How Corporate Greed Is (Unintentionally) Fixing Movie Plot Holes
Movies obviously aren’t real, as evidenced by the fact that you’re reading this article and not busy dodging large chunks of the moon as they violently fall onto the Earth’s surface. But we still like to buy into the illusion of our favorite high-concept stories, right? This can be increasingly tough with movies that were made in the past, but take place in the future, and not just because we’re not all chowing down on Soylent Green, or shipping off prisoners to the maximum security island of Manhattan. Even smaller details can date an older, supposedly “futuristic” movie – but weirdly, thanks to our culture’s obsession with nostalgia, a lot of these problems have been totally fixed.
Take 1990’s Total Recall, the story of how one man either saved Mars or tragically slipped into a coma, it’s hard to say which, exactly. In one scene, we see a fridgeful of Pepsi cans, and clearly they’re the 1980s-style labels. I mean, we can accept the memory implants, mutant space colonists and three-breasted women, but why would they have old Pepsi cans in the year 2084?!
While this may have been an anachronism 20 years ago, thanks to corporate America’s penchant for marketing the superficial aspects of our youth back to us at a premium, it’s no longer a problem. You can go into any supermarket today and buy Pepsi’s retro “throwback” cans that are pretty much the same as the old ones. So those Martian colonists may have just stocked up on exclusively nostalgia-baiting soda products.
And in Back to the Future II, in addition to the flying cars, they envisioned a 2015 in which Pizza Hut was using a logo more similar to their ‘80s and ‘90s design than what actually ended up existing that year –
But then in 2019, they brought back an updated version of the vintage logo. And even beyond corporate graphics, our culture has weirdly shifted in ways that make some details far less laughable. Like in A Clockwork Orange, which is set in a vaguely-defined near future, Alex the droog goes shopping for vinyl records.
This seemed hilarious in, like the 1990s, when CDs and cassettes were dominant – but in the year 2022, vinyl records are a booming business. And we used to hear a lot about the “Blade Runner curse” because so many advertisements in the film’s futuristic skyline were for soon-to-be-doomed companies.
But these days Atari is making a nostalgia-fueled comeback, and in 2020, just a year after Blade Runner is set, Pan Am relaunched as a luxury 747 service. No word on the whole “robot slave labor” thing, though.
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Top Image: Tri-Star Pictures/Warner Bros.