Movies have changed a lot over the years, and our ideas of the future have altered with the advances in real technology that have come about in the meantime. In many ways the science in movies has adapted to try to guess, again, what the future will really be like. Here are just five examples.
Remember those movies from the 50s and 60s when “atomic” was the buzzword and everything was created by some nuclear accident or experiment? That trend has long passed as the promise of nuclear energies and the dangers of it have come into very clear focus. We’ve also found a much more direct way to affect biological organisms: genetics. Now we see “mutations” and “genetic engineering” as the reason why Person X is currently a monster.
With a few exceptions like 2001: A Space Odyssey, portrayals of space were woefully inaccurate for many, many years. It’s only with the continued exploration of space and videos from people like Commander Chris Hadfield that regular people are starting to see how objects behave in space. Now we have films like Gravity that may not be entirely accurate, but are at least trying to model the various physical forces that the characters would experience out there.
The way that older films model “powerful” computers is to make sure that they fill a room. The larger the room, the more powerful the computer. As we’ve focused on making the newest things smaller, though, there has been a reverse of this trend in films, and often the high-powered computer in the film is so small that the main character carrying it around with them may be the entire plot.
While it would be nice to travel by jet pack, the odds of that happening in a world where air traffic controllers are already overworked is unlikely. Instead we’re seeing more things like cars that drive themselves or limited flying car capability, which we have today already. Movies are starting to see that the way our society is designed just doesn’t allow for many of the early conceptions of the future.
For many years, “science” was treated as monolithic in films and “scientists” were as adept at biology as they were at mechanical engineering and physics. However, as science has advanced, it has become clear that every new discovery is coming from a specific discipline, so movies have started recognizing that the marine biologist can’t fly a space shuttle and the geneticist may not know how to make a bomb out of household cleaners.
Author Bio: April Labarron is a native of Southern California. She has her BA in English/Literature from MSJC in Menifee, Ca. She views her freelance writing, not only as a career, but as her passion. Other areas of interest include; movies, food, singing, soccer, traveling, shopping and a continuous desire for learning. She lives on her own and is accompanied by her Pomeranian named, Elvis. She currently resides in Temecula, CA.