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Of eight oscillations and several messages carved in flesh: Spectacle, spectatorship, cognition, and affect in Dredd and Looper

Bould, Mark

Authors

Mark Bould Mark.Bould@uwe.ac.uk
Associate Professor in Film and Literature



Abstract

Both popular and academic criticism tend to decry sf cinema’s commitment to spectacle and special effects as intellectually stultifying and thus politically narcotizing. This article challenges the class politics of taste and the crude models of interpolation underpinning such claims, questioning the ease with which many critics separate matters of cognition from matters of affect. It examines in detail three sequences from the mainstream, small-to-medium budget sf movies Dredd (2012) and Looper (2012). The climactic set piece from Dredd demonstrates the contradictory but entangled array of unstable subject positions opened up by cinematic spectacle. A sequence from Looper, which includes the most complicated special effects shot in the movie, shows how effects work can affect the viewer while simultaneously elaborating narrative/ world-building information that demands a cognitive response. A second sequence from Looper works in a similar way, ingeniously prompting the viewer to draw on intertextual knowledge to comprehend a shot that conveys complex narrative information and that ultimately refuses the specific special effect it has led the viewer to anticipate.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2014
Journal Science Fiction Studies
Print ISSN 0091-7729
Publisher SF-TH
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 123
APA6 Citation Bould, M. (2014). Of eight oscillations and several messages carved in flesh: Spectacle, spectatorship, cognition, and affect in Dredd and Looper. Science Fiction Studies, 123,
Keywords sf, Dredd, Looper, spectacle, spectatorship, cognition, affect, special effects, slow motion, cinematic synaethesia, 3D, hypermediacy, fabular apriority
Publisher URL http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/abstracts/a123.html#bould
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