Future past future

I am a big fan of what is commonly called “Retro-futurism”: Visions of the future from decades past. SciFi images from the 1920s through the early 1960s often contain a heady mix of optimism and wonder on the one hand, and dark dystopian warning on the other.

As I watch current science fiction movies — which have a common aesthetic thread running through them, with their stylized corporate interiors and magically floating interactive displays — I wonder whether I am seeing the Retro-futurism of tomorrow.

Like up-to-the-minute fashions from the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s, the now cutting edge look of current movies and TV shows might some day end up making them look charmingly old fashioned — and all in the same way.

One day, thirty years from now, middle aged people may be hard pressed to explain to teenagers why they once thought that “Iron Man” or “The X-Men” represented a vision of the future.

Most likely the kids won’t be listening anyway. They’ll be too busy rolling their eyes.

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