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Western Animation / Automania 2000

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Automania 2000 is a British 1963 animated short film (10 minutes) directed by John Halas.

It is a dystopian satire of the future, and particuarly, car culture run amok. Things aren't all bad; electricity is limitless and meals are reduced to pill form, eliminating the need to cook. However, all of humanity now lives in its cars—literally, everyone actually lives in cars, which are piled up on top of each other fathoms deep in the streets. It seems that people got a taste for longer and bigger cars, and cars got bigger and bigger and bigger until people were driving 40-foot behemoths. Cars were made specifically for special occasions like weddings and funerals; stroller cars operated by remote piloted babies around the streets. Eventually car traffic grew and grew until all movement ceased and humanity became stuck in their cars forever. But there's worse to come, thanks to the new scientific invention—self-replicating cars.

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Tropes:

  • An Aesop: Consumerism is bad, and specifically, car culture has gotten out of control.
  • Alcohol Hic: The needs of humans trapped forever in their cars are served by roaming helicopters. A man in his car gets alcohol via a helicopter that delivers a hose to his mouth. He hiccups, then turns green, apparently from drinking too much.
  • Blatant Lies: The explosive breeding of self-replicating cars, dooming humanity for all time, is accompanied by the narrator saying "Thanks to the genius of scientists, the world is on a firm foundation!"
  • Dystopia: The cities, and seemingly the whole world, have becomed choked with cars to the point that humanity is trapped in them forever.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Cars literally flooding London, Washington, and Moscow are represented by Big Ben, the Capitol dome, and the domes of the Kremlin getting buried in cars.
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  • Explosive Breeder: Things were bad enough before, but the death knell for humanity seems to come when the scientist in the tower invents self-replicating cars. They breed explosively, leaving the whole world buried forever in an endlessly growing flood of cars.
  • Food Pills: In the future, sumptuous meals will be zapped with rays on an assembly line that reduces them into tiny pills.
  • Forced Perspective: Pretty easy to do with 2-D animation. When the scientist first emerges he looks like a mouse coming out of the mouse hole. He then proceeds to get a lot bigger as he approaches the camera, revealing that the mouse hole was actually a doorway far away.
  • For Science!: The scientist never says this, but he clearly is motivated by this, inventing bigger and bigger cars. Notably he is at the top of a high, high tower, so he is unaffected as humanity is choked to death by rivers of cars down below. After watching all this the scientist still invents the self-replicating car, which is when he gets his; see Laser-Guided Karma below.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The scientist, formerly high atop his tower and safe from the dystopia below, does not stop to consider the consequences of inventing a self-replicating car. The car is an Explosive Breeder which covers the whole world, eventually rising to the top of the scientist's tower, where a car eats him.
  • Narrator: An upbeat narrator who nonetheless is forced to grudgingly admit what a hellscape life has become in the age of the car. He cheerfully says "War has become unthinkable!"—because all human movement has ceased.
  • Trope 2000: Automania 2000 to evoke a vision of the far-off future in 1963.
  • Written Sound Effect: The Alcohol Hic is accompanied by a written "HIC!" escaping from a man's mouth.
  • Zeerust: It was not illogical to see the growth of cars into the great gas-guzzling behemoths of the early 1960s and imagine that they might grow bigger and bigger and still bigger. But in Real Life the OPEC embargo and high oil prices of the 1970s led to strong consumer demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.
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