These Movies From The '90s & '00s Predicted The Present Day & Really Messed Up

As much as I tell myself to “live in the moment,” I can’t help but think ahead and try to predict my own future. It’s a human thing, and therefore, lots of human-made movies do the same. Especially in the science-fiction/fantasy genres, it’s not unusual for a film to create its own, imagined version of the future. Setting a movie years from its production gives filmmakers the freedom to put recognizable people in unfamiliar situations. If done well, it makes it easy for audiences to accept incredible scientific and environmental changes. A future-set movie tells the audience, “This could be you, if you lived at this time.” And in the ‘90s and ‘00s, lots of films tried to foretell the near future (i.e. now) and got it wrong. So wonderfully wrong

Granted, life in 2016 can feel like a sci-fi film some of the time. Apple Watches are miniature personal assistants; remote-control aircrafts can carry out military missions and / or photograph your wedding. But these six films feature predictions that haven’t come to pass, and — in some cases — hopefully never will. Read on to see how these movies tried and failed to imagine our lives today.

1. A Scanner Darkly

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Full disclosure: this animated Richard Linklater film is adapted from a Philip K. Dick novel published in 1977. Still, it counts. Some aspects of the story — like humanity's obsession with a hallucinatory drug and the law enforcement agencies that have been militarized to keep the peace — are not far enough from this current reality. The faultiest prediction is Agent Bob Arctor's "scramble suit," an imperceptible garment that consistently changes his appearance to protect his identity. It's like if the Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak and Polyjuice Potion got together and had a baby.

2. Escape From L.A.

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In the sequel to Escape From New York, 2013 Southern California is an island that's broken off of the continental United States and floated into the Pacific Ocean. The picture of the early '10s gets crazier from there, with Kurt Russell's iconic badass Snake Plissken being infected (by the federal government, by the way) with a time bomb of a genetic virus that will kill him in a matter of hours if he doesn't complete his mission.

3. The Island

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The world is still a few years out from The Island's 2019 setting, but so far there are no high-tech human cloning farms in development. Though, if there were, I could see why they'd choose stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson as their primes.

4. The Postman

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Like A Scanner Darkly, The Postman is also based on a 20th century sci-fi novel. This one hit shelves in 1985. The book and the movie predict the complete collapse of technology and modern life in the early 21st century. Kevin Costner plays the postman of the title, a man who decides that lines of distant communication need to be reopened, even if he has to walk the earth to it. The movie-going public rejected this version of 2013. The Postman was a box office dud and swept the 1997 Razzies for lack-of-achievement in movie-making.

5. Johnny Mnemonic

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Another literary adaptation, Johnny Mnemonic is the second film on this list to feature professional sci-fi dude, Keanu Reeves. In this film, Reeves plays a trusted courier who gets the messages he carries implanted into his brain. That's one way to avoid leaving them on the subway.

6. Bicentennial Man

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"By the year 2005," the trailer begins, "every home will have an NDR-114." Fortunately for everyone who shares my fear of shiny, humanoid robots, this domestic upgrade has not come to pass.

Life would look a lot different if any of these future-set movies had been more accurate.

Image: DreamWorks Pictures