In all likelihood, the future isn’t going to look that different from the way the world does now. Looking back at photos of the last hundred years, the way we dress and live really hasn’t changed that much. The reason film producers always make people in the future run around in silver jumpsuits, looking like giant vibrators or drive flying cars is so, when you are watching them, you will think, ‘This is a film about the future. I know this because everything is white and everyone looks completely retarded.’
On the other hand, though, if you believe everything on the news, the future is going to kill us. If we don’t get blown up tomorrow, then we’re going to die anyway when all the Earth’s water runs out. Seriously.
With that in mind, some of these films aren’t actually so unrealistic…
Fist of the North Star
The Japanese are insane. Everybody knows that, and it’s never more apparent than when you look at their cartoons and comic books. In the 80’s, every male protagonist in the action genre was seven feet tall, four feet wide and looked like Bruce Lee by way of Liam Gallagher. This was apparently the pinnacle of human perfection in Japan at the time, and Fist of the North Star took that idea, wrapped it in ten layers of leather fetish-wear and made it punch people to death at impossible speeds.
Anyway, the plot: it’s half past the future and nuclear war has wiped out most of the human race so most of the remaining inhabitants have resorted to a life of stealing, murder and rape. Obviously. While it never really explains why, if most of the worlds resources have been wiped out, so many of the gangs can be made up of three-hundred pound steroid abusers, once Kenshiro, the hero of the series, turns up to punch someone in the head and make them blow up you‘ll forget all about it.
Kenshiro has mastered the art of Hokuto Shinken, which roughly translates to ‘poking stuff until it explodes’, and he mostly uses it to antagonise and cripple biker gangs while on a journey to murder his brothers, because they’ve somehow managed to be even bigger dicks than a man that spends his entire day running about the desert turning people into jam.
Given the amount of comics I’ve read like this, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be afraid that the Japanese are developing a race of giant Bruce Lee’s to kill us all. In fact, I think it’s irresponsible to not be preparing a counterattack.
For those of you not in the know, Mad Max stars an eerily young Mel Gibson before he became a renowned director/terrible racist. Actually, watching the Mad Max films knowing what we know now, it’s sort of hard to put out of your mind that the real reason he is so good at playing a borderline sociopathic loner is because he might actually be mentally ill. It also sort of makes you wonder if that bit in Lethal Weapon where he handcuffs himself to a man and jumps off a building was actually scripted…
Anyway, back to Mad Max. Similar to Fist of the North Star, this film is set in a bleak, dystopian future where gangs rule the cities and highways and the police are all but powerless to stop them. I know it says this is set in the future, but this could just as easily be Glasgow on a Saturday night.
Also? In the future, Tina Turner will run a tournament where people fight to the death. I take back what I said about the Japanese, THIS is what we should be preparing for. Is anyone even keeping tabs on Tina Turner?
I, Robot is a film about the future in so many ways. It warns us about the dangers of a world that relies on a subservient race of robots, and what happens when they go kill-crazy and decide to- seriously, is no one else worried about this? Is it just me? I threw the toaster in the bathtub because it ejected the toast too fast and I was sure it was trying to hit me with it.
The real reason I included I, Robot, though, is because it showed us all the grim future of product placement. Now, I’m sure Will Smith is a really nice guy, and maybe this wasn’t even his fault, but the amount of products jammed into this film is absolutely unreal. And it all culminates in a scene that I still talk about 7 years on, where Smith shows his mum the shoes he bought:
That is literally Smith’s line, and for those of you blessed with the gift of basic arithmetic, you will be aware that 2004 was the year this film came out in cinemas. I know films like Quantum of Solace have went on to beat his product placement high score, but Will Smith will always hold a special place in my heart as a true visionary of making disgusting amounts of money. Hats off to the Fresh Prince. Seriously, take that hat off. It looks stupid.