Video Recommendations

Here's are some of the videos we recommend for their ability to entertain while provoking thought about the future. Click on the link if you're interested in purchasing the DVD. I offer the VHS version here for old-schoolers:

Demolition Man - 1993 (VHS)
Demolition Man - 1993 (DVD)
OK, it's a Stallone film. But I don't think I've seen a more amusing, entertaining, and consistent picture of what the world could be like in 2034. Stallone plays his usual action figure but he's placed in a future that has done away with cursing, salt, toilet paper, and full-contact sex. Unforgettable vignettes on the future of entertainment, restaurants, corporate consolidation, presidential leadership, and hit music. One of my favorites and a guilty pleasure.

Blade Runner - 1982 (VHS)
Blade Runner - 1982 (DVD)
One of the first, and best, images of a future city that has been overtaken by rampant pollution and unforeseen methods of crime. Robotics have made great leaps forward. See this film and then watch the latest Spielberg opus, A.I., and see which one had the original ideas of extending robotic development into self-awareness. Great depictions of ethnic diversity, transportation, living conditions in a darkly depicted Los Angeles of mid-21st Century.

Trigger Effect - 1996 (VHS)
Trigger Effect - 1996 (DVD)
What happens if the power goes out and stays out? I don't mean for the few hours of a rolling blackout but for days, weeks, maybe even a month? How would you gas your car? Feed your family? Protect yourself when the going gets really ugly? Trigger Effect is a film that plays through the classic worst case scenario of a blackout extended realistically into a nightmare. What wins out in the end? The film may surprise you. This video keeps you thinking.
Disclosure - 1994 (VHS)
Disclosure - 1994 (DVD)
Although the plot of this movie centers around a sexual harassment incident, there is a fascinating undercurrent of future technology. From video mail to virtual reality business environments, this film has wonderful sections of future scenarios. I especially like the representation of the "help angel" avatar who looks like the CTO. Did James Cameron remember this when he worked up the plot for Avatar?
Johnny Mnemonic - 1995 (VHS)
Johnny Mnemonic - 1995 (DVD)
In a future world there is no internet security. The only way to securely transport information is to place it with a courier. Johnny carries the information in his head through a "wet wire" interface. Could we eventually carry around chips and other information technology integrated with our bodies? This film, based on a short story by renowned sci-fi writer William Gibson, gives us a possible view to that world. Only downside: pedestrian acting from Keanu Reeves. Best moment: in order to do the job, Johnny had to drop some short term memory. What? "My childhood."
Red Planet - 2001 (VHS)
Red Planet - 2001 (DVD)
It's 2057 and we've been sending terraforming devices to Mars that should have made it inhabitable. An expedition heads to the planet to investigate. The technology is fascinating. It's a logical extension of today's NASA probes and potential future technology. A protection robot plays a big part in the plot. Fairly good acting and some spectacular special effects sequences make this a good buy. Best moment: a return to a future yesteryear when a Russian Mars probe needs to be reprogrammed in what will seem an ancient computer language by mid 21st Century.

Videos that Forecast the Future:

Minority Report
Yep, Spielberg at his best. He convened a panel of experts including futurists to determine how to portray a future society’s transportation, infrastructure, buildings and the everyday details. While the story is engrossing, I’d go back and look at the backgrounds, sets, and technologies represented. Autos, phones, video displays, GUI’s, robots, aircraft, clothing, drugs, entertainment, physical media.

Stanley Kubrick passed this script to Spielberg because he didn’t see himself finishing it in his lifetime. The robots are stars, the humans flawed. There are spectacular and thought-provoking moments. “Doctor Know” is one. “Mommy” is another. The meanings of time, life, emotion, and other intelligences are stretched. This is worth viewing either through this recording or accessing it via “the cloud.”

Farenheit 451