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4 Incredible Modern Technologies That Have Lost Their Luster

#2. The Bullet Time Camera Technology from The Matrix Has Done Nothing With Its Life

Warner Bros.

Once Upon a Time ...

I sat in a theater with two of my middle school buddies as we had our minds blown by a crazy movie about martial arts and people living in computers and Keanu Reeves always looking like he forgot his lines and, most impressively, crazy-ass 360 camera spins that captured every detail of one moment in time from every possible angle. The Matrix was incredible, and Bullet Time camera technology was set to revolutionize cinematic photography.

It's Just Too Bad That ...

Bullet Time technology has been reduced to working the red carpet for E! during award shows like a washed-up celebrity with nowhere else to turn.

eonline.com
I never fully appreciated the kid from Modern Family until I saw him stuck within a time bubble.

Bullet Time, it turns out, was a one-hit wonder. A technology that once captivated audiences as it starred in one of the most influential Hollywood blockbusters of all time, a technology that won its creators Oscars, is now only a slightly more synthetic version of Joan Rivers.

I can list off all of the terrible movies it was used in during its post-Matrix explosion, but I'd rather cut to the last line of the Wikipedia entry for Bullet Time, because it best expresses the sorry state it's in today:

"Bullet Time was used for the first time in a live music environment in October 2009 for Creed's live DVD, Creed Live."

Bullet Time's last known whereabouts was a Creed concert. Right now Bullet Time is probably in a backwoods church in the Florida panhandle filming a pastor dancing with snakes.

#1. Tablets and Smartphones Are the New Pacifiers

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Once Upon a Time ...

When they first hit the market, smartphones and tablets were a clear sign we were living in the crazy sci-fi future we had seen in movies, and that human- alien hybrids and androids were just around the corner.

Sergey Nivens/iStock/Getty Images
"POOOOOOOOOOOOORN!!!!!!"

Computers more powerful than the ones used to put people on the moon can now fit in your pocket and make your testicles toasty warm. You can watch movies and play games on them, but they also let you carry your office with you wherever you go. Tablets have some impressive educational uses, too. Yes, smartphones and tablets are tools of the bright, shiny vision of progress futurists once dreamed of.

It's Just Too Bad That ...

From the moment a family sits down to eat at a restaurant, parents will take this incredible supercomputer and reduce it to a pacifier by practically cramming it in their kid's mouth, telling him not to speak because his chattering teeth will scratch the screen.

Of the many dozens of times I've seen this, there was one particularly strange instance that I couldn't tear my eyes away from. While at a restaurant, a family with a kid was escorted to a nearby table. The kid was calm. He had his shit together. So, as everyone sat down, the mom handed the kid an iPad. "Here," she said, as if when she woke up that morning she actively decided to pretend her kid wasn't a thing. "Play."

wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images
"They're playing that game with the birds. Think we can get in a quick fingerblast, honey?"

The kid turned into a frantic asshole. He refused to sit down, playing the iPad game with all the exaggerated gestures people in movies do when they play video games. He stumbled back and knocked over his chair, triggering my Spider Sense. I caught the chair before it hit the ground. The kid said he was sorry. The mom and the two other adults didn't even break their conversational stride. When it was time to eat, he ate. He was calm. It was like he wasn't even there.

And they're not just pacifiers; they're playgrounds -- things children go apeshit on while the parents sit on the sidelines and wait for the kids' batteries to run out so they can scoop up their exhausted bodies and put them to bed. Then the parents mask the sound of their lovemaking by turning up the volume of their non-HD HDTVs and take old-timey pictures of their junk while a Bullet Time camera rig pleasures itself from outside their window.

Warner Bros.
Poor, pathetic Bullet Time.


Luis Prada is still recovering from having watched VCR technology leap off a building and splatter on the pavement below. Send your condolences to him via Twitter and Tumblr.

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