The metaverse may have caught the popular imagination of the broader public only recently, but if you haven’t noticed, it has existed in movies and TV shows for a long time. The metaverse is nothing but a digital reality that has been put together through a combination of technologies.
Without much ado, we present to you a list of the famous movies and TV shows that talk about the metaverse.
This science-fiction anthology series highlights the potential dangers of technology only a few years or decades away, how it will change us and why it could be detrimental to our society if we don’t use it responsibly. If dystopian fantasies give you goosebumps and curl your toes (in a good way), this is the series for you.
It builds upon the seminal classic, Twilight Zone, to give you a different bone-chilling story every episode. It addresses a gambit of issues related to multiple aspects of metaverses. Be it addiction to social media, the dim prospects of constant surveillance or obsession with video games. The showrunners leave no stones unturned when it comes to exploring the future of technology.
Her is a sombre story about love and loss that explores the relationship of a recently divorced writer, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), and a personalised Artificially Intelligent operating system, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). This movie is an anomaly in this list as it is not a tale of a dystopic future. Instead, it’s about a character finding his way after his divorce.
The story also explores the development of Scarlett Johansson’s AI character, how she perceives herself in this world, and what she means to Phoenix’s character. The movie questions what it means to be a human and whether artificial intelligence could someday start behaving like humans.
Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex
This classic anime movie spawned the TV show that grappled with the idea of the nature of identity in a future where humans can transfer their consciousness into cyborg bodies. Major Motoko Kusanagi, the protagonist of this series, is a cyborg public security agent hunting a mysterious hacker called the puppet master.
This series deals with multiple facets of metaverse technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Realities, and the militarisation of technology.
Minority Report explores a future where law enforcement can predict crimes before they occur. In the story, Tom Cruise’s character is a law enforcement agent in the future-crimes division of the police who arrest people that will commit a crime in the future.
His world is turned upside down when pre-cogs — human telepaths that predict the future in the division — foresee that his character will murder someone in the future. This makes Cruise’s character question the motives of the division and the free will of an individual, making him see that the future actually is not pre-ordained.
This HBO series created by Jonathan Nolan, brother of the famed director Cristopher Nolan, is about a futuristic western-themed amusement park where visitors can interact with androids designed to be at their disposal. People who come in this park live out their wildest fantasies, whether it be playing a part in a western storyline or indiscriminately killing human-like androids for pleasure.
In typical dystopian fashion, there is a master and slave relationship between the visitors and the androids in the park. And as the seasons go on, there is a question of whether the androids have true sentience and autonomy. It contemplates existential issues like the line between humans and androids, what makes humans more sentient than androids.
The Matrix is the story of a computer programmer, Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), who realises that he is living in a virtual world designed by an Artificial Intelligence that uses humanity as an energy source in the real world.
The Matrix trilogy is now seen as a pinnacle of science fiction storytelling in movies whose existential idea of the difference between the natural world and the virtual world is as impressive as the action displayed in the film. Many movies after the Matrix tried to capture the magic of the series but could not meet the lofty standards set by and the meticulously choreographed action scenes of the Matrix.
Sword Art Online
This popular anime series explores a world where most of the population is immersed in a virtual reality MMO (massively multiplayer online) game. The in-universe game uses virtual headsets that allow players to not only see the virtual world of the game but also engage their other four senses. Players control their characters using their minds.
The inciting event that sets the series in motion is when 10,000 players log into the game and then are not able to log out of the game for mysterious reasons. And it only gets more interesting.
2001: A Space Odyssey
This 1968 classic, dubbed the grandfather of science fiction movies, tackles questions from human evolution to whether we are alone in this universe. The movie’s salient point is the confrontation of two species and the innate drive to destroy the inferior one. In the movie, this plays out as the confrontation between an Artificial Intelligence named HAL 9000 that controls the ship on which five scientists are going to Mars.
There is a conflict between the two species as both deem themselves superior. This relationship feels all too real as history has dictated in the real world that the superior species has always wiped out the inferior.
Love Death + Robots
Another anthology series on the list, this show discusses, as one can guess from the title, love, death, and robots. The episodes are based on short stories written by multiple prolific short story writers. The most prominent aspect the show deals with is artificial intelligence and how it will affect the evolution of humans in the near future.
It is an animated show with a different art style for every episode, remarkably displaying various animation styles that are a feast for the eyes.