We’re Acting Like We’re In A Western When We’re Actually In The Sci-Fi Era

James Rozoff
5 min readJun 21, 2024
Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash

Watching Star Wars at the theater for the first time when I was 10 was everything a young boy could ask for. From the opening moments where a full-scale laser fight takes place in a space ship, I was hooked.

Looking back on it now, though, a laser gun battle inside a space ship would probably not be a good idea. Because if those laser guns are capable of blasting through doors and body armor, they would probably go right through the outer walls of the ship, as well. And that would be the end of every human being inside the ship.

A lot of what Hollywood does it does because it looks good on the screen and not because it’s realistic. A real-life fight aboard a spaceship would probably be a lot less visually appealing but also a whole lot less likely to destroy everybody on the ship. But filmmakers who grew up watching old Westerns and enjoying the wild gunfights probably wanted to convey that energy in a futuristic scenario.

That’s the problem, we become used to old ways of doing things and tend not to want to let them go. Even though it makes no sense to engage in a laser fight in a ship in outer space, it FEELS right, and it appeals to our macho sensibilities. We’re just there to eat popcorn and be amused on a hot summer day, after all. Hence the cool but…