Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“Quite frankly,” said Stuart Whitley, the Director of Operations at Computerwood, “I am not pleased with this vendetta that you’ve launched against our movies. We are clearly producing products that the public wants to see.”

“The public makes emotional judgments, not rational ones,” was the flat response of Kostas Kritikos, movie critic for the World Times.

“I think that you’re the one being irrational,” Whitley retorted. “How can you not accept the fact that computer generated movies are substantially better than the old cellulous ones? The quality is so perfect; I challenge anyone to tell the difference between a flesh and blood actor and today’s computer generated counterpart. It’s the best thing to happen to the industry since the talkies. We no longer need those pampered, spoiled brats, whining about their trailers, the hours, and so-and-so having better lines than them. We’ve also eliminated the need for sets, props, and location shoots. We’re free from weather delays, agents, and actor strikes. We produce a better product, on schedule, for less money. It’s a perfect solution, Mr. Kritikos.”

“I couldn’t disagree with you more. Your movies are a travesty. The industry has a proud heritage dating back more than 100 years. You can’t create great movies in a warehouse basement using a couple of programmers and a supercomputer.”

Whitley indicated the mammoth trophy case packed with more than one hundred golden statuettes, “That cabinet full of Oscars, Mr. Kritikos, says that you’re wrong. Besides, you’re over simplifying the process. We still have screen writers, directors, storyboard artists, concept artists, texture artists, animators, riggers, compositors, and sound designers working on every production.” He steepled his fingers. “Let’s cut to the chase, Mr. Kritikos. What’s your real problem with our pictures?”

“Since you’ve asked, it’s what you’ve done to the classics. Shirley Temple playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Ronald Reagan staring in Casablanca rather than Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper playing Rhett Butler, and Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones. For the love of God man, have you no decency? Those movies are the very heart and soul of Hollywood, and you’ve desecrated them.”

Whitley smiled. “Each of those people was the director’s first choice to play those leading roles. We’re letting the public see the movies that could… no, should have been. For all intents and purposes, Mr. Kritikos, our remakes are exactly what would have been released had the directors had the actors that they initially wanted. Tell me Mr. Kritikos, what can I do to convince you to write a favorable review?”

“There is nothing that you can do,” Kritikos roared. “I will fight these abominations with ever fiber in my body. Mark my words Whitley, you create one more of these vile remakes, and I’ll spend the rest of my life…”

Whitley cut him off, “That will be all, Mr. Kritikos. I’ve got what I needed. Your services are no longer required.”

“What? My services? What are you talking about? I don’t work for you.”

“Ah, but you do, Mr. Kritikos. You see, Computerwood is doing research into new product lines. As a consequence, we needed advanced feedback from the public, including movie critics. Unfortunately, Mr. Kritikos, you’re not a real person. Our programmers created you so that we didn’t have to actually hire a pompous, overpaid critic. Funny, isn’t it? Our characters are so perfect; they don’t even realize that they’re just a simulation. Computer, end ‘Critic 12’ program.”

An instant later, Kritikos faded away, his mouth still open.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows