Simon Pegg criticises science-fiction and genre films for “dumbing down” cinema

The Star Trek and Shaun of the Dead actor made the comments in this week’s edition of Radio Times

He may be seen by many as the face of geekdom – but Simon Pegg thinks cinema-goers need to grow out of their obsession with science-fiction.


“Before Star Wars, the films that were box-office hits were The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Bonnie and Clyde and The French Connection – gritty, amoral art movies. Then suddenly the onus switched over to spectacle and everything changed,” Pegg says in this week’s edition of Radio Times magazine.

“Now, I don’t know if that is a good thing. Obviously I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science-fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we’ve been infantilised by our own taste.”

He went on: “Now we’re essentially all consuming very childish things – comic books, superheroes… Adults are watching this stuff, and taking it seriously!”

Pegg cut his teeth on sci-fi influenced Channel 4 comedy Spaced and is best known for his roles in so-called “genre” films like Shaun of the Dead and Star Trek (he’s currently co-writing the script for Star Trek 3) – but it seems the writer/actor wants to move on.

“It is a kind of dumbing down in a way,” he continued. “Because it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues. Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about… whatever. Now we’re walking out of the cinema really not thinking about anything, other than the fact that the Hulk just had a fight with a robot.”

Pegg concluded: “But I sometimes feel like I miss grown-up things. And I honestly thought the other day that I’m gonna retire from geekdom. I’ve become the poster child for that generation, and it’s not necessarily something I particularly want to be. I’d quite like to go off and do some serious acting.”

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Read the full interview with Simon Pegg in the new issue of Radio Times, on sale from Tuesday 19th May in shops and from newsstand for iPad and iPhone.