They say that the future is a dish best served cold…is that what they say, maybe it’s a rolling stone gathers no moss in the future…anyway, I know there’s some kind of cliched saying that has to do with the future, I just can’t think of it right now!!!! So I thought it would be fun to take a look at the future as seen through the eyes of our favorite and not so favorite movies, just to see how accurate or inaccurate they are, and either way sometimes they’re just fun.
First, let’s look at my own hometown., Detroit. It’s future as seen in the movie, Robocop! In Robocop, Detroit is a run down, pre-apocalyptic city that is on it’s way to being a bankrupt hole in the ground. Compared to the real city today, this is very close to the truth! The city has been a burned out waste of space since the riots in the 60s. Now, I don’t say this because I’m ashamed or embarrassed by Detroit, I say it because it’s the sad truth. Sure, everyone is trying to bring the city back from the brink, they’ve tried casinos, they’re trying to put new restaurants in the downtown, they’re even going to try to turn the riverfront area into a beautiful park. The problem with this is that all this cool stuff is in the city of Detroit, which no one really goes to!! Even two new sports stadiums only lures the suburban dwellers in for games and then they run back to the burbs again for safety!! In the movie Robocop, a giant company (OCP) buys the city and then runs it like a business, the idea is to destroy the old city and build a great new city on top of it, called Delta City. OCP puts they’re not law enforcement robot, Robocop, on the streets to clean Detroit up enough to begin the construction. But, when Robocop begins to understand his own humanity, he rebels against the cold corporation and sides with the city’s remaining citizens who want to clean up their city.
The bottom line : Whether it’s OCP or Robocop or whoever, Detroit needs someone to focus it’s citizens on the long term future and get this city fixed!
So, we know that Detroit’s future seems to be bleak in the movies, but is that as bad as it gets? Not really, the future of Manhattan looks even worse, just look at Escape From New York. In real life, Manhattan was a city on the wane in the 70s and 80s, but thanks to Mayor Guilianni, it all got turned around and now Times Square is an amazing place to stand and behold! The crime and the grime that defined the city in the 70s and early 80s has been cleaned up and New York is the Big Apple again without any worms inside. But, if John Carpenter’s future comes to pass, then Manhattan will be a very different place, run by Issac Hayes and populated with the weird and unusual, not that it isn’t now, but it’s also a prison! You can go onto the island, but you can never get off! It seems that Manhattan in this future was written off and walled off because most of the criminals were, apparently, there already. Then, the island was left to its own devices, food was dropped regularly but other than that, there’s no one in charge…except Issac Hayes, he’s the Duke of New York A Number 1. It’s a very strange future waiting the city that never sleeps in this celluloid future, but, then, what would you expect from a country (even a movie country) that would elect Donald Pleasence as the President, although compared to some of the choices we’ve made, Don doesn’t really look that bad, does he????
The bottom line : We have enough prisons! I’ll take Manhattan like it is today!
Okay, we’ve seen the east coast but how about the west coast? In Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone Los Angeles is a Utopia. There’s no serious crime and everyone seems to be happy. Even prisons have changed drastically, no longer are people locked into cages and punished, they’re frozen in blocks of ice and left in the freezer until we feel they’ve been rehabilitated! How they’re rehabilitated inside an ice cube, I have NO idea, but that’s the plan! Well, LA looks pretty good until they unfreeze Wesley Snipes and he goes on an old fashioned rampage, just like in the good old days he remembers. So the town leaders have to unfreeze Sylvester Stallone, who was put on ice because he attempted to do another Rambo movie, I think, to hunt down Snipes because, as we all know, to catch a bad actor you have to send a bad actor. Now with Snipes and Stallone on the loose, stuff starts blowing up, things get broken and there’s talk of a Rocky vs. Blade movie, so they have to be stopped!!!!
The bottom line : LA today ain’t that great, but when they make Sandra Bullock a cop, you know they’re in BIG trouble!!
Is all this weird and violent future here in the US, you ask? Well, let me tell you, the rest of the world doesn’t look much better in the future in the movies! Australia, the home of Crocodile Dundee and those cute Koala bears, how could that get bad? Well, just take a look at Mad Max and it’s sequel The Road Warrior! In Mad Max, Aussies seem to be barely holding their own against the onslaught of biker gangs and other weirdos who travel the roads causing havoc and looking for gasoline. But when Max’s family is killed by these biker freaks he begins patrolling the roads on his own getting rid of these hooligan, so you’d think that things would getting better with Mel out there in a really cool souped up car chasing down and killing all the bikers and freaks, wouldn’t you? But, then comes the sequel, The Road Warrior. Apparently, Australia lost the war against the bikers and they now run the roads. Maybe Mel took a little time off or maybe no one else had a car cool enough to help clean up the roads, I’m not sure, but for whatever reason the good guys have pretty much lost, good and decent people are forced to live behind walls, and only the brave few, like Max are still out there fighting the good fight alone. The only hope of the good guys is to side with Max to help them get away from the county-side and get to the coast where they can be safe. Now I know a home by the ocean sounds pretty good to most of us, but hey, if we gotta let the bikers run the roads to get them, so be it. And I don’t even want to go to Mad Max:Beyond Thunderdome, because when Tina Turner gets involved in anyone’s future no good’s gonna come of that!
The bottom line : When the apocalypse comes, make sure that your car has plenty of gas and keep away from Tina Turner!
Now, it seems that we’ve either got an apocalyptic future or a utopian one, doesn’t it? Well, there is one other alternative! One that might make you think……or not. Think to the future of the whole planet, as seen in the movies, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes! In Conquest, the world is almost like it looks today, except all the dogs and cats have been killed by some plague and people are keeping apes as pets and using them as servants, but when one ape gets the power of speech and becomes a free thinker, our days are numbered! The apes rise up and revolt and humans no longer run the planet! Then, in Battle, the apes have put together their own society, people are still around, but some of the apes don’t really like them and want them wiped out. It becomes a battle between the apes who now run things, the humans who live with them, and the mutated humans who live on the edges of the new ape civilization and how they became mutated, we’re not really sure. The only thing that’s certain is that with the apes running things the country side looks nicer. Everyone, besides those damned mutants and the gorillas, pretty much get along. And things seem to be turning around for the planet. If you ask me, it sounds alright to me, let the apes do all the work and I’ll stay home and clean and sit quietly in my cage…as long as they’ll give me a TV, I should be just fine.
The bottom line : Let’s all be a little nicer to the animals, just in case they rise up and decide to rule over us!
The final thought on all this is that no matter how dismal, apocalyptic and scary the future may seem, there’s always going to be someone who will show us the way, whether it’s a cyborg cop, a one eyed criminal who’s basically good, a semi crippled ex-cop with a really cool car, or just your plain old ordinary talking ape who becomes an emperor, someone will be there to show us what’s right and lead us all into a better future!