By Frisco Rosso
Aside from providing an escape from the humdrum of modern life, Hollywood directors and screenwriters have enchanted our capitalist souls and further fuelled day-dreaming and hypothetical plot-hatching with fictional gadgets, most of which will never make the crossover from silver screen to reality.
Even in the most responsible hands these creations are more trouble than they’re worth, yet still we lust after superfluous goods we can never have and probably wouldn’t know what to do with. So without further ado, here’s a not insubstantial list of some of the best inventions to ponder with some helpful pro vs con debate – something to ponder between bong hits, or instead of reading the boss’s emails.
1. Hoverboard (Back to the Future)
Since this brilliant gizmo flickered onto movie screens 23 years ago, everyone from skateboarders to those suffering with vertigo and imbalance has waited patiently for Mattel to bring it to life.
Pros: The ability to effortlessly float around without the aid sensory stimulants and have a legitimate reason to wear a red down vest while doing so.
Cons: Useless on a rainy day. Glide over a largish puddle and you’re gonna end up stationary and looking like a hovering tit – even more so if you’re riding the pink effort from the movie.
2. Power loader (Aliens)
Move house easily and batter the living crap out of extra terrestrials with ease.
Pros: It’ll probably take six hours of laborious trekking to reach the lumber or construction yard in this mother, but seeing the jaws drop followed by a long line of coworkers begging to have a go will be worth it.
Cons: Stairs and swimming pools could prove fatal while the urge to pop antagonising coworkers’ heads with your hydraulic claws could at least result in a firing.
3. Cloaking Device/Invisibility Cloak (Predator/ Harry Potter)
Take on the guise of Griffin (assuming that’s possible) without the issues of permanent invisibility or bloodshed.
Pros: Swan around without being seen, eavesdrop and be privy to absolutely everything you’re not entitled to.
Cons: Like any fool drunk on invisible power, (in the case of the cloak) you’re bound to leave it lying around somewhere and spend the rest of your life searching for it. Also, avoid crossing highways.
4. Lightsaber (Star Wars)
Probably the most renowned movie invention in history. Nothing gets the fans quite as hot and sweaty under the collar as the chance to exert some Jedi elbow grease.
Pros: Ponce around all over the shop waving said baton about, quoting lines and grimacing in your sweat pants. Yes!
Cons: One false move and you may accidently slice your Dungeons and Dragons mates in two, resulting in a spike of closed-coffin nerd funerals across the globe. Vwing!
5. Neuralyzer (Men In Black)
Having the ability to erase the memories of whoever you choose by pointing a metallic cigar at them has infinite possibilities.
Pros: Talk shit and insult your way through life without ever running the risk of getting violently knocked unconscious or reducing anyone to tears.
Cons: Point it in the wrong direction without your Ray Bans on and the result is an instant self-lobotomy.
6. Iron Man suit (Iron Man)
Regardless of which mark you go for you’re bound to be in for a treat. Strap yourself in and watch everybody stand back in awe… or roll their eyes.
Pros: Fly anywhere for cheap, save the world, smack traffic cops around and generally have a ball.
Cons: You need a PhD to operate and maintain the damn thing and chances are you ain’t gonna seem quite as heroic as Robert Downey Jr when you step out either.
7. Hypertime (Clockstoppers)
Being given a wrist watch that speeds up the actions of the wearer to the point the world appears to be static has endless possibilities for goodness and mischief.
Pros: Do anything and everything before everyone else realises it’s even happened. Everything from solving world hunger to emptying bank vaults can be achieved in less than the blink of an eye.
Cons: Lose or break it and you’re up infinity creek minus the paddle.
8. Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me)
It might look a little dated these days but it’s still a playboy’s fantasy (the car that is), and the aspiring wish of anyone wanting to drive through Monaco without looking pointless and insignificant. Also, having the ability to take the car for a spin followed by a deep-sea dive is certainly appealing.
Pros: This little doozy is packed with enough violent nonsense to keep anyone entertained for months. Some of the Esprit’s wonderful features include the ability to convert from land to submarine use, machine guns disguised as headlights, surface to air missiles and a cigarette lighter. Boss.
Cons: Has the potential for turning a trip to the beach into an international incident. Also, it’s bound to be bought by that cretin down the road who adds spoilers and neon undercar lights to vehicles – not that he’s going to be laughed at with machine gun headlights.
9. Kaneda’s Bike (Akira)
Light up the streets with this two-wheeled engine of fury and blaze across town in style collecting speeding tickets like so many downed Clowns.
Pros: Look the shit and show the flatulent middle-class Harley riders that they have the coolness, prowess, hotness of a moldy Croc – no hard task, to be fair, considering even pedestrians can achieve it.
Cons: It’s bound to get nicked.
