Top Technophobe Films of All Time

Top Technophobe Films

Before The Matrix Trilogy and before The Terminator there were other cinematic explorations of technology wreaking havoc on poor, unsuspecting humans.
Technological innovations make life better and easier, right? Not for the characters in these films. Technology has run amok, and human kind needs to be saved.

If you haven’t seen any of these examples of technology run amok on celluloid, then you are truly missing out.

Next time you’re in the mood to rent a flick, find one or a couple of these films, turn off your computer and enjoy!

Warning: this article does contain some spoilers, if you have never seen the movies.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time: 1960s

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) directed by Stanley Kubrick.

When your life is in the hands of a computer, and that computer screws up, what do you do then? Chances are you’ve already seen this classic.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time: 1970s

Logan’s Run (1976) directed by Michael Anderson.

Logan’s Run is more than just a pretty face. Young, fit attractive people seem to be living a hedonistic lifestyle in one big enclosed mall.

Farrah Fawcett does have a bit role in this sci-fi film in which anyone beyond the age of 30 is killed off in order to control the population. Everyone has a crystal embedded in their hand that changes color as they age. When the crystal turns black your life is over. Technophobes will appreciate this movie because what started out as a technological innovation to control the population became unnecessary, yet the majority of the population simply accepted their fate without question. (A precursor to The Matrix?)

Michael Anderson also directed Millennium (1989), a time travel movie with Cheryl Ladd and Kris Kristsofferson.

Westworld (1973) directed by Micheal Chrichton.

Visiting Westworld for vacation sounds like such a good idea. Guests get to visit an Old Western town, complete with robots programmed to entertain. Yul Brenner is a robot cowboy, how cool is that? Westworld is a nice place to visit….until something of course goes awry.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time: 1980s

Looker (1981)

In Looker, TV models are sent to a plastic surgeon to correct minor imperfections. Even then they aren’t “perfect” enough and are slowly killed off and replaced with digital images.

Anyone considering plastic surgery or is seeking “perfection” through technology would do well to see this film. While it seemed more like a warning when it was made, it appears society took it the other way, seeing it as a blueprint for making the world around them a prettier place. When every image is photoshopped and animated women become the ideal body type, Houston we have a problem.

Looker was written and directed by the king of technophobe and medical advancement movies: Michael Chricton. Michael Chricton is also responsible for The Andromeda Strain, Coma, and the Jurassic Park movies.

BladeRunner (1982) directed by Ridley Scott.

Much has been written about the slow and dark BladeRunner. It was one of the first films to examine genetic engineering, and it does star Harrison Ford, so there are some pluses.

Videodrome (1983) directed by David Cronenberg.

Videodrome is a nightmare which blurs reality and fantasy when a Cable TV operator, played by James Woods, searches for new programming for his station. Videodrome will mess with your mind, and may even have you turning off the TV for a while.

Brainstorm (1983) directed by Douglas Trumbull.

Would you want your memories and experiences “recorded” and shared with others? That is exactly what happens in Brainstorm. As always seems to happen in these cautionary tales about technology, the technology ends up in the wrong hands, or is used for monetary or power gains. Brainstorm is a thinker, and it stars Christopher Walken amp; Natalie Wood.

War Games (1983)

Of all the movies to instill a sense of technophobia among the general population, no movie did it better than War Games. War Games was also fair warning to the dangers of hacking and video game overload.

War Games is also the most technologically dated movie, probably because it is set in a real time and place, not a sic-fi setting like some of the other films.

What is comical about War Games is how much it dates itself. At one point in the movie the character played by Matthew Broderick uses a found soda can tab to make a call on a pay phone. Some people may have no idea what that sentence means. Soda cans used to have a removable tab, with a paisley shape on the end of a ring. A pay phone is what people used before everyone had a cell phone.

War Games was also a cultural predictor of the obsessive qualities of video gaming, and the need to continue to seek harder, faster, better, more challenging games, even if it ultimately means the destruction of the world.

War Games came out at a time when school-aged children actually lived with the fear that “the Russians” would nuke us any. Made-for-TV movies like The Day After (1983) only solidified this fear and deepened nuclear paranoia.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time: 1990s

Johnny Mnemonic (1995) directed by Robert Longo.

Johnny Mnemonic is not the best technophobe film out there. It is worth watching, however, to see Keanu Reeves unknowingly prepare for his greatest role ever: Neo.

Hackers (1995) directed by Iain Softley.

Hackers deserves mention because it is a cool film. It is also a warning about greed, the dangers of hacking and getting caught, and how much of our lives have been digitalized.

The Net (1995) directed by Irwin Winkler.

The Net tells the story of a telecommuter who is also a hermit, gets caught up in plot, and lets her naivete about the real world get her into some seriously dangerously situations. Some people like this movie simply because Dennis Miller dies.

Gattaca (1997) directed by Andrew Niccol.

Gattaca is one of those movies that plays lightly but has a slow and effective mind burn. On first viewing, Gattaca seems to quiet and subtle. Days, weeks, and even months alter, moments from teh film will resonate. Gattaca explores the ethics and consequences of genetic engineering. It also delves into the societal fissures created by genetic engineering, and the perception of which genes are “superior” or inferior.

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