As a company made up of designers, coders and digital gurus, you won’t be surprised to hear that we show up quite strongly on the geek spectrum. We regularly find ourselves discussing the latest movies, games and TV when we think Brant’s not listening in. And when he is, he simply adds to the conversation!
As we discuss the weekend’s latest trailers, TV and turns of events, we often find ourselves pondering the best bits of kit from the movies, which isn’t surprising really considering how tuned for technology we are here at Fort Ecce. So here’s a list of our favourite movie machines and why.
The Millennium Falcon
A little while ago, when the first teaser trailer for Star Wars VII: The Search for the next Billion, was announced, there was a lot of Twitter chat about the new lightsabre design, who the characters were, all that stuff. But the bit that got everyone on their feet and rooting for the next thrilling instalment was the final shot, featuring the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon.
One of the most endearing things about the Falcon, is that it rarely works. It is constantly being fixed by a mechanic, best described by a certain princess as a ‘walking carpet’. The odds of this working out well must be slim, but as we all know, Captain Solo doesn’t like being told the odds anyway.
It’s also been highly modified. Solo added a customised twin hyperdrive system, unscannable cargo holds for smuggling runs, and upgrades to the shielding, all of which only contribute to the Falcon’s likeability, and its unpredictable nature.
The HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey shows that A:I was being considered a threat in the mind of Arthur C. Clarke years before Stephen Hawking got in on the act. The Heuristically-programmed Algorithmic computer is the sentient system at the controls of the Discovery One spacecraft, and takes a dim view on anyone looking to press control-alt-delete on his shift.
Often imitated, HAL is listed as the 13th greatest movie villain of all time by the American Film Institute. He is certainly unlucky for some, especially if you’re called Dave.
If you’re not sure about that and have an iPhone, ask Siri to open the pod bay door. We dare you.
You might not be familiar with the name, but if you’ve seen the Iron Man films, then you will know of Tony Stark’s robotic helpers in his workshop. Dum-E was one of his first inventions, and is heavily based on where we currently are with robotic technologies - which is obviously old tech for Tony.
Although not as impressive as the Iron Man suit itself, Dum-E helped develop the Mark II and III suits, and saved Stark’s life when he needed him. And at the end of Iron Man III, the robot Tony saves from the ruins of his Malibu house is the one and only Dum-E.
Another name you may not be familiar with, but given to one of the most iconic movie cars of all time - James Bond’s submersible Lotus Esprit S1. Nicknamed in reference to ‘Little Nellie’, the autogyro from You Only Live Twice, it was Roger Moore’s first Bond car, despite it being his third picture, so it had to be something special.
Equipped with rockets, torpedoes, a periscope and oil and cement sprays, it gives the DB5 a real run for its money, and that classic is firmly restricted to terra firma.
When shooting started, the Esprit was so new that the stunt drivers found the car unfamiliar and difficult to work with. When producer Cubby Broccoli complained to Lotus, their head engineer Roger Becker calmly asked what was required and put the car through its paces. Broccoli and the crew were so impressed by his driving skills, they had forgotten to start the camera rolling and promptly asked if he could repeat the performance. He did, and consequently took over driving detail for the rest of the film.
Cyberdyne Systems T-800 Model 101
With A:I becoming firmly established in today’s world, maybe we’re not too far away from the next step, the cyborg. And undoubtedly the most famous version is the Terminator, as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1984 film and subsequent sequels.
As the programmable assassin that can’t be reasoned or bargained with, that doesn’t feel pity, remorse or fear, the Terminator represents everything we slightly dread about machines. It’s their impersonal nature, well, personified! And given that it will never, never stop, we can only hope the battery life of smart devices is significantly improved upon in the future.
The Delorean DMC-12 Time Machine
Chosen because it had some style, and because it’s stainless steel construction somehow helps the flux dispersal and allows smoother travel through the space-time continuum, the Delorean DMC-12 Doc Brown turns into a time machine is undoubtedly one of the greatest machines of the movies.
Again, one of its most appealing aspects is that it doesn’t always work, and it appears at least in part to be made up of spare kitchen appliances and laboratory equipment, adding to its charm.
Not all robots in the future will want to kill us. At least one will be cleaning up after us, even long after we’re gone. Pixar’s lovable Wall-E is a robot caretaker and garbage disposal compactor robot that is completely unphased by his solitary existence, cleaning a polluted and rubbish-strewn planet with only a cockroach for company.
Never lacking in pluck, Wall-E repairs himself, replaces worn parts and watches old musicals, never giving up and never giving in to the reality that his cause is hopeless and maybe even pointless. Ultimately, he saves not only the planet, but also the human race, from a villainous ship’s computer clearly based on the already mentioned HAL 9000.
One of the greatest things about the new batmobile in Batman Begins, is that the car actually had purpose. There were no flashing lights, pointless decals or ridiculous fins. It was the embodiment of practicality compared to previous versions. Designed to tow a bridge over jumpable gaps, even the jet engine at the back suddenly made sense.
We still wouldn’t say no to the Lamborghini Murcielago roadster Bruce Wayne drives everyday either.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Probably the greatest tablet and smart device ever known, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is also, at least in it’s own universe, the best selling book in the world. Containing practical information on the galaxy’s inhabitants, social etiquette, notable history and highlights, no traveller should leave home without it.
And being probably the first ever example of a tablet, we can’t fail to mention it here either!
Gipsy Danger is a jaeger, (from the German word for hunter), a giant robot controlled by two pilots and used in the fight against colossal dimensional monsters known as the Kaiju in the film Pacific Rim.
As with a lot of the machines we connect with on screen and mentioned in this list, it isn’t their strengths that appeal to us, but their weaknesses. Gipsy is an old machine compared to the newer versions that replace her, but her analogue, nuclear power source comes to the forefront when the Kaiju develop an EMP weapon that makes the newer jaegers obsolete. It’s because Gipsy is a bit broken and busted to begin with that we feel closer to it, even though it’s just a machine in the end.