10 Sci Fi Gadget/Prediction Misfires

Science Fiction? More like Science Fail-tion

by Field

Series Lists

The great Arthur C. Clark once said, "Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories".  You know who else should read science fiction?  The people who make science fiction movies.  Over the years we've been inundated with all the gadgetry and social commentary that makes science fiction such a great genre to read, watch, and write.  But now that we're officially living in the futuristic year of 2010, I feel like we can look back at some of these predictions with a bit of skepticism and "lol" at some of the more ridiculous predictions and gadgets that haven't been invented…because they're stupid.  Let's get started...

10.  Time Machine of Death (Time Cop)

Time Cop is a movie where Time Cop (Jean-Claude Van Damme) enforces time law along with the rest of the TEC (Time Enforcement Commission) by traveling back in time to prevent time crime.  Now let's get this straight right off the bat.  I'm not saying that time travel is impossible or that it's not rad as hell (it is), but instead I'm only questioning the construction and design of said rad time machine.  In order for him to travel through time, Time Cop has to sit in a rocket-propelled time machine that rides on rails for about 200 yards into "back in time"…which then suddenly and abruptly ends at a brick wall.  So…let me get this straight.  You're a top secret time enforcement agency (TEC) with billions of dollars at your beck and call, and you can't make the time machine runway a little longer?  Or maybe…Oh I don't know, put some sand or water at the end instead of a brick wall that fucking kills fucking everyone?

The thought process here was likely if a job is so dangerous that it has the potential to kill you, that doing that job automatically makes you a bad ass.  As if TIME TRAVELING didn't make you bad ass enough.  I myself didn't need the threat of death to know Jean-Claude Van Damme was a bad ass…I gathered that from the moment I saw his sweet 1993 mullet.

Final Synopsis:  Build more track, idiots.

9.  Stereotypes (Predator II)

There seems to be a formula for this type of thing in science fiction movies where the writers tend to get a bit ridiculous when imagining a future where technology has changed the world and the different social groups that live in that world.  If expressed mathematically, it would look something like this:

Future + Technology + (random social class or religious group) x (power hungry leader of said group or religion) = Sci-Fi Writers

In Predator II Danny "I'm getting' too old for this shit" Glover has to fight a predator who is killing off an L.A. based drug cartel made up of voodoo practitioners….who sell drugs.  I understand that this is symbolism since both the predator and the religion of voodoo celebrate death (all religions), but it just doesn't make any sense.  How many people practice voodoo in the United States?  Twelve?  What this movie didn't realize was that just a few years after its release the city of Los Angeles would be ravaged by real life racial strife gang warfare that would define the city in the early 1990's…You may remember it.  It was called the East Coast/West Coast rap feud…


Final Synopsis:  Everyone who Stereotypes is wrong and stupid...

8.  Genetically Enhanced Pets (Jetsons/Blade Runner/Watchmen)

Apparently, sometime in the future, people will no longer love regular animals.  At some point, we will become bored with normal pets like dogs, cats, and armadillos, and the unconditional, undying love and joy they bring into our lives.  This will force science to create crazy animals with Slinkies for legs and annoying voices to up the cuteness factor and cause our futuristic human brains to secrete love endorphins.  This has been promised to us for years and thankfully, it never came to fruition.  I don't know about you, but I've been to and nothing is cuter than that shit.  Why would I ever want a pet with Slinky's for legs…I don't even want a Slinky with Slinkies for legs.

Final Synopsis:  I want an armadillo named "Mitsy."

7.  Space Mutants (Total Recall, Judge Dredd)

In the future, when oxygen is like gasoline and only the very wealthiest of queens and space noblemen can afford it, people will start to suffer great physical changes due to…uh…space, I guess?  In Total Recall, the people who live on Mars become horribly and tragically deformed because of the lack of oxygen which is being withheld from them.  I say bullshit.  I'm no Professor of Knowledge, but we've been sending people into space with limited protection from UV light (UVC kills you) and only a limited supply of oxygen for nearly 50 years now without a single 'naut coming back as a mutated, fetus in fetu having, "start the reactor" mumbling, mutation.   That is unless you count that astronaut lady who went to go kill her lover and wore a diaper for the whole 2000 mile trip so she wouldn't have to stop.  But I'm pretty sure that chick didn't have three boobs….unfortunately….

