Anti-tech in Film/TV
*Descriptions from Google and IMDb
Anti-Tech ideas are ironically very prevalent in modern media, and therefore also in the public subconscious. Exploring tales of "man vs. machine" can reveal our true feelings about the technology that rules our lives, and the consequential dangers we face.
The Matrix (1999)
Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question -- What is the Matrix? Neo is contacted by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), a beautiful stranger who leads him into an underworld where he meets Morpheus. They fight a brutal battle for their lives against a cadre of viciously intelligent secret agents. It is a truth that could cost Neo something more precious than his life.
Why is this movie anti-tech? Read about it here.
Jurassic Park (1993)
A pragmatic paleontologist visiting an almost complete theme park is tasked with protecting a couple of kids after a power failure causes the park's cloned dinosaurs to run loose.
Quotes from the book by Michael Crichton:
"'I'll tell you the problem with engineers and scientists. Scientists have an elaborate line of bullshit about how they are seeking to know the truth about nature. Which is true, but that's not what drives them. Nobody is driven by abstractions like 'seeking truth.'
Scientists are actually preoccupied with accomplishment. So they are focused on whether they can do something. They never stop to ask if they should do something. They conveniently define such considerations as pointless. If they don't do it, someone else will. Discovery, they believe, is inevitable. So they just try to do it first. That's the game in science. Even pure scientific discovery is an aggressive, penetrative act. It takes big equipment, and it literally changes the world afterward. Particle accelerators scar the land, and leave radioactive byproducts. Astronauts leave trash on the moon. There is always some proof that scientists were there, making their discoveries. Discovery is always a rape of the natural world. Always.
The scientists want it that way. They have to stick their instruments in. They have to leave their mark. They can't just watch. They can't just appreciate. They can't just fit into the natural order. They have to make something unnatural happen. That is the scientist's job, and now we have whole societies that try to be scientific.' He sighed, and sank back." (p.318)
"Most kinds of power require a substantial sacrifice by whoever wants the power. There is an apprenticeship, a discipline lasting many years. Whatever kind of power you want. President of the company. Black belt in karate. Spiritual guru. Whatever it is you seek, you have to put in the time, the practice, the effort. You must give up a lot to get it. It has to be very important to you. And once you have attained it, it is your power. It can't be given away: it resides in you. It is literally the result of your discipline.
Now, what is interesting about this process is that, by the time someone has acquired the ability to kill with his bare hands, he has also matured to the point where he won't use it unwisely. So that kind of power has a built-in control. The discipline of getting the power changes you so that you won't abuse it.
But scientific power is like inherited wealth: attained without discipline. You read what others have done, and you take the next step. You can do it very young. You can make progress very fast. There is no discipline lasting many decades. There is no mastery: old scientists are ignored. There is no humility before nature. There is only a get-rich-quick, make-a-name-for-yourself-fast philosophy. Cheat, lie, falsify—it doesn't matter. Not to you, or to your colleagues. No one will criticize you. No one has any standards. They are all trying to do the same thing: to do something big, and do it fast.
And because you can stand on the shoulders of giants, you can accomplish something quickly. You don't even know exactly what you have done, but already you have reported it, patented it, and sold it. And the buyer will have even less discipline than you. The buyer simply purchases the power, like any commodity. The buyer doesn't even conceive that any discipline might be necessary." (p.343)
"[Now] science is the belief system that is hundreds of years old. And, like the medieval system before it, science is starting not to fit the world anymore. Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent. Largely through science, billions of us live in one small world, densely packed and intercommunicating. But science cannot help us decide what to do with that world, or how to live. Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it cannot tell us not to build it. Science can make pesticide, but cannot tell us not to use it. And our world starts to seem polluted in fundamental ways—air, and water, and land—because of ungovernable science." (p.350)
Manhunt: Unabomber (2017)
Dramatized Limited Series on Netflix
This miniseries tells the story of the FBI's hunt for the Unabomber in the 1990s. Agent Jim "Fitz" Fitzgerld, a fresh-faced criminal profiler with the agency, faces an uphill battle in tracking the infamous criminal but also has to fight against the bureaucracy of the Unabom Task Force (UTF), of which he is a part. Although Fitz pioneers the use of forensic linguistics, others in the UTF dismiss his maverick ideas and new approaches. Ultimately, though, his new techniques help him identify and capture the Unabomber.
