The Wayback Machine: Sandra Bullock’s The Net Still Holds Up


pbump-2A week or two ago, I took a break from my day job to fulfill a request from a Wayback Machine reader: review the Sandra Bullock star vehicle The Net.

Why The Net? Simply put, it is an excellent example of recent vintage retro-futurism (that is, historic predictions of the future). While ostensibly set in the present, it features elements of the Web that didn’t yet exist, and some that never would.

This is the angle I decided to take in the review – each time the movie accurately reflected 1995 or the future, I would award points. Each time, however, it got a prediction wrong (or if it demonstrated something laughable by 1995 standards), it lost points. It also lost points if the movie was stupid for any reason that I determined. As you might guess, it ended up in the negative.

(By the way, if you are wondering if I bought the movie, or rented it – the answer is yes, of course. I did not find a torrent and download it. I did not do that. Just as I wouldn’t steal a car.)

I’ll spare you the plot beyond this: a “hacker” is sent a disk that presents an unusual gateway to illicit web traffic. Bad guys seek the disk and take extraordinary steps (such as sleeping with Sandra Bullock) to get it. When they fail, they use the power of the Web to erase her identity. In the end, she out-hacks them and wins. She also murders someone. Fin.

And now, to the technology.

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