Should ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Have Censored the Franchise’s Adult Material for a PG-13 Rating?


(WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Ghost in the Shell (1995) and 1989’s Ghost in the Shell Vol. 1–11 and features adult material not suitable for younger readers.)


#GhostintheShell‘s first live-action adaptation will be released later this month and if all goes well, it’s likely that this could be just the beginning for the Scarlett Johansson-led franchise. Recently, IMDB has confirmed that 2017’s adaptation has been created with a PG-13 audience in mind. There are benefits to being teen-friendly, particularly if the story gives new interest in science and science fiction among a younger western audience, but could shying away from Ghost in the Shell‘s adult material hinder the film’s potential?

From the very beginning of the Masamune Shirow manga, subjects such as sex, politics and existentialism have been used to explore the human psyche. Focusing primarily on volumes 1–11 of the original manga, lets explore some of the ways in which complex adult themes add depth to the philosophy and iconography of Ghost in the Shell — something that would be sorely missed in a PG-13 live-action adaptation.

Sexploitation, Art And Philosophy

The manga series coined its name after “Ghost in the Machine,” philosopher Gilbert Ryle’s description of René Descartes’s mind-body dualism. The Ghost in the Shell series focused on Public Security Section 9, a unit led by Major Motoko Kusanagi in the fictional, futuristic city of Niihama.

Section 9’s central mission throughout the series is to locate the Puppeteer, an ongoing chase that shows Motoko question her own life and the existence of her “ghost,” the story’s parallel to what we would call the soul. While the 1995 anime masterpiece focuses on the mission at hand, the original manga contained further insight into the everyday life of Motoko. This allowed Shirow to further show the nihilism in Niihama’s cultured human-AI coexistence.

While the 1995 movie uses architecture, sound and symbolism to explore Motoko’s personal journey, Shirow’s manga took a realistic approach to the needs, desires and temptations of the city’s inhabitants.

Temptation: Drug Abuse And Information Trips

When depicting her first (and last) time on leave throughout the manga, Motoko is caught by Batou in a drug-induced fantasy. In Niihama, the lines between AI and humans are blurred (Motoko is mostly cyborg but has human elements, such as her ghost) so the world caters to the desires of humans and androids alike, regardless of the existence of a “ghost” or not.

Exploring drug abuse in the series is a reflection of Shirow’s understanding of the human psyche. Throughout history, humans have chosen to augment their reality with drugs for pleasure, curiosity and life experience. If we were able to delve into the mind of any human on the planet, we’d find some wild desires in each and every one of us. As Ghost in the Shell allows us inside the mind of our protagonist, it makes sense for the franchise to address this aspects of her that are human without pulling any punches.

An Exploration Of Sexuality And Gender Neutrality

The “ghost” within Motoko Kusanagi is a huge curiosity throughout Ghost in the Shell, and there’s also the question of what is “naturally” a part of Motoko and what is programmed (in the 1995 adaptation, we see this more explicitly in the film’s iconic opening images). In the manga, Motoko is bisexual and is even shown having intimate encounters with both sexes throughout volumes 1–11. In fact, during the same instance as her drug-induced fantasy, Motoko partakes in a psychedelic orgy with two other women, using upgrades and illegal mods for their extreme, mind-altering pleasure.

Let’s be real: This was never going to make it into a Hollywood movie, and isn’t necessary to providing the existential sci-fi film fans deserve anyway. However, the instance is worth bringing up because it has an interesting history with censorship, and Shirow’s reaction may show some insight as to how the live-action adaptation could take shape with a PG-13 rating. The two-page scene was removed from Studio Proteus’s localization of the manga, despite being included in the initial Dark Horse release.

Toren Smith commented on Studio Proteus’s actions, claiming that requirement of the “Mature Readers Only” would translate into a 40% lost in sales and likely have caused the immediate cancellation of the series. Shirow, who grew tired of “taking flak” over the pages, opted to remove them and reworked the previous page as necessary.


