Just as Law & Order has taught us that if you're investigating a murder you should always, always check the victim's BeFriends.com account for recent activity, thrillers have taught us lots of valuable lessons about computers, such as: when you hack into a computer system, it looks like you're flying over a transparent, blue-light city made of numbers; if someone gets into your wireless network, you're probably going to die; and whatever you do, don't get caught in the net.
But, as it turns out, computer stuff in the movies rarely resembles computer stuff in real life. None of it is real. Shocking, right? I guess one day, in the distant future, when we all have computers and know what websites are, we'll be able to spot the fake movie ones onscreen and it'll be kind of distracting. Until then, though, someone's got to make the fake computer interfaces.
"The entire point of those things is to tell a story," graphic interface designer Mark Coleran says. " 'I can't get into the computer.' How do you tell somebody in two seconds, onscreen, that they can't get into that thing?"
Coleran designs the fancy-but-fake graphics that flash across computers in the movies. He has worked on a laundry list of blockbusters: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Ultimatum, Children of Men, Mission Impossible III and many more….
Coleran makes a good point, and telling a story in two seconds via a computer screen is probably a very difficult task. So what are some of the stories Hollywood has told us via a flash of a computer interface?
"We can build a better Philip Seymour Hoffman."
"Uhh, something, something, robots?"
"This is a fake computer."
"Check out this fake computer."
"This is a terrible movie."