Winter has come, and man it’s cold outside! Perfect for staying in with a wool blanket, a nice movie, and a cup of hot cocoa. Need something new to watch? We've prepared a list of 6 must-see films about cryonics that we think you’ll enjoy. Just remember to not take them too seriously, it’s fiction after all, not real science.
Be warned: Spoilers ahead!
Over ten years after Robert Ettinger, the father of cryonics, published The Prospect of Immortality, Woody Allen directed Sleeper, a science fiction comedy. The main character Miles Monroe, played by Allen, is cryogenically frozen after a routine operation goes wrong, and he winds up cryopreserved for 200 years. As luck would have it, two scientists who are part of an underground rebellion illegally revive Monroe from cryopreservation. They plan to use Miles against a police state government ruled by a dictator known only as “the Leader”. Since he doesn't have a biometric identity, Monroe makes the perfect spy for the rebellion.
Anyone who’s a fan of comedy needs to see this film. It’s highly regarded as a movie with the best banana-skin joke in the history of cinema.
This sci-fi drama directed by Fred Schepisi chronicles the story of a frozen prehistoric man. On an Arctic expedition, anthropologist Stanley Shephard, played by Timothy Hutton, discovers "Charlie", a Neanderthal man portrayed by John Lone. In order to study him further, scientists attempt to thaw Charlie’s body before performing an autopsy. However, they do something even better: they manage to revive him. Not an easy task as anyone interested in cryonics knows how hard it is to achieve revival! This film asks the question “What would happen to early man if they woke up in the future?” This is a great film to watch for any lovers of history and science, and for those who like to ponder existential questions.
Fun fact: a frozen man from the Chalcolithic era (Copper Age) was actually found seven years after the film's release. The body was found in the Ötztal Alps bordering Austria and Italy. However, his body was mummified, not cryopreserved. He was named Ötzi the Iceman and is believed to have lived between 5000 and 6000 years ago.
If you’ve never watched this classic, now’s the time to do so! Demolition Man is one film famous for propelling cryonics into popular culture, though there are a few inaccuracies.
It’s the year 2032, and Los Angeles is now a pacifist utopia called San Angeles. Crime is a distant memory, and criminals are kept in a Cryo-Penitentiary. While they are in a form of “suspended animation” or cryogenic sleep, their brains are rewired and exposed to subliminal rehabilitation programming. When prisoner Simon Phoenix (played by Wesley Snipes) escapes after being thawed, police are ill-prepared to handle such a criminal. To save the city from this dangerous criminal, they decide to revive John Spartan (portrayed by Sylvester Stallone), a police officer called “demolition man” because of the destruction he causes while carrying out his work.
Another movie that helped make cryonics famous is Vanilla Sky, a science fiction psychological thriller. David Aames (Tom Cruise) is a self-indulgent and vain owner of a publishing company, living the playboy life in Manhattan. However, everything changes when his ex-lover (Cameron Diaz) purposely crashes their car in a jealous rage. We won’t spoil too many details, but the role of cryonics plays a big part in the story. Want to learn how? Go and check out the film to find out!
We Will Live Again is a short 13-minute documentary. It follows Cryonics Institute’s CEO Ben Best and Andy Zawacki while they take care of their 100th patient. Compared to the other films on this list, this is one of the few that portrays cryonics realistically, even ten years ago. Now, the technology used in cryonics has improved since the movie’s release. Even the ‘father of cryonics’ Robert Ettinger, makes an appearance in the film! Unfortunately, he passed away shortly after and is now cryopreserved at Cryonics Institute. It’s a very short documentary, but worth watching for anyone who wants to learn more about cryopreservation.
Do you think we’d make a list of movies to watch about cryonics and not mention anything revolving around space travel? Think again. Passengers is a science fiction romance film set on a spaceship starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. 5,000 colonists and 258 crew members are kept in cryonics pods while traveling on a 120-year journey from Earth to the planet Homestead II. After just 30 years, a collision with an asteroid damages the ship and awakens one of the crew members by mistake. What will he do for 90 years alone, surrounded by so many possible companions in cryogenic sleep? Give it a watch to find out!
Cryonics is a fascinating topic, both in reality and in fiction. The possibilities of what this technology is capable of and how it could impact society are infinite. The current aim of cryonics is to pause the death degradation process so that people who are suffering from incurable diseases have a chance to be cured and revived with future technologies. As we can see in the movies on this list, the potential use of cryonics in the future is limitless. Perhaps this technology could be used as a punishment for criminals, or it could allow us to travel from one planet to the other! However, keep in mind that what we see in films is fiction, not reality.
What’s your favorite film about cryonics? Let us know on our Discord server. Don’t forget to check out more information about cryonics and all things related at Tomorrow Insight, and see you tomorrow!