I just watched the 1956 movie "Forbidden Planet" for the 11th time. I think this is the first time that I noticed it's predictions of the dates of accomplishments were in the opposite direction of most Science Fiction movie predictions that I've seen.

Most predictions are off by being optimistic. That is, by predicting events much sooner than they happen in real life. I do this also. I'm usually too optimistic in predicting when mankind will accomplish new things in science and technology.

However, in "Forbidden Planet", they say men went to the moon in 2090, 121 years after we did it. Only 13 years after the movie was released.

They say we explored the rest of the Solar System by 2200, which sounds about 130 years after we will probably do it.

The final two predictions is that we achieved Hyperdrive (traveling at the speed of light) in 2210, and later greatly surpassed it.

I don't know how accurate those two predictions will be. I think we will approach the speed of light sooner than they predicted, but we may never surpass it.

What's your opinion on this movie's predictions, and/or others?

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This is an interesting idea, Spud. I don't like to watch movies so I have nothing to contribute. However, I will anyway!

The comic character, Dick Tracy had  2-Way Wrist Radio on January 13, 1946.

Garyn G. Roberts, Dick Tracy and American Culture: Morality and Mythology, Text and Context (McFarland, 2003), p38

smartwatch is a computerized wristwatch with functionality that goes beyond timekeeping. While early models can perform basic tasks, such as calculationstranslations, and game-playing, 2010s smartwatches are effectively wearable computers.


That is a 60+ year span between fantasy and fact. 

I wasn't a big fan of Dick Tracy, but I do remember the 2-Way Wrist Radio, and wishing I had one.  I had the desire to own every new piece of technology that I saw, real or made-up.

Chester Gould, the creator of Dick Tracy, also predicted the wrist-TV.

As it comes to science-fiction predictions, two that they missed I still think are enormous: personal computing, and along with it, the internet.  There were two who came close: Robert Heinlein in his novel, Friday, and Robert Theobald's Teg's 1994.  The overall impact those two developments have had on our society cannot be overestimated, especially for their potential capacity to revolutionize THIS planet.

Hyperdrive and interstellar travel may come one day, though the scientific challenges represented there are considerable and daunting.  There's plenty to explore yet in Homo sapiens.

Funny you should mention Theobald, Loren. He was a fascinating guy. I met him a couple of times through a college bud who collaborated with him on a few things. I loved his concept of sapiential authority as opposed to structural authority. (It didn't pan out so well, except perhaps in the tech world. Structural authority has definitely won out everywhere else.) I also loved his claim that the President of the U.S. is the least capable person in the country of effecting positive change.

Robert Theobald, the author of Teg's 1994, was one of my instructors when I was in graduate school. He taught us how to think in terms of the 3Ps: Probabilities, Possibilities, and Preferabilities. His focus on economics and thinking in the future tense made a big impact on me. We did an exercise in one of his colloquies in which we looked at the themes of our US histories by decades and then projected into the future what we preferred our themes would be. 

1940s WW II and rebuilding Europe and Japan

1950s rising middle class, McCarthyism, Cold War

1960s counter-culture, LBJ War on Poverty  

1970s Watergate, political corruption 

Loren, I've not read those two books.  I read the gist of them yesterday, but didn't see the near predictions.  What were they?  BTW, "Friday" sounds interesting.  I may read it.

Do you think this counts as a prediction of the internet:  Mark Twain Predicts the Internet in 1898:


As a kid I was absolutely hooked on all the cheesy scifi films of the 50s. I've always thought Forbidden Planet was by far the most profound one of them all. What struck me was mainly the Freudian and Jungian elements of the plot, in particular the Id wreaking havoc and functioning much as Jung's notion of the shadow.
There's a fabulous book by Bill Warren titled Keep Watching the Skies. He reviews virtually every scifi film made between 1950 and 1962, and his comments are always right on. Of  Forbidden Planet he says:

. . . it resonates like a struck gong with strong ideas and themes. The more you look, the more you find -- and unlike many similar movies, the ideas are really there. The critics do not impose these on a hapless little entertainment film.
Far from being juvenile, in every important way Forbidden Planet is one of the most mature and sophisticated science fiction films ever made. It is the best SF film of the 1950s, and if the execution of it, in terms of acting, drama and direction, was up to the conception and technical aspects, it would probably be the best SF film ever.

I was a big lover of old 50s science-fiction movies, and while I have a lot of respect for Forbidden Planet, the one which tops my list has to be The Day the Earth Stood Still.  I first saw it on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies, probably in the early 60s, and I continue to be impressed with it to this day.

Even with that, I found that Klaatu's proposed solution irked me in a fashion I couldn't fully grasp for a while.  Finally, I DID understand why it bothered me, which motivated me to write An Answer to Klaatu.

I loved Sci-Fi movies as a kid also.  Forbidden Planet was my favorite for a long time.


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