Everyone loves a good gadget: where would we be without the dog treadmill or the electronic egg boiler?
The world of cinema understands this too. And, not being bound by such annoying obstacles as the immutable laws of the physical world, it can really flex its creative muscles and let its imagination run wild.
We present the coolest movie gadgets in the history of cinema. Have we missed any? If so, let us know in the comments below.
The coolest movie gadgets of all time
1. Lightsaber - Star Wars (1977-now)
Surely the Daddy of all cinematic gadgets - it's already been voted the most popular weapon in film history - gadgets seldom come any cooler than the lightsaber. A laser sword - yep, that's definitely cool - it can cut through any substance without resistance (apart from, of course, another lightsaber). The iconic accompanying sound effect was created by combining the humming of motors in old movie projectors with interference between a TV and a microphone; of course, many talented people can produce this using purely their own voice.
2. Time Machine - Back To The Future (1985)
The classic. There have been a few time machines in movie history (including, of course, a hot tub and a phone booth) but this is surely the best, coming in the shape of a DeLorean DMC-12 that simply requires a flux capacitor powered by plutonium, 1.21 Gigawatts of energy and an unimaginably high speed of 88mph to operate. After that, the whole of history is your oyster.
3. Hoverboard - Back To The Future Part II (1989)
This amazing gadget - which, let's face it, everyone wants - was found in the year 2015. Engineers of the world: we hate that you decided to put your efforts into electric bloody scooters rather than something that hovers. Director Robert Zemeckis did not help matters by claiming that they were real when the movie was originally released; you got our hopes up Robert, now you need to sort it out.
4. Neuralyzer - Men In Black (1997)
If only this were real. The Neuralyzer handily wipes the memory of your target, enabling you to replace what they've seen with a suggestion of what they saw instead. The Men in Black used it to delete sensitive information, we'd use it to pretend that that abject 6-0 defeat never happened.
5. Flying Cars - Blade Runner (1982)
Much like the hoverboard, we were promised flying cars a long time ago, and science has woefully failed to deliver. It's simply not good enough. Press kits for the film stated that the "spinner" was propelled by three different engines: "conventional internal combustion, jet, and anti-gravity". Well chaps, we've had the first two for ages - all you need to do is crack anti-gravity and we're away - what's stopping you?
6. Confinement Stream Guns/Ghost Trap - Ghostbusters (1984)
Admittedly a set of gadgets borne out of necessity - a mysterious increase in paranormal activity in New York City - but the Ghostbusters really knew their way around advanced ghost-related technology. Very few children of the 80s grew up without at one point pretending to use their proton beam guns to remotely wrestle with a ghost, kicking out the ghost trap, and then unleashing its power to trap it. We don't really understand why they don't use these for real on ITV2's Celebrity Ghost Hunting with Yvette Fielding.
7. Transporter - Star Trek (2009)
There are few gadgets that are so famous that they have their own catchphrase which is widely used in society (apart from perhaps the Television's "turn it over, quickly, turn it over!" when Loose Women comes on), but Star Trek's "Beam me up Scotty" is definitely one of them. A fully-functioning teleporter; just the thing when you need to escape from a tricky situation. In August 2008, physicist Michio Kaku predicted that a teleportation device similar to that seen in Star Trek would be invented within 100 years - we really hope we live to see it, simply to watch Ryanair immediately go bust.
8. Wireless Computer Control - Minority Report (2002)
You might argue that this gadget can now be seen in real life, with the release of the Xbox Kinect, but that doesn't make it any less cool. And, regardless, you still can't quite do as much with it as Tom Cruise does in Minority Report. One day we'll be able to point at the toaster and a slice will butter itself, then jump straight into our mouth. Until that day, scientists need to keep on working and not take any holiday at all.
9. Magnetic Watch - Live And Let Die (1973)
Ah yes, Mr Bond, do come in. The man with more gadgets that you can shake a radio-transmitter-meets-rocket-launcher stick at. The first of his on this list is a classic from 1973's Live and Let Die - a Rolex timepiece fitted with a fast-spinning bezel enabling 007 to cut through ropes and cable, together with a strong magnet to deflect bullets (in the unlikely event that any of the baddies actually managed a straight shot). Naturally, Bond used this to aid in the unzipping of a lady's garment. Oh James.
