The sci-fi worlds we’ve seen in numerous films have both astounded and terrified us. The images of flying cars, crystal spires, and our own personal robot companion have dominated our visions of the future for quite some time. However, in many of these films there is usually one, ultimately minor, aspect that I latch onto because it stands out as one of the more interesting characteristics of that fictional world. Despite the sheer awesomeness of whatever aspect that may be it takes a back seat to all the other, more important, goings on in the story. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t point them out and mentally chew on them. This article is all about celebrating those really cool, yet overlooked, innovations that can be found in sci-fi worlds.
5. Rejuvenation Clinics (Back To The Future Part II)
Back To The Future Part II has plenty of cool things in it, from the hoverboard to the awesomely convenient Mr. Fusion, but many people tend to overlook this groundbreaking innovation. This little gem pops up in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment near the beginning of the film. In order to justify not making Christopher Lloyd wear old-guy makeup for most of the movie, there’s a sort of throwaway scene where Doc tells Marty about how he spent some time in a rejuvenation clinic.
Doc then proceeds to list off all the improvements this clinic offered him:
“They took out some wrinkles, did hair repair, changed the blood, added a good 30 to 40 years to my life. They also replaced my spleen and colon.”
Pretty impressive stuff. The idea that healthcare in this future has advanced to the point where we’re literally adding decades to human lives is astounding. Sure, removing some wrinkles and adding color to hair is cool and all, but these clinics are seemingly capable of getting you new organs as well. The latter bit is fairly prevalent considering that Doc is a time traveler who wouldn’t have any medical records. Sure, Doc could’ve forged them, the man has money for every possible century after all, but even then the idea of getting new organs is still a pretty big deal. Whatever kind of innovations in healthcare the film’s future has made must be pretty amazing if it could get a man a new spleen and colon at a moment’s notice. That or this idyllic future has a dark secret.
4. The Circuit (Logan’s Run)
I’m sure this one is an accurate prediction of what we’d do if we ever perfected Star Trek beaming technology. “The Circuit” in Logan’s Run is a sort of online speed dating service with teleporter technology thrown in. While the film doesn’t outright describe the device we do get to see it in action early on in the film when Logan is chilling in his slick looking apartment. Logan begins to cycle through a number of people before deciding on Jenny Agutter’s mysterious, and usually under-dressed, character.
The Circuit seems to cycle through a number of people, all of whom apparently sign up of their own free will, until you find one who tickles your fancy. Then you select them and proceed to “get busy.” While the idea of being able to beam somebody into your bedroom just for a romp in the sack naturally comes with its share of problems (I myself would describe The Circuit as: “the future of Craigslist”) I’m sure you could “order up” other things like pizza or, if you’re really sick, a clown. In either case, it’s still an interesting concept to think about, especially in this digital age.
3. Digital Fingernails (Total Recall)
This one is just plain awesome, even though I don’t paint my fingernails (he writes as he pounds his manly chest). There are tons of cool innovations in Total Recall. There are automated taxi cabs voiced by Robert Picardo, implantable memories, and hookers with three breasts. Despite all these things, the one “spectacle” that permanently solidifies the film’s setting as “the future” comes during the scene where Quaid visits Recall. The scene opens on the receptionist as she uses a stylus to change the color of her fingernails.
It seems these fancy falsies come with swatches so you can select the color you want, as seen when the receptionist selects a couple colors from a nearby pad with a number of choices. It’s such a purely pointless use of special effects in terms of furthering the story, but it makes the setting all the more awesome. I like to think that people with these nails don’t need to be restricted to just the colors on the accompanying pad, but that they could use the stylus to select any color they find. Or that they can also make more elaborate patterns, or even use pictures. Though, I bet it would suck to lose or break one.