With Shirow’s mild reaction to censorship and the similar issue of alienating a younger audience, it explains the PG-13 rating and why the live action feature may be something akin to Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

This sequel didn’t shy away from the city’s brutal underworld completely, and even opened with a victim’s suicide, which gets increasingly tragic as the plot unfolds, but Innocence hardly addressed the subject of gender or sex at all — showing how far removed it had become from Shirow’s original 11 volumes. Either way, Motoko Kusanagi’s sexual preferences are a part of her ghost and therefore part of the franchise, and may be included in 2017’s live-action movie.

Motoko also changes gender in Ghost in the Shell vol. 11, when she is mistakenly given a male replacement shell by Batou. Unphased by this, the series ends with a blasé reaction from Motoko.

So despite being 27 years old to date, Shirow’s story has a refreshing open-mindedness when it comes to sexuality and gender, while also taking a grounded approach towards society and international politics. For example, the Tachikoma droids are first seen discussing a socialist rebellion, and later in the series we see actions from the Soviet Union and Zionist conflict.

It would be wrong for next year’s adaptation to meaninglessly include adult themes, but it’s undeniable that Ghost in the Shell is known for discussing topics that are unsuitable for a PG-13 audience. It’s also important to remember what is at the center of the Shirow’s story. As a franchise, the series explores how individuals would see themselves if they lived in a world where we could exchange entire bodies, merge minds and lose interchangeable body parts — all the while questioning whether this has an impact on who we truly are underneath. Focusing on an individual like Motoko, it’s not about her sexual preference or preferred gender, it’s about her ghost. This is why the needs, desires and temptations of #ScarlettJohansson‘s Motoko, a sentient being (quite literally the “ghost in the shell”) should be the focus of the movie — with no restraints.

Ghost in the Shell is in theaters on March 31st, 2017. Let me know your thoughts on the upcoming movie below.

[Source: Deadline]

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Great Scott! 5 Facts That Will Make You Love Back to the Future Even More


No matter how big of a movie fan you consider yourself, sometimes (although it’s hard to admit!) not one of us can know absolutely everything about our favorite movies. I’m always looking for new and exciting facts about the movies I love. Recently, I was looking at a selection of facts about one of the greatest trilogies of all time, Robert Zemeckis’ Back of the Future (Parts I – III). Some even increased by already high praise of the trilogy. So, without further ado… Here’s 5 awesome facts about Back to the Future!

5. Frozen in Time…

Doc and Marty’s Delorean is perhaps the most iconic and recognisable time machine in movie history, but did you know that it wasn’t originally designed as a car at all? Instead, Doc and Marty’s trip back to the future was scripted to happen inside a refrigerator!

4. How I Met Your Mother

Back to the Future was originally rejected by Columbia Pictures for it’s lack of sex appeal. Then, Zemeckis and the rest of the team were rejected by Disney for being a little too edgy… specifically for the ‘motherly love’ Marty narrowly avoids just before prom. Since then Disney have become more lenient with similar plot lines, now owning the rights to the most famous character to ever passionately kiss his sister, Luke Skywalker.

3. Practical Jokers

One of the most shocking facts about Back to the Future is that, despite the movie’s sci-fi themes, it only has a total of 32 shots containing special effects. That adds up to just over one every 3.5 minutes!

2. A Dedicated Follower of Fashion

Although those of us who watch the English speaking version of Back to the Future remember Marty’s alias as Calvin Klein, this was changed for Spanish and French speaking audiences. The joke still holds up though, as Marty calls himself Levi’s Strauss in Spanish and Pierre Cardin in the French version of the movie!

1. Marty Mcfly’s Fancy Dress

The movie is filled with foreshadowing and easter eggs for eagle-eyed fans, but this is definitely one of my favorites! If you look closely at Marty Mcfly’s embarrassingly colorful western costume in Back to the Future Part III, you’ll notice that he is proudly sporting the symbol for atomic energy on his shoulders and cuffs.

I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed sharing them. If you have any interesting facts about Back to the Future, let me know with a comment!