Final Synopsis:  Chicks should have 3 boobs.

6.  Laser Whips (Johnny Mnemonic, Iron Man II, Masters of the Universe)

In the future, when guns (phasers) become too boring and not ironic and nostalgic enough…people will start using weapons and tools from yesteryear.  Johnny Mnemonic, which takes place is the far off time of 2021, there is an epic Laser Whip War where Ice Cube, Ice-T and Ted Theadore Logan (Keanu Reeves) fight a really bad ass asian guy who has a laser whip that comes out of his finger.  No, Ice Tea doesn't play a Kangaroo in this movie…you're thinking of Tank Girl.  Why would there ever be a need for a laser whip?  It's not like if you used it on someone they'd ever not die…it's a fucking laser whip.  Making a whip with a laser pretty much defeats the entire purpose of having a whip…which is to cause pain to something/someone without you know….cutting them in half with a laser.  Not only that, unlike a lightsaber, a whip is not a straight and rigid (ha) object that can be easily controlled (HA).  If the laser whip were ever invented, you could be sure that the fatalities from laser whip accidents would skyrocket 15,000%.  In short: if you're trying to kill Sir Mix-A-Lot Ice-Tea and Neo Mnemonic, just use a normy laser.

Final Synopsis:  flacid lightsaber fail...

5.  Sick Sticks™ (Minority Report)

In the movie Minority Report, the Precrime Police (TEC), a group of people charged with monitoring all future crimes and preventing them, use a non lethal weapon device known as a SickStick™ to subdue suspects.  It's basically like a baton or night stick, but when you get beat, it makes you puke all over the place.  Now I know the first thing I want to have happen to me if I were a police officer would be for some criminal to start vomiting all over the place when I'm trying to arrest them.  That way, you ensure that you are covered in puke all day long…which I hear is something people are into.  Apparently in Speilberg's future, mace no longer does the job…nor do tasers.  I for one am glad the SickStick™ hasn't been invented yet and hopefully never will.  Can you imagine the drinking games this thing would inspire?

Final Synopsis:  You got Sticked Brah.

4.  Silver Clothing  (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Every 1950's sci fi movie)

Ever since the 1950's, we've been promised a future replete with only the best in sterling fashions.  Since it is 2010, and I have yet to see a single person ever wear a silver outfit of any kind, I'm officially saying that we as a society will never embrace clothing that is all silver.  This is one of the misfires on the list that I actually wish were true.  Silver clothing would not only be awesome as hell to wear, but it would also make everyone seem ten times more Jean-Claude Van Damme.  It was always my dream to be able to walk down the street in slow motion, clad in a silver suit while Powerman 5000 played as the soundtrack to my life.  In the '50s, it was theorized that silver clothing would be the only type of clothing worn in the future due to the then-recent invention of tin foil and nuclear weapons.  It's hard to say why silver clothing never took off, but I am glad that it still evokes a very futuristic idea in my brain.  Plus, there's still time to make this a reality…

Final Synopsis:  Silver really brings out the red in your fetus in fetu.

