Types of futures in movies

In my post on Total Recall (2012), I said:

Perhaps because the future is like an exotic place, in American movies, the future is believably exotic when it’s Asian.

However, Asianness is not the only kind of exoticness that the future exhibits.

Sometimes, for example, the future is architecturally minimalistic (Gattaca) or brutalist (Total Recall 1990). Or it’s just the West in the present—or the 70s, as the case may be—but with better gadgets (Predestination), better weapons (Edge of Tomorrow) or “technology” you can’t help but call magic (Wanted). Or it’s a desert wasteland (Mad Max), possibly with flooded, buried, damaged, or overgrown skyscrapers (AI, Oblivion, Divergent, I Am Legend). Or at first glance it’s indistinguishable from the far past (Cloud Atlas). Or it’s not the future, it’s a magical parallel world that’s full of true-to-life European buildings but also has steampunk “technology” (The Golden Compass).

In The Expanse, interestingly, New York has walls to protect it from elevated sea levels. That’s an optimistic kind of future: we’ll have problems, but we’ll solve them in such a way that the past will be preserved rather than destroyed—or transcended and forgotten.