The Ten Spot: Movies that got the future wrong
As 2012 comes to a close, another major Doomsday theory has come and gone. It makes you wonder how these conspiracy nuts have not learned from Hollywood that predicting a specific future date does not always result well. In fact, some films with specific future timeframes look kind of goofy in retrospect. Here are the top ten of those films with failed futures. Add your own in the talkbacks below!
So, August 29, 1997 came and went without a cybernetic computer network taking over the entire world as predicted in the first two TERMINATOR movies. So, RISE OF THE MACHINES comes out and resets the date of Judgement Day to July 24, 2004 which also has come and gone with not a peep. Maybe the next TERMINATOR film will move the date again? 2006, perhaps?
Wow, back in 1995 it must have seemed like a good idea to set your film four years in the future and imagine that everyone will be using crazy, spider-like hats that let you experience virtual reality. I guess Y2K was scarier back when everyone used Windows 95. Despite the failure of 1999 to be the end of days, it did yield this great sci-fi crime movie.
Putting a 2000 in your title used to mean futuristic and a long way away. Now that we are a decade into the 21st Century, it just seems quaint. Alas, we do not have anything like the Transcontinental Road Race from DEATH RACE. At least THE HUNGER GAMES was smart enough to set their story in an undetermined future because if they had called it something like KATNISS 2000, it would have just sounded silly.
When I first saw TIMECOP, I thought it was awesome, despite JCVD's mullet. Catching it again on cable recently, I had to laugh when I saw the "future" was 2004. Really? They actually thought time travel would seem realistic 10 years from 1994? Van Damme's haircut seems to travel in the opposite direction, back to 1984. Oh well, at least the movie has Ron Silver's awesome beard in a supporting role.
John Carpenter's classic movie introduced the world to Snake Plissken and tried to predict a future 16 years away. Alas, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK not only gets the future wrong, it does so spectacularly. Carpenter made his sequel, ESCAPE FROM L.A. in 1996 but didn't bother messing with the dates as that movie takes place in the year 2000. At least here we have a director who sticks with his alternate timeline and owns up to it not panning out.
One of the biggest date mistakes in movies is also one of the best movies of all time. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY makes the error of putting the future prediction as the title of the film. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick predicted space travel on a magnificent scale and first contact with an alien entity that would change the course of mankind. Even the sequel, 2010, is clearly wrong. When will filmmakers learn that if you are going to date your movie, pull a STAR TREK and set it hundreds of years in the future, not less than 50.
Again with the year mistake. Granted, this is based on a novel written in 1949 which you can't really change for cinematic purposes, but the wrongness of the date is pretty blatant. Obviously the year was never meant to be taken literally, but here we are almost 30 years after the movie and 75 from the novel and it still has the power to disturb us. Maybe 1984 will get a pass because it is a masterpiece, but that doesn't make the date any more realistic.
Not a great movie by any means, BICENTENNIAL MAN feels like a less accomplished version of Steven Spielberg's A.I. But, where A.I. was intelligent enough to set itself in the 22nd Century, BICENTENNIAL MAN takes place in 2005. Androids and robots as household companions back in 2005? We didn't even get color iPods until 2005! Nice try, Chris Columbus, but Isaac Asimov deserves better.
12 MONKEYS is one of my favorite movies, so it pains me to call it out for being so wrong with dates. Released in 1995, the movie predicted an apocalyptic virus would decimate mankind in 1996. So, Terry Gilliam was essentially hoping to scare us shitless during the movie's theatrical run only to make it look kind of foolish once it hit home video. I get that James Cole travelling back within the 1990s gave the film a more immediate feel, but now you can't watch the movie with the same intensity as when it was first released. Oh well, at least it is still a brilliant film.
2012 suffers from pretty much every issue on this list. Sure, basing the film in a hokey conspiracy theory surrounding the Mayan calendar was a bad idea from the beginning, but you should probably make your movie pretty damn awesome to compensate. Instead, what we get is basically THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW meets Noah's Ark. At least Roland Emmerich's movie was able to enjoy 3 years of having the barest shred of credibility...