Thursday, July 28, 2016

London 2259

I was born in London - well, Wimbledon in South London, which was once well outside the city but is now a suburb, and we lived in Putney. So I have long been interested in how London, particularly future London, is depicted in films.

There's the alternate-reality London under the Magisterium of The Golden Compass.

And the London of 2259, depicted in Star Trek Into Darkness. In Star Trek's London, there are familiar features like the Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral, but the City and Westminster, at least, are apparently now covered in towers (more than they are now - none of Sir Christopher Wren's City churches are visible, other than St. Paul's). We know from the movie that some of these towers are apartment buildings, as this shot appears in the film as the view from a character's home.

That St. Paul's is still a part of the city landscape over 240 years in the future isn't surprising - but is it still a church in this future London? And the image of the cathedral surrounded by the towers of secular life says something to me, more than the continued presence of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz in the movie's version of future San Francisco does. Perhaps for me St. Paul's serves the same function as the Golden Gate in the Star Trek universe - see this exploration of the California city and Star Trek in Wired.

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