Let’s be serious for a moment. While we all have our differences, we all have one thing in common: A crazy Aunt. Ok, let me rephrase that, my Aunt isn’t really crazy, just paranoid. My Aunt always tells me that the food I eat, the car I drive, my phone, my computer, practically everything I use is going to give me cancer or some form of disease. While it may seem sweet that my aunt cares so deeply about my safety, if I followed all of her suggestions then I would need to become a hermit in the deep woods of the Amazon with no contact with other people. Saying this, it appears that every director in Hollywood has a direct line to my Aunt’s house. It seems like every scientific movie has the human race getting screwed in the near future.
While some of the movies vary from being set in just a few years to a few hundred years in the future they all have us in a bind. The sun all of a sudden gets really tired of helping us out and gives up, the plants all want us dead, and hell even our own bodies don’t want to continue having children that will carry on our ways. When are we gonna get a break? When are we going to be the ones blowing up the sun because we’re tired of getting burnt on a cloudy day? When are we going to chop down the trees for putting pollen on my recently washed car? The human condition it seems requires us to just get continually beat down by everyone including ourselves. Even aliens can’t stand our way of life and just want to put us out of our continual misery. So what should we do? All buy a panic room, board up our windows, buy shotguns, bread and milk? I think not.
As ridiculous as these movies are, we continue to watch them and encourage directors, writers, and actors to propose more and more ridiculous ideas! Why is this? Is it that sometimes we like a good laugh (I’m looking at you absolute zero), maybe like in the book Hollywood Science, Movies, Science, & the End of the World, some people use the idea’s seen in movies to push their ideas and further the technology we have. Sidney Perkowitz, the author of Hollywood Science, mentions this last idea specifically while talking about Cynthia Breazeal, a leader in robotic technology. Breazeal in an interview once mentioned about how the robots in Star Wars inspired her and her work.
While scientific movies may not inspire us to go into a scientific field, the often have morals to their stories that change our way of thinking. For example scientific movies address issues that are of particular concern of the time. Whether it’s the Day After Tomorrow, addressing the concerns about global warming, Dr. Strangelove showing the dangers of nuclear weapons, and The Happening, which again proves to us that we should never trust M. Night Shyamalan to direct another movie ever again. But these are the reasons we go to the movies, we go not only to entertain ourselves, but also to inspire us. These movies can inspire us to become more educated on an issue and change it, thus creating a better day after tomorrow.