Technology in Movies

Recently, my computer went on the fritz. It’s a long story as to what happened, but it did get me thinking about how our lives have become so dependent on technology. Lose your cell phone and no one can get in touch with you. Your computer crashes and all your work is gone, never to return, unless you have a back up. Well, my computer troubles lead to this blog entry. Since technology is a big part of modern life, it is not surprising that movies have been made that examine its role in our lives.

 So, let’s examine how some films look at technology:

The Net
This was one of the first movies to take on identity theft and cybercrime. It explores what can happen when sinister forces decide to use the Internet for their evil designs. Of course, the end result is not pretty, unless someone like Sandra Bullock can stop them.  While the Internet is a very useful tool, like all tools, it can be used for both good and bad purposes.

Westworld/Jurassic Park
I put both of these films here because they were written by the same person, Michael Crichton and they both deal with technology being used for enjoyment. Westworld deals with an amusement park for the rich, Delos, that caters to the whims of vacationers. You can be a gunslinger in West World, a Roman senator in Roman World or a medieval king in Medieval World.  In Jurassic Park, a billionaire buys an island and brings back dinosaurs, by way of cloning, for people to see. In both places, every precaution has been taken. In Westworld, everything is computerized. In Jurassic Park, only female dinosaurs are cloned as a way to control the dinosaur population. Of course, in both films, things go wrong, very wrong. A virus attacks the computer system in Westworld and the robots go berserk and start to kill the patrons. In Jurassic Park, frog DNA is used to recreate the dinosaurs. What no one realizes (until it is too late) is that under certain conditions, certain frog species can turn from male from female and vice versa. Of course, you know what happens when males and females get together. Crichton seems to be saying in these films, watch how you use technology, for it can bite you big time.

Is what we consider reality, truly real? The Matrix offers this question for our consideration and does it offer it. It presents a world where what see hear and feel seems real, but really isn’t. It is presented to us by sinister forces to keep the populace in line. (These sinister folks sure do get around.)  It takes a reluctant hero to put an end to all of this and set the populace free or something like that.  Still, it’s a like a line from The Moody Blues song, Nights in White Satin, “Cold hearted orb that rules the night/Removes the colours from our sight/Red is grey and yellow, white/But we decide which is right/And which is an illusion.”

You’ve Got Mail
I will end this entry on a happy note. While this film is a remake of The Shop Around The Corner, it takes a more benevolent view of technology. Through the use of email and chat room exchanges, You’ve Got Mail shows how technology can be used to facilitate real world interaction. So, if you’re looking for love, try the Internet, the movie seems to be saying, and you just might find it. Then again, that was 1999 and looking for love on the Internet seemed like the way to go.  In 2009, it has become just as frustrating as going to bars and being fixed up by friends.

So, no matter how much technology changes, human nature remains the same.


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