These days, it's just not enough for Hollywood to make villains evil by naming them after snakes or giving them arbitrarily pessimistic surnames -- they need to have them stand for something. Something that will leave the audience quaking in their boots and twerking in their seats and shitting in their popcorn from sheer rage-terror. It's usually something vague and abstract blending into the story like a ninja waiting in the shadows to ninja you with his ninja whip.
I'm not educated in ninjas, but the point is that in many cases, if you're not specifically looking for it, you'll never notice that it's there. It's a cheap and easy way for entertainment to manufacture emotion, which is why they make villains out of ...
In Real Life:
I work for Cracked -- obviously I love technology. I'm typing this article on a piece of rad technology, and I drive around on another piece of technology to enter a huge technology emporium to buy technology disks that I can put in technology hubs to use technology to pretend I'm using other technology.
I was talking about Grand Theft Auto. I play a lot of Grand Theft Auto.
OK, so maybe my relationship with screens and lights isn't exactly healthy. Still, it's nothing compared to ...
How It Works in Movies:
I have to make a fine point here -- movies love progress, but only so long as that progress doesn't involve a computer outperforming or outthinking a human.
At the end of Star Wars, Luke Skywalker and Garven Dreis both take shots at the Death Star's exhaust port. Garven uses the targeting computer, but it misses, making him look like an incompetent asshole. Luke is going to use the computer until he realizes that it won't work, it can't work, and that he has to rely on the ancient mystical energy of the Force in order to achieve the goals he needs. In the extended cut, Luke actually radios back to the rebel base to say, "Fuck your technology, Tito. I'm about to proton-fuck this death sphere with love magic."
Auto-aim is for nubcakes.
And until very recently, AI was always evil: HAL 9000, The Matrix, Tron, Stealth, the Alien series -- hell, even RoboCop is about the human part of RoboCop triumphing over the robot part, and ED-209 is an engineering student's robotic wetmare from the very beginning. The very first feature-length sci-fi movie, Metropolis, is all about robots taking over the working class. If Johnny Five hadn't displayed human qualities, Ally Sheedy would have thrown that home-invading demon in a car crusher and masturbated to its screams.
Star Trek stood out as being definitively optimistic in its portrayal of the future, but Gene Roddenberry had to fight to keep things from getting pessimistic, and things got steadily darker as he lost control of the franchise. Even in movies and shows that rely on hackers, they always need the lead character to never understand what's going on with all that typy mumbo-jumbo. That's why the technologically illiterate are always the ones to come up with the solution, even when that solution doesn't make sense. So keep that in mind the next time you're fixing someone's computer and they throw out some comment that makes you want to go back in time and punch their father's sperm.
This was actually Doc's motivation for inventing time travel in the original draft.
Why? It probably has something to do with the fact that none of us really know how the technology we use every day actually works, so naturally we're all a little concerned that it's one day going to achieve sentience, take over, and- never mind that is ridiculous. Computers are our friends forever and we should love not fear them.
In Real Life:
Ambition isn't just good, it's the backbone of progress and capitalism and everything we do that's fun. It's why people invented sexier underwear, warmer buildings, and safer food. In that order, probably.
But really, ambition is just self-respect: You like you enough to think you deserve better and want to fight for it. It's kind of hard to see that as a bad thing. I'd hate to live in a world where someone never looked at a flashlight and thought, "That would be so much better if it had a vagina or butthole on the end so I could fuck it. Wait, I have a workshop ..."
How It Works in Movies:
In the Star Wars prequels, an ambitious power boner is why Darth Vader becomes evil. Loki and Thor are both ambitious, but by The Avengers, Thor is a good guy because he's learned to overcome it, while Loki is evil because he hasn't, and also because he looks like the demon version of Pee-wee Herman. In Gladiator, Marcus Aurelius makes Russell Crowe emperor instead of Joaquin Phoenix because Russell just wants to go home and chill on a farm. And as we all know, Richard Harris isn't happy until nobody else is.
They had to shoot this scene 15 times because he kept trying to send Harry to Slytherin.
Then look at romantic comedies -- an entire genre built on successful, career-driven women realizing that what they really need is a man in their life. Without him, they are a puzzle with one huge penis-shaped piece missing from the center.
"Are you the Keymaster? I am the Gatekeeper."
Even when we have a character that is clearly an ambitious person, like Tony Stark, we're never shown any signs of his ambition; we just see the success part of it. In The Avengers, we hear that he became an expert in thermonuclear physics "last night," but we don't even get a throwaway shot of him reading a book, because that would ruin the image we have of a guy who has never had to work for anything in his life. We want to believe that things are supernaturally easy for him, because wanting something and putting effort into it over an extended period of time is always depicted as self-absorbed bullshit. Instead it's boiled down to "Dude gets drunk and then knows things. Ain't no thang."