Source: IMDB, Shortlist

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‘Rogue One’: New Synopsis Reveals Close Connection Between Jyn Erso’s Family And Director Krennic


Rogue One is still a few months away, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait until December 16th to get start enjoying the latest Star Wars adventure. Before we see Jyn Erso join the Rebellion in Rogue One, a new book titled Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel will be released in November, highlighting the Erso family’s turmoil and their complex relationship with the Empire.

More specifically, Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel will explore the crucial backstory of Galen Erso, Jyn’s father (played by Mads Mikkelsen in Rogue One). The novel’s synopsis has been officially released and it has a lot to say about the shared history between Jyn Erso’s family and Rogue One‘s leading villain, Director Krennic.


Galen Erso (right) and Orson Krennic (left)

War is tearing the galaxy apart. For years the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war. As a member of Chancellor Palpatine’s top secret Death Star project, Orson Krennic is determined to develop a superweapon before their enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic’s, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key.Galen’s energy-focused research has captured the attention of both Krennic and his foes, making the scientist a crucial pawn in the galactic conflict. But after Krennic rescues Galen, his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn, from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is deeply in Krennic’s debt.Krennic then offers Galen an extraordinary opportunity: to continue his scientific studies with every resource put utterly at his disposal. While Galen and Lyra believe that his energy research will be used purely in altruistic ways, Krennic has other plans that will finally make the Death Star a reality. Trapped in their benefactor’s tightening grasp, the Ersos must untangle Krennic’s web of deception to save themselves and the galaxy itself.

Revealing a close connection between the wonderfully white-caped Orson Krennic and Galen Erso has huge implications, so let’s take a closer look at what this means for the foundations of Jyn Erso and Rogue One.

Galen Erso And Director Orson Krennic: The Clone Wars


As a “crucial pawn” that is deceived by his old friend, Orson Krennic, Galen Erso’s brilliance is the reason the Empire were able to create the Death Star — making him the closest thing Star Wars has to an intergalactic J. Robert Oppenheimer.

“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” — J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb.

While this isn’t new information, the fact that Galen and Director Krennic were previously friends is a revelation. Although it’s not yet possible to place when Krennic recruited Erso for his own purposes, we first saw the Death Star plans in Attack of the Clones. What’s great about this is that Rogue One is addressing the galactic conflict that would have undoubtedly affected the lives of many, including the Ersos.

This Means For Jyn Erso, Rogue One Is A Family Affair

The Catalyst synopsis reveals that Rogue One is, in true Star Wars fashion, a family drama. The backstory between Jyn’s family and Orson Krennic raises the stakes forRogue One‘s main character, as Jyn must carry the emotional weight of her father creating the galaxy’s most destructive weapon. Not only that, but the heroine has a personal interest in this particular mission due to Krennic’s betrayal.

It may also be worth noting that while Jyn’s mother, Lyra, is mentioned in the Catalystsynopsis, IMDb lists actress Valene Kane as Lyra in Rogue One. As Kane is a similar age to Jyn Erso’s Felicity Jones, this means we are likely to see her in either a flashback or a prelude. Either way, this doesn’t bode well for the fate of Lyra Erso inRogue One.

Star Wars has always been praised for juggling Luke’s personal journey alongside a much larger, universal cause for peace. With this new information in mind, it’s clear that director Gareth Edwards understands what made Star Wars a phenomenon, andEmpire Strikes Back the clear fan favorite. Now we know the history between Orson Krennic and Galen Erso is more complex than we first though, it gives us even more reasons to be excited for Rogue One.

Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel is available from November 15th. Check out the Rogue One trailer below:


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Laugh It Up, Fuzzball! What Casting Alden Ehrenreich Means For The Tone Of Disney’s Han Solo Movie


Ever since Disney acquired LucasArts in October, 2012, the prospect of a Han Solo movie has been sparking a debate as to who, if anyone, could possibly fill Harrison Ford’s space boots as the scruffy-looking nerf herder. Once a shortlist of talent was released, fans rallied together to show support for their personal favorite. This shortlist included brooding pin-ups such as Scott Eastwood and actors known for quick-witted dialogue such as Miles Teller and Dave Franco. Ultimately, the role has gone toHail, Caesar!‘s Alden Ehrenreich, and Disney’s final decision reveals a lot about the upcoming tone of their Han Solo spin-off.

Understanding Why We Love Han Solo


From their proposed shortlist, it was clear that Disney fully realized the characteristics Ford gave the character in order to make him an international fan favorite. Essentially a space pirate pushing his luck across the galaxy, Solo can be categorized into two archetypes. On the one hand, he has the smoldering ‘bad boy’ image often credited to James Dean. On the other, Solo has an important role as the humorous voice of reason and one of the funniest characters throughout the franchise.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.


With this in mind, Disney need someone who can make us swoon and laugh simultaneously. However, should one of these traits take precedent over the other? It all depends on the tone they are trying to achieve and the overall goal of the movie. The studio already announced comedy duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to helm the stand alone feature. Having turned the reboot of 21 Jump Street into a hilarious hit and creating a another fantastic comedy with The Lego Movie, the directorial duo were clearly chosen to helm a movie that is, first and foremost, filled with great humor throughout.

Casting Alden Ehrenreich shows that Han’s role as a comedic character within the franchise won’t be underestimated, and we can surely expect more notorious one-liners and smug wise-cracks with Ehrenreich’s take on the character.


Fortunately for fans, the actor has already shown us what he’s got as a comedic actor. Perhaps the finest example is this scene between Ehrenreich and Ralph Fiennes in Hail, Caesar!. A little context: Ehrenreich is a western action star who has been thrust into a period drama, entirely out of his depth.

So, what are Disney telling fans with this casting? They are showing us that for Han’s stand alone adventure, comedy is key.

Will This Be The Funniest Star Wars Movie To Date?

This comes down to a philosophy that has treated Disney well with their other huge property, Marvel Studios. Disney has done this many times within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly within Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie often graced as the funniest Marvel movie to date. Replicating that success, it was also one of The Force Awakens‘s greatest achievements, allowing new and old fans to bond with their new additions to the franchise. Their writers clearly understand that sharing a laugh with an on-screen character helps them become relatable and human, giving us reasons to actually care about their journey.

With this in mind, it should be no surprise that Disney saw it as a priority to include actors and directors who have proven their comedic capabilities. Take a look back at Disney’s recent success within the MCU and many the actors and directors involved stem from from comedy – including the Russo Brothers, James Gunn, Jon Favreau as directors, and actors such as Chris Pratt, Robert Downey Jr. and Paul Rudd. As a Star Wars fan, I welcome this creative maneuver with open arms.


I know what you’re thinking: there’s only one Han Solo, and that’s Harrison Ford. Whilst it’s hard for us to acknowledge anybody other than Ford as Han Solo, it is great to see that Disney know the challenge ahead and realize that it isn’t enough to just see a young Han Solo on the big screen. Disney know that if we’re going to warm to our Han Solo, the movie also has to be a lot of fun.

Will Alden Ehrenreich make a good Han Solo? Let me know your thoughts with a comment!

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Stanford Scientist Reveals How Captain America Can Exist in the Real World

Captain America: The First Avenger

Just when we were starting to believe radioactive spider bites and blasts of gamma radiation can only result in an untimely death and a definite lack of awesome superhuman abilities, one Stanford biologist named Sebastian Alvarado has restored our faith in the blurred lines between science fiction and science fact. For those of us who are more ‘HULK SMASH!’ than ‘science bros,’ Alvarado has broken down the modern day science that can be used to create a true Marvel legend, just like Captain America, in real life. Which means a lot less of this:

beat up

And a LOT more of this:


However, it should be noted that before turning our dreams into a reality, the Stanford scientist explicitly states NOT to try this at home – even if you happen to have a science lab at your disposal.

