Movies are powerful things. They can make us howl with laughter, make us drown in tears, pump our adrenaline, excite our senses, fuel our anger, and even change our lives. They’re little roller-coasters of celluloid dreams wrapped up in a parcel of fantasy.
But sometimes that fantasy can err frighteningly on the verge of reality – sometimes to the point where they can actually predict the future. Yes, occasionally the fecund imaginings of a director can manifest themselves in movie lore and later in reality!
Movies then, are more prescient than you think. Here are eight films that spookily and accurately predicted the future…
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Whether it’s an ill-timed comment or vomiting over your (presumably now ex) girlfriend, we’ve all got memories we’d like to banish from our minds. The idea was dealt with by Andy Kaufman in 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where Jim Carrey’s saddest break-up memories were deleted by a doctor at Lacuna, Inc.
Jump forward a few years and Dutch scientists have actually discovered that a heart medicine can also be used to erase traumatic memories from people’s minds.
Those of a certain age (children of the 80s, then) will fondly remember robot Johnny Five (“Johnny Five is alive!”), the prototype war-bot accompanied by the curly-bonced and affable Steve Guttenberg ,before his career took an unprecedented nosedive.
War and battlefield technology has come on leaps and bounds since then, with robotic devices that can be remote controlled into war zones to diffuse and dismantle unexploded bombs.
As Arnold Schwarzenegger strolls through airport security in Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 actioner, a gun concealed about his person is quickly identified by a ‘skeleton’ negative-style imaging device.
Futuristic altercations and bloodshed follow. In the wake of 9/11 and subsequent terror threats, these X-ray devices are now regular security fixtures in most airports across the world.
The Truman Show
Another Jim Carrey entry (spooky in itself, eh?), The Truman Show revolves around a central character who realises he’s the star of a reality TV show, and that everything around him is a stage set and not real life!
We don’t have to look far to see the impact of the Big Brother society or the concept of people living their lives in public for the gratification of others. From CCTV and identity cards to cameras in your wheelie bins and the cult of the Big Brother TV programme itself, we’re all familiar the notion of our lives be constantly watched, monitored and scrutinised 24/7. Protecting the public or flagrant invasion of privacy? The jury’s still out.
A Clockwork Orange
Crime, burglary, rape, lawlessness, violent gangs… Sounds like your average scrote council estate on any week night. And while it’s probably over-exaggerated to say that contemporary society has reduced itself to the kind of miscreant, unruly and uncontrollable behaviour depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s adaption of Anthony Burgess’ novel, you need look no further than some of the country-wide riots, prevalence of anti-social behaviour, or the thuggish conduct of Saturday afternoon footballs fans to draw at least some parallels.
David Cronenberg’s warped and twisted tale of a cable station director, whose discovery of a broadcast featuring extreme violence and torture leads his own life to become a downward spiral of bizarre and violent hallucinations, could be seen as a prophetic fore-runner of the You Tube generation.
Certainly the concept of filming images and scenes – be they innocuous or gratuitous – from everyday life and uploading them for the world to see is an omnipresent 21st century one.
Back To The Future Part 2
We may all still wait with baited breath for the day hoverboards become a reality, but in amongst all the hi-tech glow furniture and LED lighting, Marty McFly’s future 2015 did accurately predict that the oh-so-80s arcade game joystick would be rendered obsolete and replaced by either a wireless controller similar to the Wii, or a console that could be manipulated by physical gestures, like Microsoft’s Kinect. As Doc Brown would have eccentrically exclaimed: “Great scot!”
Perhaps the most scarily and accurately prescient of all the movies on this list, several of Steven Spielberg’s futuristic prophecies have already become reality. The gesture manipulated computer interface is similar to a special awareness environment created by an LA engineering company. The concept of cars piloting themselves can be seen with vehicles that park themselves, whilst Google is already going one step further with fully-automated, self-driving cars.
IBM Crime Reduction software is widely used across some police departments as a predictive analysis tool for crime hot spots, and the “sick stick” has a real life equivalent to invoke nausea. And, if that wasn’t enough, papers can be viewed on electronic screens, and retinas can be scanned for ID. No question Spielberg is a genius, but he may be Nostradamus reincarnated as well.
These are just a few movies that have proved to be accurate celluloid prognosticators as well as popcorn entertainment. Can you think of any others?