The year is 2021 and we still haven’t got flying cars. In this list, I’ve only included films set (loosely) on our current trajectory. Meaning, films that require a catastrophic event to inspire new technologies and inventions, i.e. The Terminator (1984), I haven’t included because said events haven’t occurred on our timeline. (Phew).
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Back to the Future Part II is set in the year 2015, that’s six years ago now and we still haven’t been delivered the promised goods. Although to be fair, I’m not sure how many of them we would really want…
Talking of the things I don’t really want, I think dehydrated pizzas are at the top of the list. In Back to the Future Part II, you can by a dehydrated pizza, put it in your Black & Decker Hydrator, and be greeted with hot, fresh pizza. This not unlike frozen pizzas, which only require an oven and not a fancy hydrator machine. You can buy a dehydrator today to make dried fruit, but as far as I know, there is not reverse machine to put hydration into a food you have dehydrated… surely it’s an unnecessary step.
There’s no image of this one as it’s just mentioned in passing, but frankly I would be a fan of dust repellent anything. No more dusting? Yes please. Especially paper, because books are notorious for becoming dusty, hence their need to wear dust jackets. I also really love the incongruency in predictions of the future, such as the makers of Back to the Future Part II whole-heartedly believing in the longevity of the humble fax machine, with all that paper lying around, no wonder they needed to make it dust-repellent.
Self-tying shoe laces
I mean, these kind of exist because Nike apparently made a pair a few years back. The question is, why aren’t self-tying shoe laces widely available? Maybe it’s because the two seconds it takes to tie shoe laces isn’t that much of a hindrance in everyday life? Or possibly, for us in the UK at least, every time we went outside they would short-circuit due to rain.
15 sequels to Jaws
At present, there are four Jaws films, but I only acknowledge the first one and choose to believe the others never existed. If the quality of franchise carries on the same trajectory, I would imagine Jaws 19 to be in the negative on Rotten Tomatoes.
The E Z Sleep
Last but not least from Back to the Future Part II, we have the E Z Sleep, aka, a sleep-inducing alpha rhythm generator. Doc Brown uses the E Z Sleep to make Jennifer fall asleep immediately. Although this seems like it could be used for highly nefarious activity – Jack Nicholson’s Joker from Batman (1989) would love it, that prankster – how great would it be for those nights where you just can’t get to sleep to *zap* and be asleep? And, it works with a special blue light, which makes it less harmful than sleeping pills probably.
Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is set two years ago in 2019, and we are still very far behind Deckard’s setup.
There are many a flying automobile in Back to the Future Part II (roads?) but I decided to include the spinners from Blade Runner because in my opinion, they look so much cooler – DeLorean DMC-12s aside. It’s almost certainly the grungy, cyberpunk cinematography that makes this true, because the cars do essentially just look like concept models from the 1980s.
A replicant is bioengineered being with enhanced capabilities, such as super speed, strength or intelligence, depending on the model. The first replicant was made by Tyrell Corp in the year 2000, and served many purposes such as in combat and world exploration. In the film, by 2018 replicants had to be hunted down by Blade Runners after a Nexus-6 combat team staged a munity in an off-world colony. Today, we have humanoids such as Asimo and Sophia, yet they do not look human. The most natural looking humanoids are Neons, made by Samsung Technology and Advanced Research.
The Esper machine is a super cool piece of kit in any respectable Blade Runner’s arsenal, as it allows the user to shift the point of view in a piece of media to see around obstructions and to see images from different perspectives. Furthermore, you can zoom in to any part of the image by speaking aloud image coordinates and “enhance”! Today, we have plenoptic cameras which allow the user to enhance different parts of the image, but this technology is not as advanced as the Esper machine.
Real Steel (2011)
Real Steel is set just last year in 2020. Of course, the invention I’m going to pick from this one has to be boxing robots. The robots fight in events which are somewhat like ultra Robot Wars on steroids, and we see Atom become more and more advanced through features like his “shadow function”. I’m not sure how useful boxing robots are, but it sure is nice to imagine an alternate version of 2020 with fighting robots instead of what we experienced here on this timeline.
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