The new year brings in another year of new movies. 2013 ended with many award winners, and 2014 opened with a bang. This week I saw Lone Survivor and Her. They are very contrasting movies, but I thoroughly enjoyed both.
Lone Survivor was a true story about a team of four marines who had a mission to kill a top Taliban target. The op was compromised, and resulted in the soldiers being attacked by a large number of Taliban. They fought bravely, but only one of the team survived. Yet there were more than three people that died; an entire rescue helicopter was shot down by an RPG. The movie was fast and action packed, filled with shooting, explosions, and blood. Yet what made the movie so powerful was that it was a true story. Everyone who died in the movie actually lost their lives. At the end of the film, there was a touching montage of all the soldiers who lost their lives. These were ordinary people that died protecting their country, and only one man made it out.
In a completely different genre, I also saw Her, a movie set in the high-tech future where a man falls in love with an Operating System. The OS has an artificial-intelligence personality, and is able to act and feel like a real person. They develop a relationship like anyone else, yet she does not have a body. This poses some interesting problems that the two of them have to work around.
Now I’m not the kind of person to cry in a movie, but this movie was very emotional. Though I did not shed any tears, some people around me were crying. It truly was very touching, filled with love and happiness that makes you feel all warm inside. But that’s not only why I enjoyed the movie: what I really loved was the technology.
The movie was set in a very advanced, yet strangely modern future. None of the technology was bizarre, unimaginable, or impossible. Everything pictured has already been invented, prototyped, or theorised. It had just been perfected and streamlined. There were no “phablets,” no giant cell phones, no wearable tech, and no gimmicks. People interacted with their electronics through speech recognition, which was perfectly receptive and interactive. Phones read through email, news, and make calls like a real personal assistant (And this is without the AI). People’s phones are small and pocketable, and only used to look at the occasional picture or webpage, or to take a picture. And they’re flip phones!
People’s personal computers are small, stand-alone devices, with no keyboard or mouse. They use speech recognition and motion tracking to interact with users. Video games are interactive, 3D, and fill the room with little projectors. They are also controlled by motion tracking, like the Xbox Kinect. Even non-technology, like architecture, clothing, and design have a futuristic style, but aren’t radically different from today.
The technology-filled future depicted in Her is very attainable, and I believe very similar to what will come. There were no flying cars, no Google Glasses, and no strange devices we have never heard of. It is all as simple and easy as possible.