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Top 5: films set in the future

02 Oct 14

Films set in near future are always fun to watch because they give us glimpse of what might become of the planet and the human race. Here are Amy’s top picks!

The Matrix (filmed in 1999, set in 2199)
You either understood it and loved it, or didn’t get it and left the cinema feeling slightly perplexed. I fell into the second camp, but an over-enthusiastic boyfriend at the time dragged me to both the original and the two sequels, and my love affair with this film had begun.
Welcome to 2199, where reality to humans is an illusion, created by sentient machines that cypher people’s body heat and electrical energy to use as an energy source. This is achieved through the Matrix, which subdues the human race, turning everyone into slaves. Enter a renegade group determined to take down the machines and you have an epic battle between intelligent machines created by the humans they now rule and an equally determined group of people determined to free the human race from the 'dream world' that has been woven around them.
This movie was almost as famous for the special effects as it was for the storyline. This included the use of the “bullet time”, a slow-motion camera trick that displayed the characters having control over time and space.

V is for Vendetta (filmed in 2005, set in 2015)
This film may not be set too far in the future, but a lot has happened in a short period of time and we find the United Kingdom has been taken over by a dictator and fascist regime whom you do not want to cross. Opponents find themselves dragged into concentration camps where extermination is the sole focus.
We then encounter V, who uses terrorist attacks in an attempt to start a revolution and free the people. Working class girl Evey gets caught up in his mission after helping him escape the regime’s police and finds herself dragged into a world of terror, torture and revenge. V appeals to the people of London to meet at the parliament buildings, which he intends to destroy thus bringing an end to the dictator’s rule. The date set is the 5th of November, a direct reference to the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 – although this time the results are far more spectacular!

Terminator (filmed in 1984, set in 2029)
So what happens when robots decide they can think for themselves? Well, naturally, they initiate a nuclear holocaust, take over the planet and relax to enjoy the spoils of war. Apart from one tiny problem – a team of resistance members have decided to fight back. To stop this from occurring the artificial intelligence defense network, Skynet, send The Terminator back to 1984 to kill the woman who will eventually give birth to the resistance leader.
This film differs to the others on the list as it starts in the future, 2029, and takes us back to 1984. It does provide us with a fleeting glance into a world where the robots and machines built by humans have proved too intelligent for our own good. It also had the pleasure of introducing us to the phrase “I’ll be back”, which should only really be said in a strong, Austrian accent!

Back to the Future 2 (filmed in 1989, set in 2015)
The original transported us back to the school days of Marty's parents, but in part two, Back to the Future took us hurtling into 2015 when Marty, Jennifer and the Doc find out things haven't worked out so rosily for Marty's family. It is then up to Marty and the Doc to figure out where things went wrong and set about a chain of events between 1955 and 2015 to ensure members of the McFly clan don’t end up murdered or married to the local thug.
Whilst this movie might not have the excitement of the first three mentioned in this article it still proved a major hit in the 1980s, helping to confirm the star quality of Michael J Fox and proving that not all sequels are a bad idea. It also left the door wide open for the third installment in the trilogy and left a generation of young people exclaiming "Great Scott!" over anything that proved even mildly surprising. In many ways it is here purely on sentimental value, but it was set in the future, so I decided it made the cut. 

A Clockwork Orange (filmed in 1971, set in 2015)
Filmed in 1971, A Clockwork Orange takes us on a strange journey as we discover how criminals might be rehabilitated to think and act in 2015. No gentle counselling and group therapy here. More like controversial psychological conditioning for young thugs who have indulged in a life of ultra-violent activities.
The focus of the film, Alex, volunteers whilst in prison to undergo the new form of rehabilitation and endures drugging, being tied up and eyes held open as he is forced to witness image after image of violent acts - all whilst listening to his beloved Beethoven music play in the background. The desired result being a prisoner who can no longer stomach violence of any kind.
And does this futuristic treatment for violent prisoners work? With the final line being "I was cured all right", you be the judge!

Honourable mentions (because no list is complete without them):
• I am Legend
• I, Robot
• Alien
• Wall-E
• A1
• The Planet of the Apes
• Children of Men

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