A hallmark of fiction is its ability to explore situations that can’t really occur in reality. At the moment, we can’t warp across the galaxy and woo the buxom space babe/charming Vulcan. We can’t run around in tights and punch people (without getting arrested), and we all can’t romance Jennifer Aniston. Fiction allows us to explore these situations and see how they might play out. However, every now and then, a certain work of fiction will posit a potential situation with numerous aspects, all of which will provide for an entertaining romp, but one of these aspects might leave you wondering what kind of world the characters actually live in. The implications of which are mind boggling, horrifying, or are some mix of the two. Yet this subject will never be fully explored, and, instead, will be completely overlooked. Here are five such works where the implications of the fictional worlds are ignored for the sake of brevity.
5. Indiana Jones: The Gods Exist
Indiana Jones movies generally consist of Harrison Ford going on ridiculous adventures involving a lot of situations that require the use of a whip, wanton murder, and fast women. His flimsy excuse for using university funds to live the life every man wishes they could live is that he seeks some of the most obscure religious artifacts in human history. In the first three films, Indy eventually uncovers such artifacts as The Ark of The Covenant, The Holy Grail, and The Shankara Stones. All of which are remarkable discoveries on their own, but their existence. and the supernatural powers they exhibit, also give way to an even more remarkable discovery: the gods exist.
If there’s one question that is more elusive than the one answered with “42” it’s the question of whether or not God or other deities actually exist. This question is not as tricky in the world of Indiana Jones, as Indy has not only proven the Christian god exists, but so do the Hindu gods, among others. Indiana has, through the power of his fists, answered one of the most notorious questions mankind has been asking since we arrived on this planet, and by doing so he has forever changed how mankind sees itself in the grand scheme of the universe. Except this doesn’t happen. The US Government covers up his discovery of The Ark by storing it in that big warehouse. To be honest, I’m surprised Indy didn’t become a devout priest or babbling televangelist after seeing God go Old Testament on the Nazis.
4. Red Dwarf: Humanity Advanced To Godlike Proportions
Red Dwarf follows the misadventures of space-bum David Lister after he awakens from stasis after 3 million years aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf. Over the course of the series, Lister attempts to return to Earth despite the possibility of the human race being long extinct. During the later seasons Red Dwarf begins to stumble upon numerous derelict human outposts and starships, most of which are centuries ahead of Red Dwarf technologically speaking. By looking at some of the snippets of evidence the series provides, one thing becomes undeniably clear regardless of whether or not humanity is extinct: they were practically gods.
It’s fair to acknowledge that, before Lister is put into stasis, humanity was already wildly more advanced than we are today. By the 23rd Century humans are capable of bringing the dead back to life in the form of holograms and have colonized a majority of the solar system, if not beyond. Once Lister reawakens, and makes Red Dwarf do a massive U-turn, he encounters human technologies capable of time travel, altering reality to prevent any kind of crime, accelerating evolution, and even generating false realities. Needless to say, in 3 million years, humanity has clearly become the masters of the universe. Even if they aren’t extinct, or in a higher plane of existence for all we know, Lister would have one heck of a time trying to reconnect with his species. Though, if he ever did they probably could just make a new universe for him to live in with humans at his level of evolution.
3. The Matrix: The Machines Are Rather Nice All Things Considered
The Matrix has been picked apart by many people since its release, most of whom like to wax philosophic about the validity of reality, fate versus free will and blahdy blah blah… Some have even made a fair argument for the protagonists of the movie acting more like homicidal maniacs than actual heroes. However, not many people realize the implications are far worse than that. For instance, the so-called “evil” machines who built The Matrix and turned every human on earth into a Duracell battery are way more benevolent than people realize.
“Did you know that the first matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everybody could be happy.”
Agent Smith says this to Morpheus about the origins of The Matrix while effectively mind-raping him as he does so. Granted, that’s pretty evil but this bit of information he reveals is crucial to the argument of the machines being surprisingly kind given they’ve gone through. All you need do is look to the Animatrix, where we get to see how machines came to rule the planet. Oddly enough, it turns out to be a rather bloody (and oily?) story. Essentially, humanity was utterly horrible to every sentient machine they had ever created. Despite all the machines’ attempts to coexist, humanity tried to destroy them, and the end result was a war humanity fought to the bitter end. And, in spite of all the atrocities humanity committed, the machines’ first decision after effectively defeating us was to create a paradise for us to exist in.
Sure, it didn’t work, but that was our fault as well. So the machines had to tweak the program to make a world that was indistinguishable from the real world before humanity totally cocked it up. Yet Morpheus insists that the machines have enslaved humanity to serve their own purposes. This is slightly true, but in actuality it’s more of a symbiotic relationship than anything else. The machines need energy, which we provide, and in return we get to live in a world that isn’t completely bombed to hell and back where we’re forced to eat paste that nowhere near resembles Tasty Wheat. And how do we return their overly-gracious favors? By trying to kill them and any other human still plugged into the system. I get the feeling The Matrix was more about how stupidly cruel humans can be, and not how awesome it is to be the messiah figure in a virtual reality.