The 1995 anime film Ghost in the Shell is returning to cinemas for one-night only this Wednesday 25 January. Set in a world where cyborgs and humans co-exist, the story follows the investigation of the ‘Puppet Master’ by a cyborg named Major Kusanagi.
This film explores the theme of a thinning line between mankind and technology portraying a prediction of the future, and a warning of what our advanced tech may turn into. Here’s a look at other films which predict the possibilities of future technology…
Minority Report (2002)
In this film directed by Steven Spielberg, police officer John Anderton (Tom Cruise) has just been employed as head of a department called PreCrime. The department are able to decipher when a murder is about to happen, before it happens. Through the use of PreCogs, the PreCrime division are able to see into the future and can give the name of the murderer, the name of the victim, and the actions leading up to the crime. However, they cannot give a location, which is where Anderton’s team come in.
In a twist of events, Anderton’s own name comes up as the perpetrator of a murder he has no intention of committing. Anderton undergoes the difficult task of escaping the city where retinal recognition to read a person’s identity is used often in everyday life and cameras are on every corner.
Back To The Future Part II (1989)
In the first film of this series Marty McFly is a typical teenage boy from the Eighties who is accidentally taken back to 1955 in a time machine built into a DeLorean by wacky scientist ‘Doc’ Brown. In Part II, Marty and Doc are forced to use the time machine once again, this time traveling to the year 2015 to prevent Marty’s son getting imprisoned. In the Eighties vision of modern day, they predicted we would have flying cars, self-lacing trainers, fingerprint payment, video glasses and hoverboards to name a few. While most of these ideas seem to be way off, a few have certainly found their place in modern society including multiple television screens, the ersatz ‘hoverboard’ and VR.
I, Robot (2004)
Will Smith stars as Detective Del Spooner in this film set in the year 2035. He is a technophobe in a world where technology is an inescapable part of life. He lives in contrast to those of his era who have helping robots and voice activated technology, but Spooner prefers to use ‘antique’ technology such as a CD player and lives much more self-sufficiently.
In the film we see that Spooner’s suspicions are confirmed when a squad of NS-5 Robots attack him and he encounters a robot named Sonny that is immune to the Three Laws of Robotics. Namely, ‘a robot may not injure a human being’.
The Fifth Element (1997)
The year is 2263, cars can fly, liquids turn into full meals when put in a microwave, and the fashion is slightly bizarre. Milla Jovovich stars as Leelo, the ‘Fifth Element’, a weapon in human form with bright orange hair. She is necessary for destroying a great Evil that comes to Earth every 5,000 years. It is her mission to get to Father Vito Cornelius to help her gather the four stones that are the other elements enabling her to create a force strong enough to destroy Evil. Luc Besson’s bizarre future makes intergalactic space travel look like a thing of the past .
Total Recall (1990)
The year is 2084, when holidays to Mars are common place, or if you don’t have the time to go (or can’t afford the cost of breathable air), you can just get a memory implant of a holiday.
Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) gets an implant of a memory trip to Mars in a Secret Agent fantasy, only for it to bring back real suppressed memories of his past as a Secret Agent. He discovers that the life he has been leading is a lie, that his marriage was just a false memory implant and he wonders if any of his memories are his own. This film confuses its audience with the task of guessing what is real and what isn’t. It’s entirely possible that Quaid is still in a dream sequence, but it’s up to him to work it out.
Weird Science (1985)
John Hughes’ film Weird Science transforms two male teen fantasies into reality. Gary and Wyatt are dissatisfied with their lives and their luck with girls, and so they decide to take action. Inspired by the creation of the Bride in Frankenstein (1931), they start computerising the details of their dream woman. For an additional source of power, they hack into a government computer that causes an explosion, and their perfect woman (Kelly Le Brock). However, the technology is more dangerous than they initially realised, it has given the woman the power to erase memories, freeze people, and make cars appear. The boys get themselves into a ridiculous situation that audiences will find highly amusing.
Arnold Schwarzenegger can be found in another sci-fi classic Terminator as the incredibly life-like robot ‘The Terminator’ sent from the future to the 1980s. He is travelling from the year 2029 where humans have been overruled by artificial intelligence, led by the computer system Skynet. The Terminator has been sent to assassinate a woman named Sarah Connor, the mother of John Connor and mankind’s future saviour. This film is another example of fears that technology’s intelligence and skill will out-do our own.
Catch Ghost in the Shell in cinemas this Wednesday – find tickets here.