Films set in 2020: expectation vs reality

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In a bizarre quirk, it turns out that many movies are set in 2020. So how does each film's presentation match up with the reality we're currently experiencing? In order of release, here are seven films in which fantasy and reality go head to head.

1. Mission To Mars (2000)

Expectation of 2020 That manned missions to the Red Planet would be feasible

Reality of 2020 We're all having to negotiate confined spaces on terra firma

Brian De Palma's panned sci-fi drama stars Gary Sinise and Tim Robbins as astronauts who, you guessed it, set out for Mars on a 2020 space mission. Playing out to a spiritual and portentous Ennio Morricone score (listen out for those pipe organs), the movie aims for the stars with a philosophical conclusion that doesn't quite stick the landing.

Still, the movie's claustrophobic spaceship interiors have something to teach us about self-isolation, right?

2. Reign Of Fire (2002)

Expectation of 2020 That dragons would be flying through the air

Reality of 2020 We're all feeling grubby and growing beards

Before he was Batman, Christian Bale was battling dragons alongside Matthew McConaughey in this largely forgotten post-apocalyptic adventure. The movie is set in a devastated 2020 London where people have become very hairy, while somehow managing to retain their impressive abs and pecs. Oh, and every now and then, a firebreather emerges to cause some trouble.

While dragons have yet to emerge in the 2020 we know, it's clear that beards (or, at the very least, designer stubble) are a major conversation point in this era of self-isolation. Could yours become as impressive as Bale's?

3. Real Steel (2011)

Expectation of 2020 We'd be watching robot boxing matches

Reality of 2020 We're digging out our old Rock 'em Sock 'em robot toys from the attic to keep ourselves entertained

In-between his X-Men forays, Hugh Jackman made this likeable movie, set in 2020, about a man who tours wrestling rings with a robotic fighter. The movie is set in an alternate future where humans have been replaced with their robotic counterparts, and along the way, Jackman's character must learn to bond with his estranged son, who's come along for the ride.

Cut to reality: wrestling rings certainly do exist, but given the circumstances, they're empty at the moment, and distinctly devoid of awesome-looking robots. Time to break out those nostalgic kids' toys that have been gathering dust.

4. Pacific Rim (2013)

Expectation of 2020 Giant robots would be battling giant monsters

Reality of 2020 Cities are an altogether different kind of battleground

Guillermo del Toro's smash-em-up action movie is every 12-year-old's dream, pitting human-controlled robots against rampaging kaiju, which emerge from the bottom of the sea. Charlie Hunnam plays central character Raleigh Becket, and faces a completely different nemesis in the form of a consistent American accent, while Idris Elba rallies the troops with a speech that promises to "cancel the apocalypse".

Rather than being witness to a giant robot smashing a giant lizard over the head with an oil tanker, we're instead being presented with scenes of eerily quiet cities, from the USA to China. Might be time to fire up that Pacific Rim DVD to take our minds off things?

5. Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)

Expectation of 2020 That Emily Blunt would become a big-screen badass

Reality of 2020 Emily Blunt is a big-screen badass

In sci-fi/time travel/action movie Edge Of Tomorrow, Emily Blunt plays Sergeant Rita Vrataski. She's tasked with steering cowardly Colonel Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) through a mysterious time loop, in which his death at the hands of an invading alien force keeps repeating itself.

At the time of the film's release, it was a refreshing change to see Blunt in the driving seat of the action, her character often having to kill Cage in order to reset the clock. It turns out that the movie was way ahead of the curve, unleashing Blunt's tenacious, resourceful potential that would be repeated in the later, acclaimed likes of Sicario (2015), A Quiet Place (2018), and A Quiet Place: Part II (release date TBC).

6. A Quiet Place (2018)

Expectation of 2020 The world's population will be hunted by monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing

Reality of 2020 We're all having to be quiet, but for very different reasons

Silence is golden in John Krasinski's blockbusting horror flick. Didn't realise it was set in 2020? Well, there's a quick shot of a gravestone belonging to the Abbott family's ill-fated son Beau, who is killed by a rampaging monster at the beginning of the movie. The grave reveals that he lived from 2016 to 2020, which means, at the very least, the opening sequence of the movie is set during that time.

Given Emily Blunt's character Evelyn later becomes pregnant following Beau's death, that places the main bulk of the story eight to nine months after the boy tragically died. So, maybe the film is set between September and December 2020? Either way, we should all be grateful that we don't have deadly beasties like that to contend with in reality. (You can see the grave 2:11 into the clip below.)

That said, the film has a lot to teach us about the importance of being quiet. After all, we want to avoid annoying those who are self-isolating with us, short of being cut out of the tea round. And unlike the characters in the film, you might want to skip those Monopoly games just in case the competitiveness gets out of hand.

7. Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Expectation of 2020 We'd be battling machines with rocket launchers

Reality of 2020 We're using machines to get drunk and stay social

James Cameron's Terminator franchise lumbers on with its most recent instalment, which reunites Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton as the T-800 cyborg and mankind's saviour, Sarah Connor.

Despite Sarah's best efforts, the machines are still (somehow) gearing to take over in the movie's bleak depiction of 2020. They've even upgraded, and are able to split into two different entities to make life that bit harder.

And while 2020 itself is devoid of lifelike killer cyborgs (thankfully), we can now feel the influence of machines in our lives more than ever. After all, those virtual pub nights on Zoom are pretty much keeping us going at the moment. Let's hope the program doesn't become self-aware.

What other lessons have the movies taught us about 2020? Let us know @Cineworld.