Wow, it’s 2015! To me it still sounds like a number from the distant future. When I was a kid back in the Eighties, I consumed anything sci-fi related, and a great amount of the sci-fi movies took place in what seemed to be a faraway post apocalyptic or dystopian future somewhere in the 21st century.
The 1975 sci-fi classic Rollerball for example, takes place just three years from now, in the year 2018. War has ceased to exist on Earth, as countries have been replaced by huge corporations. The globally popular ultra violent game ‘Rollerball’ is used to control the populace by demonstrating the futility of individuality. That’s dystopian alright, and is makes a great plot for a sci-fi action movie. But is the world likely to be like this in three years? Not so likely.
Another movie, The Running Man from 1987, takes place one year later, in 2019. Four years from now, the movie wants us to believe that America is a totalitarian police state, censoring all cultural activity. The government pacifies the people by broadcasting game shows where convicted criminals fight for their lives for a chance to be pardoned. So is this a realistic scenery in four years? I can’t say whether America will be a totalitarian police state or not. Some people would argue that it already is. I’m pretty convinced though that games in which the contestants are brutally slaughtered will never be broadcasted on national television. The closest we get to public execution is probably how less talented contestants are treated in contemporary talent shows like X-Factor.
Also taking place in 2019 is the 1982 classic Blade Runner. Set in a neo-noir dystopian Los Angeles, it features replicants, off world colonies and flying cars. And and endlessly raining neon-lit Los Angeles. Let’s face it – the world doesn’t really look like this yet. Except perhaps for Hong Kong.
To sum up, the world looks a lot less dystopian than predicted in the sci-fi movies from the last couple of decades. Some dystopian predictions have come true though. Detroit has filed for bankruptcy as predicted in Robocop 2, and we have come to learn that we’re being subject to mass surveillance as predicted in George Orwell’s 1984. I hope the World doesn’t get more dystopian in the years to come. I’d hate to see the world in 2022 turn out as predicted in Soylent Green. And let’s not hope Earth anno 3978 looks anything like the Planet of The Apes.
Happy New Year!