Telepathic Time-Traveling Robots in Space
Hollywood's Predictions for the Next 50 Years
2015: Marty McFly arrives from 1985 and breaks a hoverboard, along with the entire space-time continuum.
Back to the Future II, 1989 Photo: Alamy
2019: Deckard searches Los Angeles for replicant soldiers and a decent noodle place.
Blade Runner, 1997 Photo: Alamy
2019: Akira devastates Neo-Tokyo with a psychic blast; residents welcome change from Godzilla.
Akira, 1988 Photo: Alamy
2022: Charlton Heston discovers Soylent Green is both delicious and peeeeeeeoooooplllllle!
Soylent Green, 1973 Photo: Alamy
2025: Theodore Twombly and an operating system called Samantha fall in love, despite the limitations of his human fashion sense.
Her, 2013 Photo: Alamy
2026: Robot Maria incites the underclass to riot in a sexier, more art deco version of Occupy Wall Street.
Metropolis, 1927 Photo: Alamy
2028: Defying its falling population, Detroit manages to maintain a sufficient supply of mean streets to justify buying a cyborg to clean them up.
RoboCop, 2014 Photo: Alamy
2029: The final days of the shiny-robot future war. The Terminator, 1984 Photo: Alamy
2035: The moon is mined for helium-3 fuel, pathos.
Moon, 2009 Photo: Alamy
2036: The first mission to space is fired from a giant gun located right next to a busy city. Scientists are surprised when this zoning violation annoys locals.
Things to Come, 1936 Photo: Getty Images
2044: A still-weak economy forces a time-traveling gunman to constrain costs by having a shoot-out with himself.
Looper, 2012 Photo: Alamy
2054: Crime is almost completely eliminated thanks to precognition and gestural interfaces.
Minority Report, 2002 Photo: Alamy
2056: Val Kilmer goes to Mars to face algae, killer robot. The robot bit is more fun.
Red Planet, 2000 Photo: Alamy
Many futuristic movies are vague about the year in which their action takes place. But other movies are willing to nail their colors to the mast, predicting specific technologies in specific years. Some of these visions—like the soaring skylines of Metropolis—have already come to pass, while others—like the hoverboards of Back to the Future II—seem likely to miss the mark. But some of the underlying themes have a timeless appeal.