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Wish you weren’t here: War for the Planet of the Apes and other visions of the future that are a bit bananas


It’s hard to predict what our world will look like in years to come, but it hasn’t stopped filmmakers channelling their inner Nostradamus to have a guess.

Some foretell of advanced life with nifty technology (think the hover-boards and self-tying trainers we all want from Back to the Future Part 2) while others focus on more outlandish omens.

War for the Planet of Apes, which is due to hit Cineworld this summer, details how an uprising of intelligent apes ultimately leads to humanity becoming enslaved. The concept of an earth ruled by primates might seem far-fetched but it’s a classic in film dystopia. So, what other films use their crystal ball to give us some iconic but bizarre visions of the future?

The Matrix

One day you’re just living life, the next you realise it’s a simulation hiding the shocking truth behind humanity's future. Or at least this is the way the Matrix tells it.

Unlike the game The Sims, this programmed world isn’t about interior decorating and making people eat on time. In this sinister prediction, computers have evolved beyond humans, enslaving them to harvest their energy. The truth, however, is hidden as people are imprisoned within a re-creation of 1999.

It's not all bad, though" once you choose to take the red pill and break from this world, you can learn to manipulate it. However, dark-suited men with similar powers will try to stop you. It's a mind-blowing to think our reality might be a simulation of some advanced race, but its popularity as an idea has been growing. Just keep looking out for the glitches.

The Terminator

It’s said that the past can come back to haunt you but in James Cameron’s The Terminator the future can too.

It’s that old chestnut: a military computer (in this instance, Skynet) becoming self-aware. As the government scrambles for the off switch, it retaliates with all-out nuclear war. To hunt and destroy any remaining life the machines develop cybernetic soldiers; meanwhile a trusty band of survivors, led by John Connor, start to fight back.

In James Cameron's original 1984 movie cyborg hulk and executioner Arnold Schwarzenegger is sent back in time by Skynet to eliminate the threat, attempting to kill Sarah Connor, Johns Mother. No time for much detective work in finding her though, as he simply looks up every ‘Connor, S’ in the phone book.

It’s an idea replicated in Cameron's blockbusting 1991 sequel in the form of liquid metal shapeshifter, the T1000. So next time you reach for your phone, maybe treat Siri with some respect, just in case it became sentient in your pocket. The nightmarish vision of a future controlled by cyborgs was extended throughout the sequels in 2003, 2009 and 2015.

Logan's Run

This futuristic society thinks the kids are alright.

At first, the colourful and modern cityscape of the 23rd century might seem like a paradise. A computer runs the city, sweating the small stuff as humans are allowed to lead a relaxed and fun life. All citizens have a ‘life clock’ represented by a coloured jewel on their palms.

There aren't any blue rinse or knitted jumpers here, though, because the population is entirely young. When people reach 30 years old they must take part in a ceremony called the ‘carousel’ where they are ‘renewed’ and made young again.

Some try to escape the ceremony due to a belief in a ‘sanctuary' where they can live the rest of their days but they are hunted by police known as ‘sandmen’.

The Hunger Games

This future involves televised competitions with deadly consequences. The country at the heart of the action, Panem, is split into 12 districts. Whilst its capital city is drenched with wealth its counterparts are beset by abject poverty and starvation.

Every year each separate district selects a child to take part a competition called The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are not a quick go at ‘Hungry Hungry Hippos’ though, it’s much more violent. Participants fight for survival in a battle to the death, all shown on television. Reality TV at its most deadly but still more exciting than ‘the Apprentice’.

Each contestant has a mentor and can learn specific skills to help them in their quest including camouflage and using various weapons. To the sole victor come the spoils; celebrity and most important of all, life.

Soylent Green

The old adage goes ‘you are what you eat’ but this film might have taken that a little too far.

Charlton Heston, no stranger to a post-apocalyptic film or two, lives in a world that is being ravaged by over-population and climate change. There isn’t much technology here as the sheer number of people in the world means most are homeless. Food is getting rarer and most live off rations of stuff called Soylent Green, made from yummy sea Plankton.

While investigating a murder however it’s uncovered that the source of the food might be a bit more shocking. Unexpected recipes aside, the film is a comment on how we should all look after the world's resources that we currently have.

So what about War for the Planet of the Apes? Following on from the events of 2014's Dawn, we now get to witness super-intelligent Simian Caesar (Andy Serkis) lead the ultimate battle against humanity, here embodied by the ruthless Colonel (Woody Harrelson). 

With the movie out on 14th July 2017, check out the trailer below and send us your favourite nightmarish futures @Cineworld.

Tom Nightingale is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.