Is Woody Allen A Science Fiction Director?

science fiction , time travel 2 comments

I’m going to start this off with a SPOILER ALERT! IF you haven’t seen Woody Allen’s new movie, “Midnight in Paris”, and if you think you might want to see it unencumbered by any spoilers, or the viewpoint of a random webseries director, then go see it, and read this after.

If you don’t care to see it, don’t care if you know some stuff that happens in the movie before seeing it, or aren’t a Woody Allen fan, then read on. Wait, scratch the part about not being a Woody Allen fan. I’m not one, and I actually really enjoyed the film, so you might too. Go see it, then read this.

OK. You’re back. Either you went to see “Midnight in Paris”, or you didn’t. If you went and watched “One Night in Paris”, that’s completely different. Last I heard, Woody Allen doesn’t direct porn. Though he did direct “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask”. That movie is one of the reasons that I don’t count myself a fan, but that doesn’t really apply here.

So, (and here’s the spoiler) there’s time travel in “Midnight in Paris.” Owen Wilson’s character (a writer, of course) travels back in time and meets several of his literary idols in the 1920′s expatriate community in Paris. Of course, there’s doubt-is he REALLY traveling back in time, or is it all in his imagination? Allen addresses this by having a detective (sent to follow Gil, Owen Wilson’s character) disappear into the past.

I suppose the “science fiction” elements of this film are debatable, since there is no obvious technology that brings Gil to the past, and I’d imagine that Woody Allen purists would not want to associate the penultimate nebbish mensch with a genre they may see as lowbrow. But I think Mr. New York has some Sci Fi tendencies. There are other films of his with sci fi elements…Zelig is one that comes to mind, but he didn’t direct that. There may be others, but like I said, I’m not a fan, so someone else will have to fill in the details.

Anyway, I liked this one, maybe because I can identify with what Gil was feeling about the artists of the past, because of the latent time travel theme, or maybe simply because it is a well crafted film. What do you think? Is “Midnight in Paris” science fiction?

Posted by   @   July 13, 2011 2 comments
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Jul 13, 2011
3:50 pm
#1 mtk :

Allen DID direct Zelig, though it’s not sci fi – perhaps you could call it fantasy, as Zelig is able to change his appearance to match those around him. Midnight in Paris is squarely in the “fantasy” camp as well, as there is no real “science” involved in Owen Wilson’s time travel. Allen’s done fantasy a few times: The Purple Rose of Cairo, Alice, New York Stories. His one true sci fi movie was Sleeper.

Jul 13, 2011
6:28 pm
#2 Dr. Ferro :

I saw “Sleeper” but haven’t seen “Midnight in Paris”… Not being a Woody fan I generally don’t watch his stuff, but “Midnight” may be worth checking out. I can’t call Woody a sci-fi director though. He’s almost a genre within himself. When I think of a sci-fi director I think of George Pal, George Lucas, Ridley Scott- filmmakers that literally built their careers by making genre films and did so more than once. Don Taylor directed “Escape from the Planet of the Apes”, “The Final Countdown” and “The Island of Dr. Moreau” in the 70′s… is he a sci-fi director? Probably more so than Woody. Just my thoughts :-)

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