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Is steampunk a commercially viable film genre?


GAIA subsystem
RPGnet Member
Validated User
unlike medieval and early stuff (where it's easier to get people to uncritically accept princes, kings, dukes and other elites as good guys)
And let's be honest, we could do with a lot less of that "great man" approach in Fantasy fiction (pseudo-Medieval and otherwise) too.


Validated User
Personally I'm not a fan of the term dieselpunk for pulp stuff.
I think they're two different things, admittedly with some overlap. Indiana Jones is pulp without any anachro-tech.

I'd hesitate to call The Time Machine steampunk as well. It's Victorian sci-fi, with the machine necessarily being all brass and cogs, but it's from a straight-up Victorian London of our past.

Missing from the list above:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

And for dieselpunk:
Captain America: The First Avenger (for all the Hydra-tech)


Social Justice Main Tank
Validated User
I'd hesitate to call The Time Machine steampunk as well. It's Victorian sci-fi, with the machine necessarily being all brass and cogs, but it's from a straight-up Victorian London of our past.
I'm the same with Victorian-era scientific romances like 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea being retroactively labeled as steampunk. For starters, at the time the technology displayed was not "the future of our past" anachronistic stuff steampunk usually depicts, it was speculative fiction about technology that might exist in the future, good old sci-fi before the term was created

Eduardo Penna


Registered User
Validated User
I feel there's a relatively solid stable of cyberpunk movies and Blade Runner & Robocop really helped shape the genre, so I disagree there, though I do agree they didn't get a handle on other punks.
As I said, there are a handful of exceptions, and both examples you cite are from an era when Hollywood had a larger number of studios that were willing to back a creator's idea, especially if it fell under the sci-fi genre. Today, the major studios seem unwilling to commit to something unless it has a brand name (either a "name" director or an established franchise) they can piggyback on, and want it to be an instant blockbuster.
After the glut of "computers are a thing" films from the 90s, most of the interesting work in scifi has been in smaller films. I think Neill Blomkamp has a very strong grasp of the genre, and Leigh Wannell's Upgrade impressed me for a number of reasons (one of which being that it completely abandoned the 80s Blade Runner aesthetic in favor of a more current look). But even then, Blomkamp had the backing of Peter Jackson and Wannell was already known for his horror films.
If someone asked me for an introduction to the genre, I'd probably tell them to watch Alien, Blade Runner, Aliens, RoboCop, Total Recall, Strange Days, Repomen, Chappie, and Upgrade, as well as the anime of Akira and Ghost in the Shell. (And then probably I Robot as an example of what happens when Hollywood decides a decent idea for a cyberpunk film needs to be turned in to a big budget action blockbuster.)
As far as steampunk, from a thematic perspective, I think the closest thing to a success has been The Prestige.


Social Justice Warmonger
Validated User
Actually the most steampunk piece of media was the original Wild Wild West before there was a steampunk, and Brisco County Jr.
How do they rate on the fuck-the-man-o-meter?

Taboo is the story of a group of damaged people coming together despite their damage to fight against a trans-national megacorp, using technology of the day (gunpowder, really, to be fair) in unorthodox ways to achieve their goals. Its punk as fuck.


may one day be worthy of your grace
Validated User
It's the rules.

New genres get named '-punk'.
New scandals get named '-gate'
Punkgate - the ongoing scandal of things with no detectable trace of punk ethos being labeled "punk"

Gatepunk - That Time I Reincarnated in Another World as an Anarchist

Steamypunk - bodice-ripping punk romance
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