As any Cap fan knows, Steve Rogers was lucky enough to gain his abilities with the aid of a ‘Super-Soldier Serum,’ which drastically enhanced his strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, healing ability, and tolerance to fatigue poisons. In reality, this change is called ‘epigenetic modification,’ a science used to modify genetic attributes. In other words, epigenetic modification can be used to achieve ‘peak physical fitness’ – which is the prime purpose of the super-soldier serum.


In Captain America: The First Avenger (remaining faithful to the comic book’s origin story), the epigenetic modification of Steve Rogers is perhaps the ultimate zero-to-hero tale of the MCU. Steve Rogers is injected with the ‘Super-Soldier Serum’ before being blasted with vita-rays. This may sound like they’ve just put Cap in some kind of microwave for superheroes but, as Sebastian Alvarado points out, there is an incredible similarity between Cap’s origin and the way this can really be achieved with present day technology.

“What’s really interesting about [Cap’s origin] is that it ties in to a lot of interesting approaches to pharmacotheraphy. There are a lot of photosensitive carriers of drugs that exist in development”


Which is pretty amazing when you consider Captain America’s origin story was written in 1941. However, the science behind Cap’s creation falls short with the fact that nobody knows what is inside the super-soldier serum. But Alvardo expands on this point to offer an explanation, or at the least, an alternative to the mysterious serum. His solution: repetitively branched molecules known as dendrimers…


“If you shoot UV light at [dendrimers], they actually break up. So anything they’re carrying gets released into the tissue they are currently embedded in. So if you imagine one of these nano carriers carrying everything he needs, let’s say his genome editing tools to turn on the right genes for increase muscle mass… You put it in [Steve Roger’s muscle] and zap him with these vita-rays or UV light… You can specifically activate these molecules to release their load and have a very specific function…”

Functions such as… super strength, stamina, speed and agility!


And there we have it, the real science behind Captain America! Of course, some would say that this unnatural practice is dangerous and only worked out so well for S.H.I.E.L.D and Steve Rogers because of Cap’s good nature, strong morals and sense of humanity. But on the other hand…



Whose superhero ability would you most like to see in real life? Let me know in the comments section.

Source: Youtube

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5 Ways to Make an Obi-Wan Kenobi Movie “More Powerful Than You Could Possibly Imagine”


When I first heard about a potential Star Wars movie devoted to telling Obi-Wan Kenobi’s untold story, I initially rejected the idea. With a universe so expansive and well developed as the Star Wars universe, there just didn’t seem to be any reason, other than a financial one, to continually focus on the small group of characters we already know and love. However, whilst trying to come to terms with the idea, I began to wonder if there was any way an Obi-Wan movie could be A New Hope, rather than a Phantom Menace (see what I did there?).

With that in mind, here is how I think an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie could be an amazing addition to the franchise.

1. Casting: Ewan McGregor Returns as Obi-Wan Kenobi



The Star Wars franchise has a notorious history in casting choices that can range from the spectacular (Harrison Ford) to the misguided (Hayden Christensen). There are many reasons why Ewan McGregor deserves to continue his run as Obi-Wan Kenobi, but above all else is his quality as an actor. Ewan has proven before (Trainspotting) and after (The Impossible) the prequels that he is capable of powerful and emotional performances. If this movie comes into fruition, the role will be much more demanding than his previous performances as Kenobi. This is especially true if Disney decide to…

2. Choose the Right Timeline: Tatooine



When deciding an appropriate time in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s life to expand on screen, the obvious choices boil down to two options. The first would be to focus on a young padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, training under Qui-Gon Jinn. The movie would span from his acceptance into the academy until the opening scene of A Phantom Menace. No matter how emotionally involved I am with the Star Wars universe, there is no part of me that wishes to see this unfold on the big screen, as it would mostly re-tell tropes we already know, namely the path of a young Jedi learning under the wings of a wiser accomplice.

The second significant period of time in Obi-Wan’s life that remains cinematically untold begins at the very end of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Now firmly grounded on Tatooine for the foreseeable future, Obi-Wan certainly transgresses by the time we meet him again in A New Hope. This, in my opinion, is the perfect timeline to provide us with further insight into how Obi-Wan overcame the emotional damage caused by the events of the Star Wars prequels to become at one with the light side of the force.

