Future Shock (1972)
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THE GOOD: Awesome moody Moog-synth keyboard sounds, suggesting Future Shock was a stylistic forerunner of 'Blade Runner's' futuristic aesthetic. The doco also highlights many changing technologies that have indeed impacted on our civilisation. For example cloning, which was a completely implausible technology at the time, was discussed as a realistic possibility.
THE BAD: The style is at times stodgy and Wells puts on his very best harbinger-of-doom narration voice, whilst constantly bemoaning that 'Nothing is permanent any more' as though before that nothing had ever died or disintegrated in the whole history of the universe. Even heart transplants and artificial limbs are portrayed as examples of 'constant change, leading to Futureshock'. The double-sided nature of technology is not often discussed - most technology is seen as unequivocally bad.
Overall this program raises some good points that are still relevant today. It would have benefited from a deeper analysis of the ways technology would shape and even enhance our lives, rather than the overly-simplistic 'technology is change, and change is bad'. Clearly, not all change is bad, as in the case of desegregation and equal rights for women. But then, as a child of Future Shock, I don't know any different anyway!
Well, I'm writing this on Monday, June 29, 2015... three days after the US Supreme Court upheld gay marriage for ALL of the US; ~35 yrs after I first viewed the documentary. And I am smiling. Sure, Future Shock was a sensationalistic view of what could become of the human race - what documentary doesn't appeal to emotion in order to sell itself? And yes, it's nice to look back in amusement at the authors who perversely feared change in general & felt threatened by rapid advancements in technology. As another reviewer mentioned, if this video had foreseen viewers watching the flick on a hand-held device, we'd be impressed. Otherwise we're amused/tickled & thankful that the authors were wrong in most of their 'predictions.' =)
I just found the link to re-watch the documentary on Youtube, so I think I will, in celebration of gay marriage being made legal in the US. Air-popped popcorn & dark chocolate bar in hand; check! =D
What is most entertaining and unintentionally hilarious is the fact that though it purports to predict the future, its production values and techniques are as rooted in the early '70s as you can get - with everything from bad lighting, creepy Moog synthesizer music, and plastic robot costumes, to cheap special effects courtesy of the McGraw-Hill educational filmstrip conglomerate of the time. That period was itself such an abberration that it was probably the worst possible period to use for meaningful predictions. Now, if Welles had said in his narration, "One day, you will be able to watch this film on a small personal computer along with any other film you choose," I might have had some respect.