Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
The Prediction Fail: Just, y'know, robots and a little thing called the end of the world.
According to the internal logic of James Cameron’s Terminator universe, machines become sentient and bring about a bit of an apocalypse on 29 August, 1997. Then, killer robots stalk the Earth, eradicating any and all human life...
Second follow-up flick (decidedly non-Cameron) Terminator 3 re-set Judgement Day as 24 July, 2004. That one failed to materialise as well. The future’s never set, y’know.
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: Um, we don’t, actually. Unless you’re keen to meet your maker (or some very hard-to-kill metal blokes with glowing red eyes), you’ll be breathing a sigh of relief that this hasn’t happened. Yet.
Reign Of Fire (2002)
The Prediction Fail: Dragons. See, this fire-breathing fantasy estimated that in 2008, work on the Underground would uncover the scaly, reptilian creatures of myth and legend, and set them loose on London.
Funnily enough, it didn’t ever happen. Would've explained the smell, down there, though.
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: Dragons are, like, wicked cool!
Okay, so we probably wouldn’t want to see London reduced to smouldering ashes, but imagine taking the kids to see one of these beasties at London Zoo. Beats the crap out of seals and tropical fish any day of the week.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Prediction Fail: Stanley Kubrick and scribe Arthur C. Clarke really reached for the stars with their sixties depiction of the future.
In their mind’s eye, by now we’d not only have a groovy-looking moonbase ( Moonraker shove off), but also a giant space station, commuter flights into infinity (and beyond) and cryogenic sleep-capsules. Yeah, we wish Kubes!
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: Who doesn’t want to go into space? Hands up! See, only Hayfever-prone Jimmy at the back there has his in the air.
Now if they would just hurry up and establish a colony on Mars like in Total Recall (are we on target for that flick's 2084 deadline? Unlikely), we’d take that as a consolation prize.
Blade Runner (1982)
The Prediction Fail: Set in 2019, just nine short years from present day, Ridley Scott et al dreamt up a crowded, claustrophobic futureworld for this divisive sci-fi.
Here, creepy things called Replicants exist – genetically engineered beings who look human, but are superior in strength and intellect. They’re also referred to as ‘skin jobs’, not quite as filthy as it sounds.
So far all we have is Dolly the sheep and the earmouse – there would have to be a massive leap in technology for Replicants to exist by 2019.
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: We’re a lazy race, if we’re honest with our ourselves for just a moment. Given the choice of doing a hard day’s work, or lazing on the beach, many of us would take the latter (except us, our lives are meaningless without work).
So imagine if we could get the Replicants to do all the crap stuff we just don’t want to?
Escape From New York (1981)
The Prediction Fail: It’s 1997, and New York City has become nothing more than a prison on a massive scale. The city has been walled off, and all manner of unsavoury characters are locked inside to keep them away from the rest of us.
It’s now 2010, and New York City is still a magnet for the weird and the wonderful. But people are generally allowed to leave if they want to.
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: John Carpenter wrote the flick as a response to Watergate, now it could probably be linked to Guantanamo or The Troubles. Wouldn’t wish any of that on anybody. And... a city packed with millions of shady sorts? Talk about a can of worms just waiting to explode...
The Prediction Fail: Nuclear war should have happened in 1988 if Akira is to be believed. Not only that, the explosion should have destroyed Tokyo, and acted as a catalyst for World War III...
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: Even we’re not that mean, and Tokyo is one heck of a cool city, so we’re pretty happy that this nuclear bust-up failed to materialise.
But we want a bike like Kaneda’s.
Death Race 2000 (1975)
The Prediction Fail: Ah, the ‘70s was an interesting era, full to the brim with excitement – and a raft of decidedly stupid ideas.
But forget Fleetwood Mac and Saturday Night Fever , one film took a look into the future and decided it would consist of nothing more than people racing for survival, literally.
Death Race suggests that the United States collapsed after financial woes in 2000, and is commandeered by a military coup. Now, a gladiatorial contest pits racers against each other. Stupider still, it was remade in 2008.
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: Because racing is cool? Nah, alright, if Death Race hadn’t already put us off crazy racing, the Speed Racer film buried any remaining excitement. This future sucks.
Back To The Future Part II (1989)
The Prediction Fail: Just around the corner in 2015, we’re supposed to have hover boards and self-drying coats that change to fit the wearer. Oh, and Jaws 25 should be hitting cinema screens.
None of that is anywhere near (can we cram 21 more Jaws flicks into the next five years? Now there’s a goal for the Hollywood types). They got the nostalgic '80s love right, though - hello, American Apparel?
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: Have you seen those hover boards? We’d love to get an early prototype model, head down to the South Bank and show those skater kids how it’s really done. Except ours wouldn’t be pink like Marty’s (hopefully).
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1956)
The Prediction Fail: Not far out, to be fair, and chillingly accurate in terms of today’s surveillance society. But there’s no denying Orwell et al missed it by a decade or two with their predictions of a Big Brother society (both literally and televisually) gone mad.
Alright, we haven’t quite reached the claustrophobic lows of the lives endured by Edmund O’Brien and co in this dystopian nightmare, but we’re damn near. Did you know that the average UK resident is caught on camera at least 300 times a day? (Except us, of course, we live the lives of film-loving moles.)
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: If they’d been right, and the Big Brother state took over in 1984, god knows what sort of horrific society we’d be living in today. Probably one where people go on TV and become famous for shagging under a table or wrestling in paint. Oh...
Demolition Man (1993)
The Prediction Fail: Another misfire for Sly. Words from the wise, Mr Stallone, set your next future dystopia in the year 4017; we'll probably have forgotten your B movie tosh by then.
So... according to Demolition Man lore, Los Angeles was supposed to fall into ruin by 1996. But while some might agree that the City of Angels has, indeed, been damaged beyond all hope, it’s not a patch on the devastation predicted by DM .
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: The destruction of LA would surely have included the destruction of Hollywood, which could have spared us a great deal of rubbish in the past 14 years. That said, it would have spared us quite a few classics, an’ all...
The Time Machine (1960)
The Prediction Fail: Time travelling scientist George skips through World Wars one and two, and ends up in 1966, where he discovers nuclear war raging on.
Most importantly, London is targeted, and ends up resembling nothing more than molten lava.
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: We like the time travelling part (if only we could hop back ten minutes and fix this godawful stain on our favourite Darth Vader T-shirt), but the volcanic London bit’s pushing this too far.
We like London, even if it is grubby and rat-infested.
Strange Days (1995)
The Prediction Fail: Movies just love to take a dig at LA, don’t they? In Strange Days ’ imagined alter-present (actually 1999), Los Angeles is a crime-riddled ode to lawlessness.
Not only that, but Kathryn Bigelow seemed to think that we’d be storing our music on minidiscs, not iPods, USBs and CDs.
Why We Wish They’d Been Right: Minidiscs had their charm, and we’re sure we have some awesome mixdiscs gathering dust somewhere in the loftspace of the flat we had ten years ago. But sadly they have been lost to Father Time now.