When looking into the future people see many different things. Whether it be flying cars, buildings floating in the air, or people walking around in space suits, everyone has their own idea. Most of the time when people look into the future they look far into it, not in the next several years. The future is usually defined as twenty or more years beyond the present. Many movies and stories written about the future world seem to have the common theme that technology will play a big part in the development of the future. The development of technology will lead to the advances that will take the world into the next century and beyond. George Lucas’ film THX 1138 and Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future are both examples of movies that portray technology and the advances of the future. THX 1138 and Back to the Future both portray technology as a danger to society that could ultimately lead to its downfall.
George Lucas made THX 1138 long before he became famous in his later movies. He based the film on his movie that he used as his graduate project and thesis. It was his first attempt at directing and producing a Hollywood film. His goal was to create a film that would show the future state of the world if it was to continue on its path of the search for perfection of everything. He shows the
future as a place that many people would probably not want to live or to be associated with.
Lucas shows that everyone will be the same. People will wear the same clothes and have the same haircut. Names are no longer a part of society. In the movie each person is given a prefix of letters followed by a number. They are basically drones who follow orders. Technology has advanced so far that every motion or action of the person is monitored. Anytime that one of them does something wrong it immediately appears on the computer screen as to what they are doing and what their number is.
It is possible for the computer to monitor all of their vital signs and mental activity. Each person is carefully monitored and watched. The people are told what to do and act based on how they were trained. They work in shifts of labor and are almost extensions of the computer that tells them what to do. There is no more guessing about disease or how a person is feeling. Everything is fed to a computer which processes the information and figures out what to do. Computers have begun to control the lives of the people and it is almost to the point that they are running society as a whole. Computers are no longer devices that simplify life for humans; humans are now devices that help computers.
Science has developed a drug that keeps the people submissive and almost with no thought of their own. The drugs take away the humans ability to think and to be creative. Ironically it was those attributes that led to the development of all of that technology in the first place. Humans are no longer
allowed to think for themselves. Instead of people controlling the development of technology; technology is now controlling the development of the people.
One of the best scenes that tells about the technology of this movie takes place in the prison. The people who have broken the laws are sent to an area that is totally white. No other color can be scene. They are put into machines and forced to take the drugs and the computer monitors them. Just through several test the entire body of the person can be checked for what is wrong. The person is checked up on like a machine. The computer then decides what to do with the person. When people are treated like machines and not allowed any freedom of thought it is very dangerous to society as we know it. This could easily end society through the emission of people’s rights.
There are very few positive sides to this society. There is no problem of human error in society. Computers make most of the decisions. There is almost no problem with crime or violence because all of the people are so controlled and watched. While those two positive aspects may seem good to some people, the society that was created is not. All of the things inside of people that made it possible for technology to be developed have been taken away. There is no more creativity or individuality. Everyone is the same and they have no way to be an individual. There is no heart and no fun involved in life any more. The society is no longer a society of people. It is a society of machines. The people have become the technology. The technology that the people worked so hard to create and control, now controls them.
Robert Zemeckis shows a much nicer and happier future in Back to the Future. Technology is still very present, but the people are still in control. Society is almost the same place as it is today. The people still work and still have their own personality and still make decisions for themselves. Nothing seems to have changed from the present except for several advances in technology. Zemeckis chooses to concentrate on one aspect of technology that has been developed in this future time. That one main aspect is the development of the technology necessary for time travel to happen.
Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) has developed a time machine. It looks just like a DeLorean, but it has been modified to allow it to go into the future or back into the past. Marty (Michael J. Fox) gets in the car to escape danger and ends up in a time period before he was born to the time when his parents were his age. He goes back and forgets about the advances that have been made in technology between then and the time in which he was living. He keeps remembering things from the future that are not in the time period in which he is stranded. Even his clothes represent changes that have occurred in technology in the few years that separated these two time periods. Technology is truly evident in the way that things look and the way that things are run.
Time travel is not a new concept of technology, but it is a new concept which is believed to have been invented this short distance into the future. The technology that was used to develop this machine was based on an idea that had occurred to the scientist long in the past. Technology in this society has
allowed for the machine to be developed. The society as a whole has not changed from the present very much. The time machine seems to be the only difference. It is scary to think that people could use this technology to travel throughout time. The only problem with it is that it can be used to change history. When Marty returns from his trip, he realizes that he has created an alternate future. Technology can now be used to change the past as well as the future. It has made it possible for people to control all the events that have ever happened in the history of the world.
Back to the Future presents a much nicer picture of the future than does Lucas in THX 1138. It shows that it has not changed very much. The one thing that is scary is that the future could be constantly changing, if the technology of the time machine was made available to everyone. This would mean that there would be no set future for the world. Each person would try to change the future so that everything would benefit themselves. This would lead to the eventually destruction of society and maybe no future at all.
George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis both portray the future in their films. The future however is very different between the two movies. In THX 1138 everyone is controlled by the technology that has created computers that can control things. In Back to the Future each individual person has the option to control the future of the world. Both movies give too much power to one thing. Either Technology or the individual have too much power to have society run smoothly. Both of these things would most likely lead to the destruction of
society as it is. A point must be reached somewhere in the middle or there may not even be a future for people to dream about.
Back to the Future. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Perf. Michael J. Fox, Christopher
THX 1138. Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence. 1970.
Videocassette. Warner Brothers, 1971