3. Inspiration: Make it a Westernobiwan1

In A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, it is clear that Tatooine’s inhabitants and their endeavours are inspired by traditional tropes belonging to gangster movies. The Mos Eisley cantina is your scummy bar filled with dodgy dealings, whereas Jabba the Hut is the unapologetic ‘Godfather’ figure, surrounded by his entourage. Strip away the sci-fi elements of this story, and Tatooine is the traditional vice-fuelled gangster setting. Obi-Wan’s story would not be best served as a sci-fi gangster flick, but fortunately for us, these tropes share many similarities with another once-popular genre, the Western.

Taking inspiration from classic westerns (The Searchers, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, to name a few) would be the perfect avenue to tell Obi-Wan’s time on Tatooine. The genre often focuses on a ‘loner’ or ‘wanderer’, who has a mysteriously troubled past that those around him can’t understand – making him misunderstood and preventing him from fitting into society. Doesn’t this describe Obi-Wan’s persona on Tatooine perfectly? His only meaning in life is to protect a boy who spends his free time shooting womp rats. During Luke’s uneventful years, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Obi-Wan spent much of his time soul searching, wandering the baron wasteland that is Tatooine and performing acts of kindness and justice whenever possible.



The western genre would also be the perfect inspiration for the tribulations Obi-Wan faces in his stand along movie. I’m talking about space saloons, quick-draw shoot outs and cold-blooded killers. However, even with all this, there is a huge part of Obi-Wan’s character that needs a vital role in his movie – his spirituality.

4. Jedi Spirituality: Show Kenobi’s Path to Inner Peace


Despite taking influence from the wild west, the movie’s underlying focus (and Kenobi’s character arc throughout the movie) should be his relationship with the light side, and how this helps him deal with the trauma of losing Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin’s betrayal and the Empire’s dominance throughout the galaxy. His cave on Tatooine can cleverly juxtapose the surrounding chaos by being his very own fortress of solitude, where he spends time searching for inner-peace.

This offers an entirely different story to the six current Star Wars features. Instead of focusing on a group’s epic adventure, we are taken on Obi-Wan’s lonesome journey both inwards and outwards. As he aids those in need on the outside, we see him help himself on the inside. This is a vital component to making an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie worthwhile – to be able to understand the character better and get closer to his own psychology.

Still taking inspiration from many Westerns, imagine this as the movie’s basic structure:

During a routine journey across the desert, Obi-Wan encounters an injustice he cannot ignore. Due to his kind nature, he is forced to intervene – an act that escalates greatly, but ultimately allows him to find peace with his past, preparing him for his role as Luke’s guardian in A New Hope.

None of which would be possible without…

5. Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn… in ‘Force Ghost’ Form!



In the same way that seeing Ewan McGregor reprise his role could actually make us like the prequel trilogies a little more, seeing Neeson return as Qui-Gon Jinn would likely have the same effect. As Obi-Wan confirms in Revenge of the Sith that he has been in contact with the eternal spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn, it would be illogical for this movie to take place without Qui-Gon appearing as Kenobi’s ghostly guardian. This gives our wandering loner a dialogue with a character we love, whilst also keeping him as an isolated figure. His cave, as I mentioned earlier, would act as his fortress of solitude, where he communicates with his deceased master.

Although Qui-Gon was one of the few redeeming components of The Phantom Menace, most of his actions throughout the movie resulted in carnage. Kenobi’s stand alone movie could also redeem Qui-Gon as a character, allowing him to finish training Obi-Wan so he can be a stronger and better-prepared role model to Luke than he was for Anakin.


So, there we have it! 5 things that I believe can make an Obi-Wan-centered movie a hugely satisfying addition to the Star Wars franchise. What did you think of these points? Let me know in the comments below, or go one step further by creating your own post about this.

