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    • CommentAuthorkozmund
    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2009 edited
    This thought crystallized when I was reading Shivering Sands today. There's a bit where Mr. Ellis is talking about Global Frequency and how the super cool phones in the comic were basically what was in his satchel by the time they were producing the TV series, so they had to go bug some futurist planner at Nokia to figure out what wouldn't make the series look silly and obsolete by the time it aired.

    You're watching a movie set in the present. In fact, in The Future, it's still supposed to be set in The Present (everything having been shot in The Past, after all.) There's an exterior shot with cars parked up and down the street. Not something like The Godfather, stage managed to be all full of vintage Fiats and old Continentals, they're just the cars that were handy when they were shooting.

    If the movie was shot more than 10-15 years ago, even people entirely apathetic to cars will pick up that this is The Past. The unfamiliar blend of pastels or colors that are out of style. Just like something shot at this very moment will look strangely bleak compared to a parking lot of The Future, an over abundance of metallic gray and non-aerodynamic boxiness. Give a car nerd a couple stills, and they may well be able to nail the production date within 6 months.

    Phones are moving much, much more quickly than cars ever were. I was watching Primer a couple of days ago and was shocked to see the sort of mobile phone one of the professional engineer characters managed to birth out of his front pocket. Open face, tiny little LCD display, big, black and bulky. Primer came out in 2004, though I'm guessing it was likely shot in 2002. Now, this isn't a "Hah, look at how big phones were back then" kind of thing. It's that I don't know a single engineer or tech nerd in general that doesn't have some kind of crazy future-phone, so it was actually a brief disruption in the viewing experience. I dare say, it was more jarring than a building exterior shot cluttered with Bugs and wood paneling, it's actually a character thing. A profession and class indicator.

    In the Bond movies, they tend to delay this effect by giving James a model of car that won't be on the market for 18 months, and that most movie goers will not actually see in their entirely lifetimes, excepting the occasional museum visit. Now I want to go back through the last few movies and look at the phones.

    Hell, even the phone they used in The Matrix is getting a little snaggle-toothed...

    This is likely an entirely useless set of observations, since you can tell roughly when The Conversation was shot just from the facial hair.

    (Erm, edited to add, one possible solution is that if you have a hip nerd character, just have them use one of these:) Rotary Bluetooth
  1.  (7203.2)
    Another way phones are the new cars:

    I just got an iPhone and my penis is already looking bigger and I think some of my thinning hair is regrowing.
  2.  (7203.3)
    But if you add stripes to a phone does it make it FASTER?
    • CommentAuthorSBarrett
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2010
    No, but making it red does.