Slideshow

Forget the Oscars: Sit back for the 404 Awards

Technology underperforms in '08 films such as The Dark Knight, Cloverfield, Untraceable and Body of Lies

  • Best breach of ethics/violation of privacy: The Dark Knight br> Batman isn't above spying on the citizens of Gotham to find his arch-nemesis The Joker. Bruce Wayne asks gadget-guru Lucius Fox to set up a sonar-system that would tap into mobile phones and point the winged superhero directly toward the maniacal menace.
  • Best running-with-camera scene: Vantage Point br> As the US president appears to be assassinated, no one knows what happened -- except Forest Whitaker. With his consumer-level video camera and outstanding athletic abilities he captured more details to reveal the true assassins than the slew of news cameras and police present.
  • Best use of outdated technology: Body of Lies br> While Leo is connected via cell effortlessly the entire film, his CIA counterpart Russell Crowe is bogged down with an old-school wired headset for his hands-free communication. The filmmakers couldn't get a Bluetooth headset provider to do a product placement?
  • The Oscars may recognize the best that Hollywood has to offer, but Hollywood so often gets the technology wrong. In honor of the 81st Academy Awards, we've compiled the 404 Awards to recognize unreal appearances by technology in 2008 films -- and point out a few films that got it right.

  • Honorable mention: TV's 24 br> Best lack of national cyber security -- ever! A single national firewall? Really? Is this the plot to 1995's The 'Net? Hello, Fox? Anyone?
  • Best little lovable robot: WALL-E br> Many years in the future, garbage-collecting robot WALL-E is still picking up the trash left behind by humans years ago. He hangs out with his only friend, a cockroach, and dreams of one day having a hand to hold. Aww -- need we say more?
  • Best gadget-guy with no gadgets: Quantum of Solace br> With Q absent, the latest installation of the James Bond saga had lead player Daniel Craig working overtime. The days of the gallant playboy overtaking enemies with a push of a button are gone. Now Bond sweats as much as his modern-day movie competitor, Jason Bourne.
  • Best mobile reception ever: Body of Lies br> Leonardo DiCaprio's character never is without a signal as he traverses Middle Eastern deserts in search of terrorists. Granted some scenes pointed to a satellite phone, but not once did Leo have to utter, "Can you hear me now?"
  • Best fake science we wish was real: Jumper br> This flashy film exaggerated the merits of quantum physics and tapped into the audience's wanderlust. How sublime would it be to blink yourself around the world, avoiding cramped coach seats forever, and teleport to the most exclusive places -- including bank vaults?
  • Best use of robotic sidekicks: Iron Man br> Tony Stark has it all: intelligence, money, power and a couple of non-human companions. The genius/industrialist may build bombs and weapons, but his homebound robots steal the show. Another plus: Music that includes the Black Sabbath tune Iron Man.
  • Best classic look for new film: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull br> One wouldn't know 20 years had passed between movies when Indiana Jones returned to the big screen to fight the Russians and find the treasure left behind centuries ago by other-worldly creatures.
  • Best use of unbelievable streaming video: Untraceable br> The serial killer streams high-quality video live to millions simultaneously, rigging up his killing machine to the Web site traffic. More visitors equal a faster death for his victim. As this year's Inauguration ceremony proved, it's not so easy to stream live, flawless video to millions.
  • Best non-shaky shaky cam sequence: Cloverfield br> With a Godzilla-like creature terrorizing the city and its spawn frequently nipping at their heels, the handful of twenty-somethings seeking safety in New York's subway system managed to capture quality video while running, falling, you name it -- all from a handheld camera.
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