Future Shock (1972) Poster


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Very dated but interesting
preppy-330 October 2008
This was shown to me multiple times when I was in high school back in 1979. At first I paid no attention (I had no interest in this at all) but it slowly pulled me in. It's a documentary narrated in a ponderous fashion by Orson Welles. It talks about how technology is moving too fast and too quick for humans to keep up with it. This leads to "future shock". Also it talks about how pollution will destroy the planet. Surprisingly it also shows a gay marriage between two men! That was considered shocking and beyond belief in 1972. Look at it now. Aside from that one thing nothing in the movie has come to pass. If the events mentioned here HAD happened we'd all be dead by now. Still it is interesting as a period piece. Back in the early 1970s activism was in--people were all positive the world wouldn't make it into 2000--and this picture (based on a best-selling book) shows a very dire future. So it is interesting now in a historical context but it's more amusing than anything else. I give it a 7. If you want to see it someone downloaded it onto YouTube
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Future Shock was something featuring Orson Welles I stumbled into on YouTube...
tavm1 September 2009
Just stumbled into this Orson Welles documentary based on Alvin Toffler's book on YouTube. It depicts Welles going to various places as he tells us of various things that will happen in a tone meant to think seriously about if it's all worth it. The part of the scientist telling of people changing colors and then seeing them walking with faces painted blue and red was perhaps one of the stranger segments of the film. What wasn't so strange was hearing some of the Moog-like score or even the Easy Listening songs that sound like some reject Carpenters material. Fascinating to watch two men get wed even though gay marriage couldn't be made legal at the time and of a man taking a pill and then "shocking" himself and then his wife (while in bed) out of a depression. The fact that a rat also gets it is a bit much for my tastes. Then we also get glimpses of protesting, young adults living together in groups, and Welles' head splitting into more spaces on the screen in a segment on cloning. Toffler himself appears near the end to tell how we must control technology to the point we can handle it. Lots of other stuff I could mention but if what I said whetted your curiosity, then Future Shock, like I said, is on YouTube...
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old anxieties still relevant for our times
Larks4 September 2010
The Future Shock documentary was based on the best selling book by Alvin Toffler, and reflects the global ecological and technological concerns of society at the time.

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!
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Future Shock shocked me a little in 1979...
Shel Lynn29 June 2015
I hit 7 in rating this 43 min. documentary for its entertainment & thought-provoking value. As I read the 1st review on this site, I wondered if that writer & I were classmates. I too was first shown this video in Bible class in a MI SDA boarding academy & again in '83 by the same teacher just before we graduated. I found most of the movie interesting & somewhat amusing/entertaining. Other scenes were seared into my brain, such as the marriage between two men, which under my fundamentalist indoctrination at that time, seemed impossible to ever happen. ;)

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
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Or: What if the 1970s Lasted Another Several Decades?
Sturgeon5419 May 2014
This is some funny stuff. Orson Welles hams it up narrating this anti-progress scare documentary. There are all sorts of bizarre extrapolations of future technological and sociological trends from what people were thinking about at the time (1972), from mass polyamory and perpetual youth vagabonds to genetically-engineered flower children. If only he knew how much less fun the future would be...

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.
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