6 Things We Learned About the Internet From 90s Movies

When the internet started to gain popularity in the 90s, it was this complex, hi-tech thing that no one understood…and movies took advantage of our ignorance.

Anyone could make up a story about what could happen on the internet or what the internet might be capable of…and we would buy it. In fact, if a movie made in the 90’s had anything to do with computers or the internet, it was automatically oscar-worthy.

The 90s was a great time where big movie ideas were nurtured by the internet’s growing popularity. Watching these movies made us both scared and hopeful for the future of the internet and technology.

Now that we’re more informed, we’re not idiots. It takes a lot of convincing before we’re ready to suspend belief. If aliens were to learn about the internet by watching 90s movies, they would think we are super advanced and spout out a lot of cheesy one-liners.

Here are 6 things movies in the 90s taught us about the internet:

1. You can hack alien technology using a Mac

Apple computers can hack into alien technology.

Independence Day (1996)

You can hack into an alien’s computer and Apple will translate and format all their data into Mac format. That’s a pretty cool trick. No wonder Apple is so popular!

2. Apparently the Oculus Rift came out in 1995

1995's Oculus Rift used for hacking into your brain.

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

This image alone is just laughable. In this film, Johnny Mnemonic undergoes a cybernetic surgery to have confidential data implanted in his brain. Of course some bad guys want it, so he needs to hack into their data system using the Oculus Rift.

I love how these older movies are set in the future and that’s why we should believe their crazy-ass technology scenarios. This movie was made in 1995, yet takes place in 2021 (six years from now). So in 2021 when technology isn’t this advanced (which it won’t be), this movie will look even more ridiculous (and you didn’t think it could get worse). I know 26 years seems like a long time, but it goes by fast and most of the people who saw that movie will still be around in 2021.

My point? If you’re going to use the future as an excuse for your over-the-top technology, at least make it thousands of years in the future. That way, your audience will be dead and can’t debunk your movie. It’s just common sense.

3. You can use the internet to time-travel

You can time-travel via the internet.

The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

This one’s priceless…you plug your brain into a machine and use it to time travel. Sorry Doctor, we don’t need the TARDIS anymore.

4. This is what hacking looks like:

Hackers (1995)

If hacking looked like that, there might be more hackers in the world. Fortunately, there’s nothing visually stunning about the hacking process. It’s a lot of typing and inserting code (womp womp). And you definitely don’t fly around virtual skyscraper-like filing systems when you’re looking for a file.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this movie. It was one of the better 90s movies. However, I think this movie had one purpose: to make hackers look bad-ass. Take a look at Hackers’ hackers and real-life hackers:

Hackers’ hackers:

Hackers' hackers.

vs. real life hackers:

Real-life hackers

5. You could order pizza online in 1995

You could order pizza in 1995?

The Net (1995)

You could order pizza over the internet back then? I didn’t know that? Is this where Papa Johns got the idea from? If so, that’s the ONLY good thing that came out of this movie.

This is all-around just a terrible movie. First of all, they portray a computer virus attack as your screen melting. In reality, most people who have a virus don’t know it (thus why anti-virus software was created).

I also love how she’s a computer programmer who has in-depth knowledge about computers, yet wonders why she was targeted to take the fall for an internet conspiracy. Really Sandra? Really?

6. You can magnify and create 3D renderings of any image

zoom in, magnify, rotate, bullshi*t.

Enemy of the State (1998)

This one isn’t quite internet related, but it was made in the 90s. So they capture a picture using satellite imagery, create a 3D version of it, and rotate the image around so they can see all angles of it. I’m sorry, but no. Just…no.

You can’t make something out of nothing. An image is an image. If there’s only 90 pixels in an image, you can’t make it 1000 pixels let alone make it 3D. And no, not even government technology is capable of this.

Even today, TV shows (especially crime shows) are guilty of portraying ridiculous photo enhancements. But we’ll save that for another day.

I do have a question though, if their technology could do all this, why couldn’t it look into the bag and see what’s in there? Is THAT the limit of this fictional technology?