While Philip Noyce’s adaptation of Lois Lowry’s acclaimed young-adult novel “The Giver,” in theaters Aug. 15, has frequently been described as being set in a dystopian future, it actually has a number of utopian qualities. In the world of “The Giver,” there are no racial, religious or national conflicts and societal ills like starvation and war are a thing of the past. However, the peace and safety depicted in the novel and film has come at the cost of dampening human emotion, and with it the ability to feel happiness, a significant flaw to the otherwise ideal civilization. Here are five other science fiction futures that despite their drawbacks are incredibly appealing.
Star Trek (1979 – Present)
Directed by Various
Spun off from Gene Roddenberry’ cult 1960s television series of the same name, the “Star Trek” film series depicts the life in the 23nd and 24th centuries, a time with humanity has eradicated poverty and war and has joined together under a one world government in order to explore the stars. The perks of the living in the “Star Trek” future include access to food replicators that can produce virtually any food in a matter seconds, holographic entertainment chambers that allow the user to take an active role in their favorite works of fiction and the option to join Starfleet, a quasi-military organization that traverses the universe in search of new life and new civilizations. The downsides include occasionally being regressed into a primordial state, getting stuck on spaceship that’s 75,000 light-years from Earth and getting transformed into a cybernetic monster with an insatiable urge to assimilate all living creatures. Luckily, most of the above listed perils can be avoided by not wearing any red colored clothing.
Directed by Spike Jonze
Set sometime in the near future, writer/director Spike Jonze’s “Her” depicts a world where computer operating systems have become so advanced that they can not only act as incredibly competent personal assistants, but they can also date their bosses. While the prospect of being able to date software isn’t altogether enticing, the notion of being able to own a smart phone that can get a new job, make your commute more enjoyable with a personalized indie rock soundtrack and subtly improve your psychological well-being sounds pretty good. On the other hand, having to wear high-waisted pants all the time is a deal breaker.
The Matrix (1999)
Directed by The Wachowskis
At some point in the mid to late 21st century, humanity lost a war against a nation of intelligent machines and was pressed into service as living batteries for a now dominate robotic race. To kind their slaves in line, the machines put our species into an elaborate simulation of the world as it was in 1999. Eventually, the remaining free humans created a resistance movement that reignited the conflict between humans and machines inside the simulation, which had come to be known as The Matrix. While the world outside the Matrix is a post-apocalyptic wasteland where the only food source is a nutrient rich paste, life inside the virtual world doesn’t look all that bad and with practice, one can overcome the artificial boundaries of the simulation to achieve superhuman feats. The only downside to being trapped in the Matrix is a lifetime of unknowing slavery, a tradeoff that some ardent video game enthusiasts might readily accept.
Minority Report (2002)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Set in 2054, “Minority Report” depicts a one of the most realistic cinematic futures in recent memory wherein cars are controlled via built-in operating systems, complex computers can be interfaced with by simple hand gestures, companies target consumers with personalized ads and violent crimes are interrupted by an elite police unit that uses human resources and powerful computers to stop crimes before they happen. Since three out of four of the film’s major technological advances have already been developed, it’s not completely absurd to imagine a not too distant future where an increasingly invasive government begins to arrest civilians for crimes that they have a high probability of committing in order to ensure greater security for the whole of society.
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Largely set in the far-flung future of 2015, “Back to the Future Part II” features a world full of flying skateboards, holographic movie posters and the most mouth-watering prepackaged pizza in movie history. Other than the possibility of having your entire life rewritten by the sloppily conceived trans-temporal incursions of a plucky teenager and his brilliant but horrifically irresponsible professor buddy, the possible future of “Part II” is pretty great.
This is a "sponsored post," meaning the company who sponsored the article compensated me for writing the article. The opinions I have expressed, however, are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."