote a blog on his website clarifying what he meant, and admitting that after doing so many interviews, “you get sick of your own opinions and start espousing other people’s.”
In the blog, Pegg touches on the growing consumerism attached to genre films that has preyed on audiences’ nostalgia for youth. Citing the philosophies of cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard, Pegg explains how society has become infantilized to distract us from the real horrors of the world. “There was probably more discussion on Twitter about the ‘The Force Awakens’ and the ‘Batman vs Superman’ trailers,” Pegg writes, “than there was about the Nepalese earthquake or the British general election.”
The actor summed up his previous comments by saying that good, thought-provoking genre films still exist, citing “Ex Machina” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but that it’s still important to question what we like and why. Pegg, who is also co-writing “Star Trek 3,” reassured fans that he’s still a proud nerd at heart.
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