Many have written on the hypothesis that are our imaginaries have lost their potential for prediction, or even their capacity to offer alternative visions of the future. We disagree with this statement, mostly because we are convinced there is always something amazing to discover within any peace of science fiction. That is the hidden agenda of this blog. This “benevolent” treatment of pop-culture is the best way to get creativity and value out of this fantastic repository of ingenuity.

So, let’s put this principle to the limit and accept that any vision of the future, wrong or not, can be an excellent basis for discussion. We call this the “Excuse my French” method: we know we deal with a bad example of future, but that no big deal. It is a good start to think differently by trying to find a plausible reason to make it real.

We perfectly know that many aspects of movies or anime are wrong or can not work, but the reason is mostly not to be found in the lack of imagination of the creative team,. But more in the management of the audience. The most renown example is of course the minority report interaction where Tom Cruise interacts with a screen with his hands. If you ever try to do that, you will quickly realize why we use a keyboard and why we do not spend minutes waiving our hands in middle air in order to interact with a computer (just a hint : is it tiring).

A very bad interaction in real life, but great for the audience. 

Minority Report, Steven Spielberg (2002)

Another more recent example was highlighted by the guys at Foxtrotalpha when they watched Top Gun Maverick’s trailer : the helmet Tom Cruise uses to fly would be difficult to use in real life.

Tog Gun Maverick, Joseph Kosinski (2020)

The one that is used in the real navy indeed looks more like a giant protuberance than a clean and transparent motorcycle one. The answer is obviously that using the real life helmet would not allow the viewer to see Tom Cruise’s face and we are paying just for that.

Real life Helmet. Can I see Tom Cruise’s face please ?

So, unless you believe in the magical power of imaginaries to present us perfectly depicted futures, there is obviously some work to be done… This is where you need to « excuse my French ». Basically, the idea is to take anything that does not work in our imaginaries, turn it around and find a good way for it to work. Just a perfect example here : we know that there is no sound in space. But, when we watch Luke Skywalker shooting in the millenium falcon, we hear the empire’s fighters coming by.

Star Wars – A New Hope, George Lucas (1977)

Shouldn’t be the case, right. So if we start excusing the movie director for his insult to reality, we could flip this around: because there is no sound in space and you still need to know where the fighters come from, the headset that they are wearing is not only for internal communications, but also used to geolocate the fighters.

Instead of displaying them on a specific screen, you could just recreate the sound of incoming fighters in order for the pilots to know where they come from, which is then fairly useful. And here we go, we have just excused George Lucas for offering a great immersion to the audience, but an unrealistic vision of space fight.

Or, another possibility would of course be to spend 400.000$ on the F35’s helmet that would give you a full vision of your surroundings using what the developers call a « wonder woman effect » (sic).

F35’s “wonder woman effect”