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The Congress – Coming to Blu-ray and DVD Monday – Sci-Fi Movie Predictions That Did Happen

05 December 2014

No, we don’t have flying cars (at least beyond the prototype stage) and we can’t teleport (yet), but sci-fi movies have featured a remarkable number of fictional inventions over the years that, with the recent advancement in modern technology, have slowly made their way into our everyday lives.

To celebrate the home entertainment release of animated sci-fi satire drama The Congress, we're taking a look at a few.

Inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s 1971 novel The Futurological Congress, this part-live action, part-animated film is set in the dystopian future and takes aim at Hollywood, our culture's obsession with celebrity, the future of Cinema, and the need to chemically numb ourselves from 'reality'.

Robin Wright, starring as a fictionalised version of herself, receives an offer from a major studio to buy her cinematic blueprint - which would allow her digitised persona to be used with no restrictions across any of their films - even those she'd previously turned down. In return for her on-screen identity, the studio agrees to keep her persona forever young, for all eternity, in all of their films.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Everyone who's dealt with Apple’s stubborn Siri will at some point think of the iconic red-eyed super computer HAL – 9000 from Kubricks' seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey: "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that". The film also featured people carrying around devices that were essentially iPads/tablets and uncannily some of the first major tablet products, made by Microsoft, were announced in 2001. Apple's more successful tablets appeared some years later in 2010.

S1m0ne (2002)

The 2002 movie S1m0ne stars Al Pacino as a director who is forced to find a replacement when his main actress refuses to finish shooting. Contractual requirements prevent him using her image in the film, so he's forced to re-shoot with an experimental new computer program which allows the creation of a computer-generated woman which he can easily animate to play the film's central character. Now this trend hasn’t taken over Hollywood yet, but with the increasing amount of motion capture it’s only a matter of time before actors could be replaced by their digital selves.

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner got some things right and many things wrong. We're not quite there yet (we have another 4 years), but digital billboards as seen in the film are certainly more common today than in the 80s.

Gattaca (1997)

Gattaca doesn’t take place specifically in the future, but rather its future is of the 'not too distant' variety. And ok .. the corporate world hasn't swapped job interviews for DNA tests, but they are getting closer to the reality portrayed in the movie in terms of DNA testing - you can for example pick up home DNA test to get a heads up on your genetic health risks and services like 23andMe even offer online analysis.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

While the Star Trek movies featured many ideas that have since come true, probably the most iconic Star Trek technology that later became a reality is more or less a forerunner of today’s mobile phone technology. The inventor of the first mobile phone, Motorola's Martin Cooper, cited the handheld communicators in the Star Trek universe as the inspiration for his invention. His first design had little resemblance to the handheld communicator, but the flip phone design popular in the early 00s appear to be directly inspired by the series' iconic devices.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Michel Gondry's film centres around an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories and today you might be surprised to know a similar device now exists. It’s not as advanced as the film's machine, but Dutch scientists have actually found a method of wiping memories. The process is not intended for break-ups, but for memories of assault and similar devastating events.

Total Recall (1990)

In 1990s we first saw a full body, x-ray style security scanner at a spaceport in the Schwarzenegger-starring action film Total Recall, some twenty years before similar devices became widespread in airports across the US. However, a small difference is that these scanners don’t show the skeleton but stop at the skin.

Minority Report (2002)

Although the time jump isn't really that far, Minority Report's advertising technology is pretty accurate if you look at how targeted Internet ads work these days. We aren't there yet but companies are gathering enough data to get there. Hello personally targeted advertising.

Back to the Future Part II (1989)

We may not be riding hover boards (although Tony Hawk does) or watching Jaws 19 on a holographic screen, but Marty McFly’s trip into the future gives us a preview of the video calling technology that’s now been made famous by Skype.

Aside from the time travelling Delorean and coveted hoverboard, Back To The future featured another impressive futuristic design – self-tying shoe laces. Back in 2011, Nike released a limited rage of McFly's Nike MAGs with manual laces however 2015 is set to be the year that Nike unveil the world's first power laces.

The Congress Film Page