*This post was originally featured on and can be found here.*


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The Power of Foresight: Science Fiction Predicting Science Fact


Science Fiction can be the most visually stimulating genre, allowing us to see metaphorical images to convey ideas in an understandable way. The greatest asset to sci-fi is that things don’t have to be literal, but can simply conveying a less fantastical idea through the medium of surrealist, sometimes unbelievable, concepts. In some cases, however, the great minds behind our favourite science fiction films have predicted the present day with shockingly close detail. It’s up for debate as to whether the films were influenced by up and coming technology, or whether inventors were inspired by the imaginative work within films. Either way, the fact remains that there are some glaringly impressive records of foresight in science fiction. Here are a few of the best.

Blade Runner: China as a Superpower

This is no mention of oriental influence in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the novella that was adapted into Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. However, in Scott’s adaptation, L.A. is a shanghai-Los Angeles hybrid.

A Chinese woman on a skyscraper billboard in Blade Runner

A Chinese woman on a skyscraper billboard in Blade Runner

Nowadays it is widely acknowledged that China is a world superpower that shows no decline of power and prosperity. However, back in 1982 this wasn’t so black and white. In fact, it wasn’t until 20 years after Blade Runner’s release when Barry Buzan, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics, said that ‘China certainly presents the most promising all-round profile [of a potential superpower]… China is currently the most fashionable potential superpower and the one whose degree of alienation from the dominant international society makes it the most obvious political challenger’.

That isn’t to say that the idea wasn’t considered back in 1984, but to take the artistic direction of completely transforming an American city into an Asian surrounding shows forward-thinking, bold filmmaking from Scott and his creative team.

Le Voyage Dans La Lune: The Moon Landing



Perhaps the similarities between Georges Méliès’ short film and the Apollo 11 moon landing was aided by man’s continuous fascination with the moon. However, a lot of credit is due for the strength of these similarities and for how far into the future Méliès was predicting. Le Voyage Dans La Lune, the first ever science fiction film, featured a moon landing in 1902, an incredible 67 years before man eventually set foot on the moon in 1969.

Le Voyage Dans La Lune features a team of men climb inside a giant-sized bullet before being shot at the moon as a crowd of people cheer and wave goodbye. With obvious scientific advancements, this is a simplified explanation of the moon landing actually occurred.

The similarities between the film and the real moon landing gets even more impressive as the men make their landing. Their first action isn’t to explore the moon, but to look back at the earth, now the same sizeable distance as the moon is to the rest of humanity. This rings true to many of NASA’s photographs from the Apollo 11 exploration, showing pictures of earth from a distance never seen before.

Okay, so maybe it’s not so hard to say which country will become a superpower in the future, or that once man had the technology, he would try to get to the moon. Both of those predictions are on a large scale and include things that may have been speculated in the widespread media of the time. However, due to their specificity, these next few moments of cinematic insights of the future will surely impress.

3D films in Back to the Future: Part II


Notice the tagline ‘This time it’s really REALLY personal’ and the director ‘Max Spielberg’, Steven’s eldest son.

3D technology has actually been around since 1922, where a film named The Power of Love was shown, a coincidental name due to Back to the Future’s soundtrack featuring Huey Lewis and The News’ track of the same name. 3D films were even practiced by the Nazis in 1936. However, 3D films never seemed destined to become standard practice. That was until the modern practice of torrenting films gave Hollywood a scare into forcing more films to be released in 3D (and therefore untorrentable). The concept is that you may be able to torrent a film of your choosing, but you will never get the ‘full experience’.

“The shark still doesn’t look real” – Marty McFly

“The shark still doesn’t look real” – Marty McFly

Anyhow, Back to the Future Part 2 features a 10 second moment where a holographic Jaws bursts out from the cinema and attempts to eat him whole, acting as an overly elaborate trailer for ‘Jaws 19’. This short premonition of the film industry should be praised more for it’s accuracy than it’s ingenuity, namely because in 2012 ‘Piranha 3DD’ came out – a film that was somehow parodied in Back to the Future Part II, 23 years before it was ever released.





