No other movie industry can beat the juggernaut of Hollywood. No, not even the sing-and-dance movies of Bollywood and the chop-and-kick films of China come close to rivaling the influence, imagination and income of Hollywood.
And where else can you see movies that visibly exploit the bane of civil rights activists and the boon of security technophiles – CCTV systems – but in good old Hollywood? From heroes to anti-heroes, CCTV systems have been put to good and bad use in the movies, from which you too can get ideas. Now, if only you had the assassin training of David Webb a.k.a Jason Bourne and the hacker capabilities of Riley Poole.
“The Bourne Ultimatum”
You probably remember this movie as the last in the Bourne trilogy of author Robert Ludlum, with Matt Damon portraying the spy-cum-assassin-with-amnesia Jason Bourne. (And stop swooning over People’s 2007 Most Sexiest Man Alive; you are embarrassing yourself and there is no one to catch me when I swoon).
When Jason Bourne (insert dream-eyed sigh) met with journalist Simon Ross in a train station, the CCTV systems were employed by the Central Intelligence Agency to track him down. It was too bad for the CIA men that he was very adept at escaping detection even with pan-and-tilt surveillance cameras.
And since this is Hollywood, Jason Bourne gets to live a fourth life amidst all the assassination attempts. You are left to wonder when he will be back to take on the resident evils of the government.
“National Treasure: The Book of Secrets”
Now, here is one movie you will appreciate for Nicholas Cage’s deadpan expressions. That and the fact that it feels like somebody has read one too many Wikipedia articles and pieced everything together into one crazy quilt that amazingly looks well-sewn! And that is why it topped the box office during its run and remains to be one of Cage’s most profitable movies. Maybe the smirk helped.
Anyways, CCTV systems were used and this time the reliable Riley Poole put his hacker skills to work. Ben Gates ran a red light, got himself photographed doing so only the plank was in the photo, and then Riley violated the terms of agreement for Internet use. Now, the next time you run a red light, hide your face and make sure you are driving a stolen car.
Can someone really instigate a shooting war in a grocery store with supposedly medium-range CCTV systems and get away with it? Well, if the movie is to be believed, you can when you are a foxy assassin appropriately named Fox protecting the “most insignificant asshole of the century”.
The movie also tells you that in a big city, people are so apathetic that even when someone else’s face is plastered with a big “Wanted” sign and he is your officemate, you would not notice. Or is it because Wesley had a different aura to him when he discovered that he is “The Man”? Or is it because people in movies are so blind they fail to notice that Superman is Clark Kent?
Maybe CCTV systems ought to have the technology where people’s facial features, physical characteristics, and even DNA samples taken from afar are automatically compared with a database. Then again, Hollywood will come up with movies that will beat that idea. You can bet your bottom dollar on that, too!
After all, Hollywood rarely disappoints with out-of-this world ideas. And no, gods and goddesses who can sing, dance, do karate and fly are not included.