10. Talkboy - Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)
Not a hugely advanced gadget, but this "non-working prop" was so popular with moviegoers, who wrote letters demanding its creation, that it forced Tiger Electronics to bring them into production. And with it came this truly brilliant TV advertisement. Hours and hours of fun: every home should have a Talkboy to ruin your brother's love life.
11. The Infinity Gauntlet - Avengers: Infinity War / Endgame (2019)
The Infinity Gauntlet is such a cool gadget that it comes with its own theme tune (Snap's I've Got The Power, obviously). Seriously, though, having the ability to wipe have of the population out with a snap of the fingers is quite a powerful thing to have. And would make riding the Tube on a heatwave that little bit more bearable.
12. Point-Of-View Gun - The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (2005)
One of many great gadgets from Douglas Adams' epic stories, the point-of-view gun is the Ronseal of gadgets. Simply point and shoot, and your target will see things in your shoes for a change. We still don't think this would alter the opinions of certain right-wing newspaper columnists, thoug.
13. Alien Weaponry And Exosuit - District 9 (2009)
When it comes to weapons, the aliens really know what they're doing (although the humans always seem to overpower them in the end, usually via nuclear weapons or Will Smith flying a plane, which is a bit unfair); they can always be relied upon to put a bit of design flair into their arsenal. District 9 exhibits this perfectly as Wikus finds himself able to operate the 'prawns' machinery: first using some brutal pulse guns; before finally controlling a battle suit to aid the aliens' escape to the mothership.
14. Jet Pack - Thunderball (1965)
Many have tried to create a functioning jetpack, with perhaps the only success being with astronauts - hugely aided by their zero-gravity environment. Naturally, therefore, it fell to 007 to demonstrate the only successful earth-bound voyage in Thunderball. Also, naturally, his smooth piloting leaves him neither shaken, nor stirred.
15. Memory Cloth Cape - The Dark Knight (2008)
There are many, many great gadgets to choose from that aid the Dark Knight; there's probably about ten in the utility belt alone (it's basically a brilliant version of a swiss army knife), and the classic grappler gun was a close second. But we're going for the memory cloth cape, being as it enables the Bat-one to effortlessly glide through the sky and it looks ridiculously cool by forming his trademark Batwings. The clip below shows the actual (sort of) science behind it - amazing.
16. Universal Remote Control - Click (2006)
A patchy film, but what a gadget. A remote that enables you to control the universe; in particular, aspects of time. Skip over those boring meetings, replay your wonder goal, or slo-mo those wonderful family moments so they go on a little longer. Be careful though, if you accidentally do the latter on a baseball game it could create several years of unimaginable suffering.
17. Invisible Car - Die Another Day (2002)
You really can't argue with an invisible anything as a top, top gadget (as Jamie Redknapp would say). We could have gone for Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, but frankly an invisible car tops it for us. The only downside is that when the actual car is that beautiful, you'd kinda want people to see it. Still, useful for escaping villains wielding an orbital mirror satellite and impressing Halle Berry.
18. Shrink Ray - Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989)
This could have been a brilliant gadget if it had been used correctly. Miniature toy elephant? No problem. Real-life table football? Easy. Just don't go too mad, or chaos will ensue. Thankfully redeemed its somewhat soiled reputation by shrinking a giant baby back to normal size in the sequel. As you do.
19. Home Robot - Rocky IV (1985)
Paulie wanted a sports car, but got a robot. And still complained. One of the more bizarre gadgets featured in cinematic history, due to its complete incongruity with the film. However, judged on its merits, this is a very cool gadget and, just like the hoverboard, the time machine, the invisible car, the teleporter, the shrink ray, the jet pack, the flying car and all the rest, in a few years every good home will have one.
20. Teleporter - The Fly (1986)
Now, we know what you're thinking - is a device that, when an insect accidentally finds itself inside, having a rest, at the same time as a human is trying to use it, causes said human to then combine DNA with it, resulting in a truly horrifying transformation to some kind of man-insect beast, necessarily one of the best gadgets in film history? Yes, of course it is - it's a teleporter! Just remember to check thoroughly inside before using. Simple.
- The best James Bond gadgets of all time.