‘Skyping’ in 2001: A Space Odyssey

It’s no surprise that Kubrick prominently features in this article. His ambition and intellect meant he was always going to show some form of technology in use that hadn’t become normal practice in his sci-fi masterpiece. Kubrick would only use NASA equipment to film the exploration epic and reportedly created a melting-pot of ideas by asking everyone (yes, everyone!) on set each day to contribute their thoughts by writing them down. The result, in terms of an accurate prediction of modern technology, was a video call, now more commonly phrased to as ‘skyping’ or ‘Facetime’.*

We see a man call his daughter the day before her birthday on an oversized desktop computer. The man has a raised voice and what is really interesting is the way there is a clear disconnection between the man and his daughter – not in a sinister way, just in the sense that distance is obvious. The girl only shows a slight interest in her fathers conversation, despite being offered presents. This, whether accidental or purposeful, can be accurate to a lot of Skype calls nowadays, which involves jarred conversations and half-interested callers as they occupy themselves with other things.


The videophone had been discussed as early as the 1800s, in works such as Le Vingtième siècle. La vie électrique by Albert Robida, and early cartoons of Thomas Edison fictionally creating a device known as a ‘Telephonoscope’. So why is this use of a video call in 2001: A Space Odyssey impressive? Because by 1968, the year of the film’s release, the ‘Picturephone’ had already been put into distribution, and had dramatically failed to succeed. At the time, it seemed as though mankind weren’t interested in the development, and preferred to talk via telephones or, I presume, in person. Kubrick’s creative team, however, saw past this early failure and decided that by 2001, videocalling would be a normal part of society. If anybody is to be awarded for the accurately predicted dates, Kubrick takes first prize, as Skype was released in 2003 and welcomed and ingrained into modern day society ever since.

*A little side note: Arthur C Clark, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the accompanying book to the film, also predicted the mobile phone way back in 1959. In one of his essays, he describes a “personal transceiver, so small and compact that every man carries one.”

Google Maps’ Street View in Blade Runner


Those who have seen Star Trek into Darkness may remember a brief moment where Captain Kirk uses a form of Google Maps’ Street View to take a look at stills from a street faced by a terrorist attack. I remember seeing the scene and thinking how impressive it looked. Although the film is set in the future, the device practically shows a slightly more advanced version of Google maps. I can’t begin to imagine, then, how impressed audiences were when they saw the same technology used in Blade Runner.

The purpose of the device is different, in that it is used to navigate clues to hunt down unsuspecting replicants. It’s hard to believe that now we use that same technology to navigate the nearest McDonalds or your friend’s house. The fact remains, however, that the technology can be seen in a film released in 1989, 18 years prior to Google Map’s street view’s release in 2007.

Reality Television (Big Brother) in The Truman Show

The foresight of The Truman Show seems so accurate that it is sometimes hard to believe that at the time of it’s release, the massively successful Big Brother hadn’t started yet, and was yet to open the door for a huge array of reality television. The Truman show asked a lot of questions of the humanity and morality behind reality television, years before the genre boomed and became the most financially beneficial genre.

Satirical Product placement in The Truman show, next to real-life product placement in American Idol

Satirical Product placement in The Truman show, next to real-life product placement in American Idol. In 2010, product placement in UK television became legalised by Ofcom.

Nowadays, shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Hills are common place. We watch them, knowing that there it is a skewed version of reality, but audiences watch it with suspended disbelief, allowing themselves to believe that everything on camera is a reality. This is important to The Truman Show, as many of it’s moral questions come back to the same concept: Are the audience selfishly gaining emotional connection by allowing Truman to live a lie?

The Truman Show was released in 1998, 2 years before the first Big Brother and audience’s obsession with reality television ever since.


So what do audiences gain from these premonitions? Pleasure, mostly. It’s great to look back at a film and see how clued-up the filmmakers were. It’s even more enjoyable to think that filmmakers have been able to watch their fictional versions of the future become a reality. Most importantly, it allows us to look back and see a visual representation from the past of how incredible our technological present day has become, allowing us to appreciate and observe our own surroundings in a way that would be otherwise impossible.


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