3.  Vitrual Reality (Hackers, Time Cop, Minority Report, Johnny Mnemonic, Demolition Man)

Remember when people first started having personal computers and video games in their homes?  It was truly the dawning of a new era and science fiction movies were quick to try and think of what the next big step in the evolution of entertainment would be.  According to Hollywood:  VIRTUAL REALITY!  In Hackers, the main villain (The Plague) uses a pretty bulky VR set up to play video games in his down time when he's not fucking Dr. Melfi.  Likewise, in TIme Cop, a TEC Tech uses a set of sweet wrap around virtual reality glasses to watch porn when he's at work.  Now, this brings up some pretty legitimate questions.  Did they really think that when you put on virtual reality glasses, that said glasses would cause your body to feel things displayed on two video monitors that just happened to be really close to your eyes? Would the FCC (TEC) enforce its standards and practices? Even if the images are three dimensional, there is no way to trick your brain into thinking that Pris is actually touching you…trust me I've done the research (The Stranger).  I watch VR porn all the time…it's called a strip club…

Final Synopsis:  Just play WoW.

2.  The Internet (Johnny Mnemonic, Hackers, War Games, The Net)

Speaking of porn…  So before the internet was really a thing that people could grasp (it still isn't) science fiction tried to imagine what the internet would be and how it would be used.  Take a look at the clip from Johnny Mnemonic below and basque in the internet of "the future".  Oh look, the internet is virtual reality!  Look how long it takes for Neo to even get onto the internet.  He's got to wait for his little VR hands to load and then move his fingers all around so that we know that he's controlling them because Hollywood thinks we're idiots.  Then he has to dial a number in order to make a "phone call" to get onto a Bejing web site….Whew.  This is all very impressive if you're used to using a 56k modem and your mom keeps interrupting you to call Miss Cleo.  I don't really blame science fiction for not knowing the full impact the internet would have on literally everyone on the planet, but they had to assume that it'd wouldn't take 20 minutes to get onto a web site.  In the same time it takes Johnny Mnemonic to dial-up the world wide web, I could have been to wikipedia, started a flame war, and fap'd to a VR Jenna Haze…

Final Synopsis:  The Internet is just a fad…I give it 2 more years.

1.  The Three Shells (Demolition Man)

In the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and ninety-six, a great man known only as John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) was cryogenically frozen and woke up in the year 2032 where a massive earthquake had caused humanity to form a veritable utopian society.  And what is this society's greatest contribution to mankind? The Three Shells.  Every several hundred years or so, mankind changes the way he wipes his own ass.  Before the advent of toilet paper (circa 1980), people used to use their left hand to wipe themselves. That's why to this day, people shake hands with their right hand, as to not get poop and butt stank all over each other.  Apparently, sometime near the year 2032, we collectively as a species decided to switch it up yet again by wiping ourselves with some sort of three seashell set up.  It is purported that Sly Stallone himself has said that a writer for the film explained the proper method for using the three shells: it seems to involve using the shells in some sort of chopstick like maneuver for "extraction," while the third is used for cleansing (raking).  How this actually gets that area clean is anyone's guess.  Like silver clothing, I'm hoping this actually comes to fruition soon.  I often think to myself, "hey…why don't we scrape our asses with pointy, jagged, sandpapery, sea shells yet?"  This would eliminate the times when you get stranded on the toilet bowl with no paper, causing your college roommate to wipe his ass with his other roommate's towel, and making it awkward for me for a few days…

Final Synopsis:  So do people share the shells?  Do we each have our own set...or...?

Honorable Mention

Cryogenics:  Already a reality: Walt Disney, Ted Williams, Hilter's Mustache

Teleportation:  Also, already a reality...

Flying Cars:  Would have been included but I've been in a flying car…they're called airplanes.

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  • Makyo

    ah, The Internet. it made beeping noises! it kept files in towers that looked like skyscrapers! it was a place you could visit in weird vector animations! it could have been so cool...

  • Sean

    Poop shells.

    Also, I would give honorable mention to The Matrix's power grid. I find it hard to believe that in the future, the machines can't figure out how to power their world using either a) the same power source that the humans use in Zion or b) nuclear energy.

  • Field

    @Makyo. I would have loved to have been at the meeting when they decided what to make "the internet" look like in these movies. Like, you know one guy was just like "Well we keep OUR files in big metal filing cabinets...sooooo...."

    @Sean: Symbolism


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