Who has the smartest home in cinema history?

Last updated: 30 April 2021

Last weekend, we saw the biggest night of the year for actors and filmmakers across the world, the Oscars, unfold on Sunday evening (or very early Monday morning for those in Europe). So, in the spirit of celebrating the silver screen, we decided to look into popular films that feature smart homes and see whether these concepts and technologies reflect today’s reality.

From Tony Stark’s Malibu Mansion to the quirky abode inhabited by Wallace and Gromit, we dive deep into the magic of cinema to discover what can be considered the smartest home in film history.

The McFly family home – 2015 version (Back to the Future part 2)

Great Scott! Is that a pizza hydrator???

Starting off with an all-time classic, audiences were wowed by the futuristic setting portrayed in the sequel to the original Back to the Future.

After becoming separated from Marty in the 2015 version of Hill Valley, his girlfriend, Jennifer, finds herself trapped in the future abode of the McFly family.

While fitted with appliances that oddly combine a retro-yet-futuristic aesthetic, the future McFly home displays many technologies that we see in homes of 2021.

This includes a smart TV that doubles as a webcam (a particularly useful technology in 2021), voice-activated appliances (in this case a pizza hydrator and a fruit basket), and smart glasses used by Marty and Jennifer’s future children. Overall, the McFly household of 2015 is full of smart technology which is not too dissimilar to some of the technology available today.

(Side note: We didn’t forget the iconic time-travelling DeLorean, however, this sadly does not count as part of a home).

Smart rating: 8/10

Officer K’s apartment (Blade Runner 2049)

Despite the monochromatic colour scheme of a futuristic Los Angeles, Officer K’s apartment from Blade Runner 2049 gives the audience a brief insight into what one could expect of apartments of the not-too-distant future (certainly more so than Deckard’s apartment from the original 1982 cult classic).

While fairly minimalist in design, the star of K’s urban homestead is Joi, a holographic companion powered by artificial intelligence (AI) who figures to be K’s girlfriend.

Whether it’s ‘cooking’ virtual meals to compensate for the gruel K treats himself to, or lighting K’s cigarette at the touch of her finger, Joi stands an almost-human Alexa/Cortana replica.

However, the technology within K’s flat does not extend further than his holographic partner, apart from an excessively powerful shower and a surround sound system which quietly plays Frank Sinatra in the background. When compared to current technology, Officer K’s apartment reaches a similar standard to the technology-filled homes of today. For that reason, its smart rating is weaker compared to other homes on this list.

Smart rating: 5/10

Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion (The Iron Man Series)

Billionaire, philanthropist, and owner of a smart home, Tony Stark certainly knows what he wants when it comes to decking out his Malibu mansion with cutting edge smart technology.

Like Officer K, Tony Stark is never alone in his house, kept busy by his personal assistant Jarvis. Similar to Alexa but with the charming personality of actor Paul Bettany, Jarvis is burdened with the unenviable task of trying to schedule Stark’s hectic life, as well as be his top assistant when it comes to constructing his various gadgets (namely his Iron Man suits).

Aside from his stupendous second-in-command, Stark’s mansion is littered with technology that one could only dream of having in their home. From its 3D holographic projectors, a fully kitted out workshop to build gadgets in, to even the underappreciated Dum-E and U robots, Stark’s mansion is almost unparalleled in its diverse repertoire of smart technology. Compared to contemporary standards, Stark’s mansion blows the smart homes of today into outer space, let alone out of the water.

Smart rating 10/10

Wallace and Gromit’s house (Wallace and Gromit)

While their inventions may not be high-tech or ‘useful’ in a conventional sense, the contraptions throughout Wallace and Gromit’s house are certainly smart in their own unique way.

Aside from building a rocket and flying to the moon, the inventor and his trusty hound have more than leaned into incorporating smart technology into their house.

Whether it’s the ‘snoozeatron’ to help Wallace get his beauty sleep or the infamous wrong trousers, Wallace and Gromit, in their various iterations since their first grand day out in 1989, have slowly kitted out their home to resemble a smart home heavily geared towards making life easier.

While I sadly don’t own a pair of automated trousers, I can definitely see the value in the snoozeatron or the ‘autochef’, providing the latter doesn’t cover me in scrambled eggs! But, by today’s standards, with many homes fitted with cutting edge IoT technology, Wallace and Gromit’s distinctly analogue house is far from what we would call a traditional smart home.

Smart rating: 6/10 (depending on whether you like cheese or not)

What’s your favourite smart home in cinema history? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to follow us at @ThalesDigiSec!

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