Movies set in the future have long been a harrowing, exciting, and thoughtful idealization of what the world might look like many years after the movie was actually released. It's been a staple of science fiction since the genre was adapted to film to predict what the future might look like, but what happens when the world finally catches up to movies like Blade Runner and Akira, an actual comparison between the world of tomorrow and the predicted world of today collide? The internet is full of memes asking where our jetpacks and flying cars are now that we're living in the future, but as futuristic films transition chronologically into the real world of the present, it's becoming clear that most movies are set within the minds of the people creating them.
While that's certainly true of most films set in the future, the ones set in the year 2019 aren't all off the mark. Sure, we don't have flying cars taking up all the space in the sky above our cities, but some of the technology, fashion, and ways of life have come pretty close to accurate. Not many movies or TV series were explicitly set in the year 2019, but there are some you may have forgotten about. These films and television shows set in the future gave us a look at what we thought our lives would look like once humanity finally crossed the line between 2018 and 2019.
The Island is one of those science fiction movies that was released shortly after humans started successfully cloning animals. During that time, people were already afraid that scientists would be able to create human clones with ease and either replace people or suck the organs out of their creations. This film is about the latter concern with an underground city occupied by people who believe they have survived an apocalypse. In truth, they are clones of the wealthy and most influential people outside, which means their organs are the property of others and they are routinely sacrificed to save their benefactors.
As far as human cloning is concerned, we aren't there yet. We are on the cusp of cloning organs from a patient's tissue, which would get around the whole ethical concern of raising humans for slaughter. Other than that, the tech in the movie isn't too far off. Fashion has progressed in a similar manner as is depicted in the movie and isn't presented as a way off, spandex-clad society or anything so ridiculous. The depictions of augmented reality and virtual reality seen in the film are possible and while they would be cost-prohibitive in the size and scope depicted in the film, people can engage in virtual combat with their buddies thanks to easily available consoles they can put in their homes.
Daybreakers doesn't fit the traditional science fiction mold you might expect to find on a list like this one due to the presence of vampires, but that doesn't mean its predictions for 2019 aren't somewhat accurate. This film was about the world trying to cope following a plague of vampirism that converted most of the population into bloodsucking fiends. To compensate, the remaining humans were farmed for their blood, which was rationed to the population. One of the subplots of the film revolves around Ethan Hawke's character striving to create an artificial blood substitute so the human race can continue to survive long after the last human is converted or devoured.
While there is no rampant plague of vampirism and there is no need to create a blood substitute for that purpose, that doesn't mean research isn't being done in the field. Scientists have been trying to come up with a suitable blood substitute for years to help save lives when real blood isn't available for transfusions. In that respect, the movie was on the money. Another aspect of the film that relates to 2019 is the autonomous technology that was built into the vehicles. Because sunlight was lethal in the film, driving required the addition of numerous cameras and computer systems for use in place of windows. As autonomous cars continue to develop, the same is sort of true of today's offerings.
In what has to be the most on-the-nose title of this list, 2019, After the Fall of New York is set in the year 2019! The film takes place in the aftermath of a nuclear war, which ravaged the planet, leaving more than just New York City in ashes. Taking inspiration from movies like Escape from New York and 1990: The Bronx Warriors, this classic sci-fi film from 1983 saw the future as bleak and destroyed. While the film takes place in the (former) United States, it was an Italian production released in both English and Italian. In this chaotic post-WWIII world, only one woman on the planet is known to be fertile as all others have lost the ability to reproduce. That's the only real prediction the film made with the technology and fashion mimicking that of other sci-fi films shot in the '80s.
The film didn't get much correct about what the world would be like in 2019. Fortunately, there was no nuclear conflict resulting in the destruction of society so comparing the film to reality is a bit of a stretch. One thing the movie did get right was the fact that radiation can affect a woman's fertility. That being said, it also affects a man's ability to procreate so limiting infertility in the film was more about driving the plot that working towards realism. If the world were devastated by nuclear war, it's likely the fashions of the day would remain, albeit in tatters. That makes it plausible that fashions and hairstyles from the '80s would still be around in one form or another by 2019, but for the most part, this movie missed the mark on how the world would look today.
The New Barbarians is a post-apocalyptic dystopian film set in the aftermath of World War III. "The nuclear holocaust is over," but the people left behind must find a way to live in a world rife with gangs, starvation, and ruthless outlaws. In many ways, this is a typical post-WWIII apocalypse film from the '80s (There were a lot of them), but it does feature some elements that made it into the real world in 2019.
While the world has yet to descend into nuclear chaos, the one thing this movie managed to do was predict some outlandish fashion trends in 2019. If you watch the film and see some strange leather-clad barbarians and think you've seen something like that before, odds are you saw the Spring/Summer line of Warrior Women walk the catwalk in New York during fashion week. It's not 100% the same, but it does look like some designers may have taken inspiration from a certain film released in 1983.