Films that feature vehicles are almost always popular. According to MotorTrend, some of the best car films of all time are classics like Back to the Future (because who could forget the DeLorean?), Roadhouse, Furious 7, and Gone in 60 Seconds.
But everyone probably has their own personal favorites when it comes to movies that either feature classic cars, futuristic vehicles, or even sci-fi droids, or drones.
Sometimes, a vehicle on the big screen can feel like another crucial character in the film itself, which is one of the reasons why people tend to get so invested in movies surrounding cars and other forms of transportation. You start to become attached to whatever vehicle is being featured — and there are plenty of good reasons for that!
So, let’s take a look at some of the most notable ways vehicles are depicted on film, whether they’re realistic or futuristic.
Classic Cars & Classic Films
Some of the most beloved films about vehicles feature classic cars. One shining example is the Volkswagen Beetle, which has been a staple in pop culture since its introduction in 1938. The original name for the car was just ‘Volkswagen,’ literally translating to “the people’s car.” The car’s unique shape, size, and overall look eventually caused people to give it the “Beetle” nickname, which has stuck to this day. It really seems like a car with a personality, which makes perfect sense for its use in the 1969 Disney film Herbie the Love Bug, about a Beetle-turned-racecar with a mind (and personality!) of its own.
One of the reasons classic cars (and even “normal” cars you’d find on the road today) are so popular in movies is that they’re easy to relate to. How many times have you gone on a road trip in a car like the ‘Griswold Family Truckster’ from National Lampoon’s Vacation? Or, how many times in your life have you had to drive a “clunker” like the Mercury Marquis Broughman in Uncle Buck?
Having classic cars in movies not only helps to make them more realistic but more appealing to audiences, whether they’re used for comedy purposes, or just to add a dash of reality to the magic of movies. But, cars, trucks, and RVs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to vehicles on film.
These Are the Droids You’re Looking For
Some might not consider droids to be a vehicle, but they are really an “unmanned” force, probably most commonly know from the Star Wars universe in movies like The Empire Strikes Back and even the 1985 cartoon film, Droids.
In sci-fi films, droids are often robots or vehicles that use some form of artificial intelligence to serve a purpose without having to be controlled by an individual at any given time. While it’s fun to fantasize about droids in movies, different versions may actually be on the horizon for the real world.
We already use robot helpers for many different things in everyday life, including automation. However, comparing the robots we use today to the droids featured in sci-fi movies might sometimes feel like a stretch.
But is it really?
We can look at the example of Marsbees to see how droids could impact our everyday life. Yes, Marsbees. Bees that can travel to Mars. Researchers have been developing these robotic bees to be sent into space to collect valuable data, including the potential of any life forms on The Red Planet.
Marsbees might sound like something out of the Star Wars universe, and we may never get the likes of C3P0 or R2-D2 here on earth, but as technology continues to advance, the use of droids might go beyond the silver screen and more into reality.
Will Movies Mirror Reality?
When you think about the future of vehicles, what comes to mind — even if you were to let your fantasies fly? You might think of things like:
Fully self-driving cars
Vehicles that can operate by voice alone
Faster transportation options (like Elon Musk’s Hyperloop)
These things can be regularly seen in sci-fi movies, but again, with technology constantly improving, there are plenty of realistic changes occurring with everyday vehicles, too. The reality of self-driving cars in movies could be here sooner than we think, and it will feel less like a fantasy (like in 2004’s iRobot) and more like the classic car films we talked about earlier.
Already, autonomous vehicles and even electric vehicles are showing up in documentary films like Who Killed the Electric Car, because they’re becoming more of a way of life for people, rather than a futuristic fantasy. Today, people can even receive alternative motor vehicle tax credits for driving electric or more energy-efficient cars, which may lead more consumers to make the switch to greener, smarter, more tech-forward vehicles. As a result, we’re bound to see more of them in movies as the years go by.
Because people can both relate to vehicles and fantasize about what they could do with the right technology, it’s likely that movies focusing on transportation will continue to soar in popularity for many years to come. The sky is truly the limit for these movies, even as they reflect reality.
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