Since the 19th century, filmmakers have tried to create futuristic worlds – mostly cities – with elements limited only by imagination. Such cities are mostly depicted in science fiction movies.
A CNN story says sets are crucial to sci-fi movies.
“Regardless of how strong or weak the genre's storylines are, its sets are rarely less than memorable,” says the story.
But creating a world set in the far future is never easy.
“Imagining remotely plausible buildings of the future is, however, hard to do,” says the story.
For instance, if we look at the 19th-century illustrations depicting Paris, London, or New York, we see spiky caricatures of Victorian cities. We see trams, trains, and implausible flying machines, but no cars. In a similar vein, sci-fi films until the 1990s didn’t show cell phones. Even though such devices and vehicles were just round the corner, they didn’t feature in those futuristic movies.
Lang's production designers – Erich Kettelhut, Otto Hunte, and Kurt Vollbrecht – created the fictional city of Metropolis of the future based on contemporary Manhattan. But they depicted the city with buildings inspired by avant-garde European architects.
“For the most part, 1920s cinema audiences had seen nothing like Lang's future world. Yet the architecture it was based on had already been imagined. And this has been true of most science fiction films ever since,” according to the CNN story.
The future, whether in films or in architecture, is always elusive and challenging to predict.