Sci-fi movies that got the future all wrong . . .
Always in motion is the future. Ah, Yoda – the little green guy will never let you down. The problem is, if you were making a movie in the 70s, 80s or 90s – the future always seems so far away. So you put in flying cars, aliens or some horrific global event and set in the far, far future of . . . 1997! Or 2012!
Who knows what amazing things will happen by then, except it has happened and, thanks to my love of science fiction, I can show you oh so many different futures that never happened (well, in this reality anyway).
Granted – this list isn’t all-inclusive – I admit I have tried as hard as I can to watch as many varied movies as possible as the driving critic for FilmCrave.com – but I can’t watch everything. If your favorite movie isn’t on the list – feel free to share your own opinion.
And it’s a good thing these never came around too!
I mean, look at Death Race 2000 – yes, B-movie exploitation at its best (thank you Roger Corman): a future in which the United States fell to a horrendous financial crisis and the fascist United Provinces serves and government and a unified national church. And, oh my crazy – it reminds me of the Tea Party – maybe if Sarah Palin had been elected we could be enjoying cross-country murderous racing right now! I have to move on to something a little less unsettling.
Like Escape from New York – taking place in the “future” of 1997 (the same year I graduated high school) – where Manhattan has been transformed into a supermax, and super massive, prison – thanks to a 400% crime rate increase. Oh, also, there’s a third world war to deal with. But don’t worry, we all have Snake Plissken on our side. I hear they’re thinking of rebooting this movie too. Wonder what year it will be set in this time around?
Of course, these are the best-case scenarios.
We have no end of films dealing with some horrendous event that pushes mankind to the brink of extinction. Maybe by machines. According to Terminator (and T2), a self-aware computer system was supposed to wipe (most of) us out in 1997 – or, if you go be the inferior third film – by 2004. Luckily for us, the closest thing to a self-aware robot we have to deal with is a geminoid that, while still incredibly creepy, isn’t going to launch any nuclear attacks on us.
Forget robots – what about some crazy disease? In Twelve Monkeys, a virus released in 1996 took out all but 1% of the population and forced them underground. Fortunately, by 2035, humankind has also developed time travel to stop the virus from being released. Hey, maybe it’s not fiction! We’re all still here so it must have worked!
According to I Am Legend by 2012 most of the population (90%) has been wiped out thanks to a cure for cancer that mutated and turned most people into some proto-vampire mutants. The movie was pretty close to getting Shaq’s retirement announcement right. Too bad we never got that Batman/Superman crossover film though.
However, disasters don’t come any bigger than when Roland Emmerich is behind the camera. He’s given us aliens, a giant lizard and catastrophic climate change, but nothing can top 2012 for sheer chaos. It’s like torture porn on a global scale and doesn’t everyone love a great Apocalypse? However, seeing as I’m here typing this, obviously the Earth’s core hasn’t shot up in temperature causing Yellowstone to explore or an aircraft carrier to hit the White House. And those are the least unbelievable scenarios I could pick from that movie . . .
There are plenty more movies with futures that have yet to come that aren’t going to get it right either.
Back to the Future Part II, Children of Men, Soylent Green (well, at least I hope) but I might save those for another day. The only advice I can offer future filmmakers is to set the bar higher. If you’re going to set your movie in the future, make it the year 3000 or something, because if you go short-term, the only future you’ll have is one where people like me get to gleefully pick your movies apart.
Chris Kavan is the chief blogger and prolific critic at FilmCrave.com and he hopes the future is kind of darker, because he doesn’t own shades.