The Top Tech Movies of the Decade

This is a discussion on The Top Tech Movies of the Decade within the TV & Movies forums, part of the The Pub category; Jose Fermoso October 01, 2009 The most memorable movies tap into the collective zeitgeist of the culture, to find compelling stories that help reflect ...

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    The Top Tech Movies of the Decade

    Jose Fermoso
    October 01, 2009

    The most memorable movies tap into the collective zeitgeist of the culture, to find compelling stories that help reflect it. As this decade comes to an end, two of its most important themes, the rise of the Internet (with the geek culture surrounding it) and terror, were both heavily reflected onscreen. One theme featured closed-minded ideologies, information silos, system teardown, and fear. The other was about ideas and possibilities, using logic towards usefulness, about hyper-connectedness and Moore’s Law-levels of system improvements.
    One could argue that the movies that successfully employed both of these themes were the most successful. The Dark Knight, for example, pulsated with a feeling of unstable anarchy while it also celebrated the power of technology to rein it in. The Lord of the Rings tempered its end-of-the-world theme with ideas that wouldn’t have been possible without the motion-capture technology that brought never-seen creatures like Gollum to life.
    The business of the movies was almost as important in developing a creative link to technology as the end-product onscreen. Studios supported and marketed many new technologies like IMAX, 3D projection, high screen resolution and immersive digital post-production. In the increasing battle to find ways to astound jaded moviegoers, the movies got better tech effects, even if they didn’t always serve the story or improved it (Transformers, anyone?). But tech culture and the movies always influenced each other.
    That symbiotic connection isn’t really new. Movie idea-men like Gene Roddenberry and his utopian gadget-filled Star Trek universe led the way to portable cell phones in real life. The creation of color film eventually made way for the Wizard of Oz. And the idea of a potentially dystopian robotic intelligence has been mined so many times by the movies that our robot overlords are probably tired of hearing about it and will kindly let us bring about our own demise, without their help, thank you very much. Though it’s good to note Terminator 2 indoctrinated people’s understanding of cloud systems way earlier than most people even knew what the hell they were talking about.
    Yes, technology in the movies is a vast and varied subject. This is why I’ve based my choices for the “Most Techy” based on the three main ways I think they influenced the decade. All the movies here contained at least one of the following attributes: Technology Achievements that improved cameras, projection, and digital renderings (like Beowulf), Cultural Breaks, which helped define the top tech-culture ideas, and DIY innovations that signaled a new acceptance of the techy build-your-own tool lifestyle.
    I think all the movies here are signposts in the first “digital decade.” If you still have suggestions for more movies, email me at or send a message through my twitter account or InsideTech’s. — Jose Fermoso (, InsideTech (

    1. The Lord of the Rings (2001-04)
    2. The Dark Knight (2008)
    3. Wall-E (2008)
    4. The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2002)
    5. Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)
    6. An Inconvenient Truth/11th Hour (06-07)
    7. Beowulf (2007)
    8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    9. Minority Report (2001)
    10. The Prestige (2006)
    11. The Lives of Others (2006)
    12. A.I. (2001)
    13. Children of Men (2006)
    14. The Incredibles (2004)
    15. Star Trek
    16. Primer (2004)
    17. Objectified (2009)
    18. Avatar (2009)
    19. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
    20. Freedom Downtime (2001)
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    Terrible list

    How does lord of the rings make the top of the pile when it fit only one of the sorting criteria? And I am not even sure that it fits that.

    There are maybe 6 movies on that list that are "techy" at all. A movie about 19th century prestidigitators, Lord of the Rings (oh yah that sword forging scene was so a metaphor for destroying the environment to make PDAs for everyone ;p), and Michael Moore does anyone really take anything that guy says seriously? Damn shame if so.
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