The Terminator (1984)
Sent back from a dystopian 2029--where the cold machines have conquered the entire world--to 1984 Los Angeles, the indestructible cyborg-assassin known as the "Terminator" commences his deadly mission to kill humankind's most important woman: the unsuspecting Sarah Connor. However, from the same war-torn post-apocalyptic future comes a battle-scarred defender--Kyle Reese, a brave soldier of the human Resistance Army--bent on stopping the cybernetic killer from eliminating the world's last hope. But, the Terminator has no feelings, he doesn't sleep, and above all, he won't stop until he carries out his grim task. Does our future lie in our past?
"It was the machines... Defense network computer. New. Powerful. Hooked into everything. Trusted to run it all. They say it got smart...a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination.
Most of us were rounded up, put in camps for orderly disposal. Some of us were kept alive to work. Loading bodies. The disposal units ran night and day. We were that close to going out forever...
But there was one man who taught us to fight. To storm the wire of the camps. To smash those metal mother-fuckers into junk. He turned it around. He brought us back from the brink.
His name is Connor. John Connor. Your son, Sarah. Your unborn son."
Max Renn is the President of Channel 83 Civic-TV, a small television station on the UHF dial. He defends his programming of largely X-rated shows - which depict graphic sex and extreme violence - as a pure matter of economic survival as a small station. Behind closed doors in specific company, he would admit that he enjoys such programming, but as President will stay away from associated activities that may be dangerous for him in its purchase. His current girlfriend, radio personality Nicki Brand, who he met on a television talk show, is sexually aroused by light mutilation on her person, that despite or because her radio show is like an open air crisis hotline. On that same talk show, the other guest via video feed was Professor Brian O'Blivion - solely his stage name - who believes that television and video broadcasts will one day overtake the world as reality, which may make Max's programming in combination more dangerous. In Max's search for the next big thing in like programming already on Channel 83, Harlan, his pirater who scans satellite signals, illegally obtains a satellite feed of something called Videodrome, which depicts continual sexualized torture and murder with no storyline of which to speak. The background behind Videodrome is unknown, but believing it is that big thing for which he is looking, Max is determined to find the producers so that he can purchase it for his station. He is concerned for Nicki if she goes ahead against his warnings in wanting to appear on Videodrome, however it does not lessen his desire to purchase it. If Max in turn does not heed the warning of Masha, one of his long time show suppliers, based on what little she discovers about it, Max may discover that Videodrome is just the next but destructive step in O'Blivion's prognostication.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Smitten by a fiery and destructive curse after a deadly encounter with a boar-demon, the young prince, Ashitaka, sets off on a long and perilous voyage to the Western lands to discover why Mother Nature is in disarray. Eventually, Ashitaka will reach the Iron Town, where the ambitious Lady Eboshi who rules the land with an iron fist does battle with the fearless Princess Mononoke: a mysterious young woman who was raised by the wolf-god, Moro. Will Ashitaka manage to rescue the once-lush forests of the West, and lift the curse on his arm?
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron (2002)
Spirit, a Kiger mustang stallion (voiced by Matt Damon through inner dialogue) is captured during the American Indian Wars by the United States Cavalry; he is freed by a Native American man named Little Creek who attempts to lead him back into the Lakota village.
In one scene our protagonists actively sabotage a train that the US Cavalry are using to further encroach on Native American territory. Technology is a tool of injustice, and only through its destruction can nature and an environmentally-conscious human population survive.