10. Telepods (The Fly)
Never again pay extortionate freight fees to those bastard removal companies who couldn’t give a monkey’s toss if your stuff arrives intact or sinks when the cargo ship captain fancies a few rum and cokes.
Pros: Excellent for moving inanimate objects – you’d have the fastest, cheapest and most reliable furniture moving business in the world with the scope to charge a fortune.
Cons: Volunteer yourself for teleportation and you’ll end up horribly mutated and will ultimately die a long agonising death, much like a stowaway on a dodgy movers’ van. There’s also the risk of popping out muttering incessantly like Jeff Goldblum.
11. DeLorean Time Machine (Back to the Future)
Floor it to 88mph leaving a trail of flames and spinning number plates behind you – reason enough to want one. Go back in time and find out what really went down or hit the future and find out which care home the offspring have planned for you.
Pros: Flit through history, changing the course, taking notes etc or rip off the future by returning home with design and technology patents, music back catalogues and whatever else your unscrupulous mind can think of to pass off as your own.
Cons: Tough to get going in a built-up area, not to mention the damn thing’s always breaking down. Also, without conducting historical research you’re either going to go back in time and end up on the rough side of town or land in the slurry pit that the real estate agents will only carefully pave over in several decades’ time.
12. Point Of View Gun (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
The genius that comes up with this idea may as well invite the Four Horsemen round for beer and chicken wings as it would genuinely be the end of the world as we know it.
Pros: Win the argument every time, elicit sympathy and generally be a manipulative, self-righteous bastard while commanding the population of the world to do your bidding.
Cons: The ability for some head case to walk into a crowded supermarket and recruit a cult/ army of minions in the space of 20 minutes. Some would argue that, due to the support garnered by some of the world’s most psychotic and backwards heads of state, there is sufficient evidence to suggest the Point of View Gun already exists.
13. Cell Phone Sonar (The Dark Knight)
Not unlike most phone apps these days, this intrusive gadget allows the user to track and spy on pretty much everyone carrying a mobile phone.
Pros: Indulge your voyeuristic side and be the envy of gossip groups, sewing circles and British tabloids.
Cons: You need a room full of monitors a la Sliver to use this and if anyone finds out you have it, your name will be placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.
14. Force field (Fantastic Four)
Stroll into the most volatile situations and environments safe in the knowledge that nothing can harm you. World domination is a dead cert, given time.
Pros: Flip the bird at whoever the hell you want to then relax and watch them go completely apeshit without any worries whatsoever.
Cons: If it malfunctions and you need to take a leak, you’ll soon be up to your ankles in last night’s prune juice. In addition, if said force field is of the electromagnetic variety you’re going to suffer a dire case of fried noodle when it starts raining, so keep a hard hat handy.
15. Tractor beam (Star Trek)
The art of barely lifting a finger to retrieve objects of every variety is likely to result in enormous satisfaction and fast-track obesity.
Pros: Fetch beer from fridge without disturbing fat ass, attach to front of car to reel in that inconsiderate bastard that cut you up and flipped you the bird in traffic. A reverse function would also be fantastic to enable you to catapult pricks towards the horizon in a split second.
Cons: Carelessness could result in large buildings being pulled down and brain damage from hurtling debris.
16. Replicant (Blade Runner)
A bodyguard, servant, assassin and whatever else you need all rolled into one. Nothing screams dissolute greatness like having your own motorised minion.
Pros: Leave all the mundane work to your dutiful replicant while concerning yourself with whatever’s on the telly, annihilate the opposition in bar fights and prove to the world that you have at least one friend.
Cons: They have the tendency to become highly unstable which could result in chipped crockery, a defiant attitude and possibly a killing spree.
17. Chainsaw hand (Evil Dead II)
Speak softly and carry a big chainsaw. Dance floor gropers and those inhabited by a demon from hell have at least one thing in common, namely the disposition of a possessed hand. While the former are more likely to carry demons of a different kind altogether, those forced to lop off a hand because it offends them can replace it with Ash’s pride and joy.
Pros: Bring heated debates to an abrupt conclusion by firing up the powered glove and be the first to throw a stump in the air when someone needs their turkey carved. Groovy.
Cons: None thus far.
18. Air guitar riff with sound (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)
Sure, this isn’t an invention, rather the symbolic act of a tight, airheaded friendship such that no one other than themselves can actually hear anything, but the ability to pull off a slick riff through air guitar would be pretty sweet.
Pros: Every time it’s all going your way celebrate in epic fashion. Excellent.
Cons: After the novelty wears off, you’re eventually going to start getting requests and featuring at Republican fundraisers.
With more tension than your mother’s suspension, I am Frisco Rosso. I’m likely to deliver a few lines worth at any given moment regarding film, music, sport, books and anything morally unsound that strikes a blow between the eyes in the name of entertainment.