You have to hand it to them: all the way up into the 90′s, movies gave us some pretty bold depictions of what the future would bring, including everything from flying cars to sentient machines hellbent on destroying humanity. Unfortunately, we’re still not traveling through time or zipping around on hover boards, but it’s still fun to take a look back and disappoint ourselves with what could have been. Here are seven films whose depictions of our modern day couldn’t have been more wrong.
Los Angeles in 2019 has exactly one thing in common with the Los Angeles of 2014: it’s massively overpopulated. Otherwise, things couldn’t be more different than how they were predicted in Ridley Scott’s dark sci fi noir thriller. Today, we have no flying cars, spray-on eye makeup that makes you look like a KISS fan club member isn’t a fashion norm, and there certainly aren’t any replicants (that we know about, anyway) running around the city with bad intentions. The themes of humanity and emotion certainly apply to our increasingly digital and connected age, but as a whole, it couldn’t be more different. It could be argued that we still have five years to go before this is a final judgement, and if things actually play out to the point that this becomes a reality, I’ll gladly eat my words. As of now, however, I’m not too hopeful that we’ll bask in the neon glory of 2019 LA in the foreseeable future. By then, it’s more likely that we’ll be wearing Google Glass and lining up to see Avengers 4.
According to the classically grim sci fi series, we should have had our Judgement Day via a major nuclear incident in 1997 and found ourselves long slaves to robot overlords here in 2014. Although our robotics technology is steadily improving, we’re all still wowed by robotic limbs and Roomba vacuum cleaners. So, I’d say it’s highly improbable that we’re near a period of war with sentient machines any time soon.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
I’ll give them this much: they did accurately predict a handful of things, such as our cultural obsession with movie sequels and the existence of video games that don’t require a controller. But for the most part, seeing the 2015 of Back to the Future is a major bummer. Where are the flying cars? The hover boards? Men sporting the double tie look? The disappointment of Back to the Future’s depiction of 2015 is made worse by the fact that so much of its technology is close, but not to a point where it’s being implemented as liberally as it was in the film. Except maybe the double tie look. We might need 100 more years for that.
Admittedly, this one is a bit of an anomaly. It’s a movie set way, way into the future, but I had to add it here simply because of how it predicts the Earth to fall into disarray. In one of the most vapid and extreme misunderstandings of evolution, After Earth paints a future in which Earth is taken back by nature, and everything evolves to “kill humans.”
Now, a couple things wrong with this. First, they didn’t abandon Earth long enough to make it look like it’s ripped straight out of the Jurassic period. No, young Kitai’s run through the Earth fields wouldn’t be something of a dream hike for the most adventurous of outdoorsy-types; it would likely be riddled with ruins and leftover junk that remained when the humans deserted the planet. Where were the cars? The buildings? They weren’t gone long enough to justify the complete disintegration of all traces of humanity.
Second: things don’t evolve merely to kill a creature that isn’t there. Nature doesn’t have a vendetta, and certainly can’t evolve enough in a handful of years to justify what is arguably one of the most ludicrous lines said in the entire film. There are no humans on Earth anymore. Why would everything evolve to kill them? Why would that be the basis of evolution? Were creatures mad enough about our gross treatment of the planet that revenge was written into their genetic code? An entire essay could be written about the wrongs of After Earth, but for now, let’s just leave the ridiculous depiction of our home planet as proof that After Earth really didn’t take the time to fully consider what its future would actually be like.
If Timecop is to be believed, then we should have been travelling back in time back in the 90′s. We weren’t then, and we certainly aren’t now. If only, if only…
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Much like Back to the Future, there was a lot that this movie predicted accurately about our modern day, including video calling and even space stations. But for all it got right, it still made a lot of bold and inaccurate predictions about the future.
Probably one of the most notable wrong predictions of Stanley Kubrick’s sci fi classic was that of flying to space stations using commercial space travel courtesy of Pan Am. Not only did Pan Am go under in 1991, but we also aren’t regularly travelling into space, and (thankfully) haven’t had any astronauts lose their lives to a self-aware AI on a murderous rampage.
DEATH RACE 2000
The dystopic near-future United States of Death Race 2000 was a grim one indeed. Society had crumbled into a military state whose primary form of entertainment was watching maliciously tricked-out vehicles run down pedestrians in order to rack up points for a win. Thankfully, no military state took hold of the nation in 2000, and although reality TV is descending deeper and deeper into a deep, dank pit, we haven’t quite reached Death Race levels of low.
What other films had some really strange ideas about our future? Tell us in the comments below!