I just watched “Blade Runner 2049” and loved it. But I have a question: Why are almost all movies about the future relentlessly grim (movie critics prefer the word “dystopian” because movie critics like you to think they’re smart by using big words when little words will do, but to save you from looking it up, dystopian more or less means grim)?
Moviemakers seem to all agree that all of the following is bound to happen:
- We’ll destroy the environment – and not just some of it, all of it – thereby causing our demise via floods, storms, starvation, polar cold, giant monsters from Japan or all of the above, all at the same time. (That’s the sci-fi movie I want to see.)
- We’ll nuke ourselves to oblivion. This is the likeliest scenario for mass destruction on this list but even if we used every missile we’ve got, it seems likely to me that a lot of people would still survive, life would go on, and eventually we’d recover to a degree. (That sounds hopeful, and maybe it is. So, yes, I’d make a lousy scriptwriter.)
- Robots will take over. Maybe someday, but right now all I know is the Roomba I have is stymied by a sock. And when I recently asked Siri what I should be for Halloween, she said (and I’m not joking), “Put on a tiny hat and go as a breve.” I didn’t know what a breve is so I looked it up. A breve is “a musical note having the time value of two semibreves or whole notes.” Um, OK. Thinking she didn’t understand me, I asked again. She said, “Plankton.”
- Our widespread use of hand sanitizer or whatever will lead to super diseases that will turn most of us into zombies. Just my luck, I’ll be one of the few who stay human and I’ll have to spend the rest of my life stabbing zombies/former neighbors in the head with trowels, which is messy and most definitely would require the use of even more hand sanitizer.
- Clothing will suck in the future. Apparently we’ll all be wearing either onesies, rompers or jumpsuits (Star Trek, The Orville, Alien etc.) or cloaks (Star Wars). Which I’m not happy about. If there are no jeans or baseball caps in the future, I’ll be happy to have a zombie suck out my brains. If Blade Runner is any indication, clothes in the future also will be ceaselessly drab, meaning fashion designers clearly aren’t going to survive whatever hits us. Sorry, Tim Gunn.
- We’ll all be enslaved by a soul-less, all-powerful despot, like Bill Gates. Or maybe Oprah. Probably Oprah.
- Aliens will invade and wipe us all out so they can steal Earth’s resources. Unless of course those resources are all wiped out by all the other stuff first. My question is if aliens are smart enough to get all the way here, wouldn’t they be smart enough to manage their own resources so they don’t run out? And why are aliens ceaselessly hostile? With all the planets in the universe, don’t you think there are at least a few inhabited by the Earth-equivalent of hippies? Besides, it’s just as likely that aliens would cross the universe just to say, “We get your AM/FM radio transmissions, you know. Could you knock it off, please, with the Nickelback.”
- Life will be vapid, monochromatic and dull. For some reason, sci-fi screenwriters think all color, zest, love and passion will be sucked out of life by whatever enslaves us, whether it’s Google (high on the “likely” scale”), Apple (slightly less likely) or insect reptiles with plant arms. Call me an optimist (something no one has ever called me before, btw) but I think we’ll manage to find a little room for love, color, music and all the other good things about life, even if we’re all working for a single overlord corporation that manufactures rompers.
I doubt any of this will really happen, by the way. But if it does, don’t worry. Thor, Iron Man and Capt. America will save us. They always do.
Image credit: Beckie