"The Circle" Releases Its First Movie Trailer Featuring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks

Tuesday, 06 December 2016 - 1:12PM
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 - 1:12PM
"The Circle" Releases Its First Movie Trailer Featuring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks
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Usually when outlets like The Guardian warn consumers about hyper-connectivity or internet privacy, they're talking about the dangers posed by hackers. But in Dave Eggers' 2013 book The Circle, making your personal life public is the whole point: a tech company called The Circle has created a piece of tech that lets you stream your life live and connect with thousands of people constantly, operating on the idea that individual privacy is the root of humanity's problems. Why wouldn't you want to be more transparent, more honest, and more connected? Hey—put down that copy of 1984, you reactionary Luddite!

Now The Circle is being made into a movie, with Emma Watson playing the main character (Mae Holland), Tom Hanks playing the CEO of The Circle (Eamon Bailey), and John Boyega and Patton Oswalt playing the two other "Wise Men" leading the company alongside Eamon. This is how USA Today summed up the movie in their exclusive first look:

Opening quote
The Circle's game changer: SeeChange cameras, glass eyeballs that fit anywhere and transmit real-time footage wirelessly. Mae steps into the SeeChange world and instantly explodes from entry-level employee to being famous worldwide for sharing her life, fears and ambitions with millions of strangers.
Closing quote


And here's the new trailer:



It's strange to call this a "sci-fi" movie because just about everything shown in the trailer seems possible now (with a little seed money and some good investors!): the seemingly augmented reality overlay that shows a stream of thoughts and messages is something we've already begun to explore with Google Glass, while the SeeChange cameras are just compact web cameras with the ability to transmit wirelessly. Even the drones are familiar. The director of The Circle, James Ponsoldt, addresses this directly:

Opening quote
"When Dave's book came out, it felt like speculative fiction, the future around the corner. But shooting it, we thought of it as an alternaverse: slightly skewed, but essentially our world," says Ponsoldt. "It's a fun ride. We live through Mae. She is us. You will walk out of the theater and have a serious look at yourself and how you're living your life."
Closing quote


The not-so-subtle subtext of the film is that we're already turning into a dystopian society where privacy is being rapidly eroded by social media and the constant need to be a celebrity. The only innovation The Circle brings to the table, it seems, is a vision for how we'd willingly give up the last vestiges of our personal lives: by believing it's for the good of humanity. The magic of making the CEO of a tech company the person urging society toward a surveillance state, rather than a faceless fascist government, is that we look toward people like Steve Jobs to guide us, challenge us, and tell us what's in fashion. Here's how Ponsoldt describes Bailey:

Opening quote
"Bailey's notion is that knowing is good, and knowing everything is better," says Ponsoldt. "He believes all experiences should be available to everyone, not only the privileged or people who can afford to them. He's deeply interested in technology that can make people share all human experiences with everyone. He's a boundary pusher, even boundary destroyer."
Closing quote


See? Bailey isn't a power-hungry prophet of a Brave New World, he's a "boundary pusher." He speaks in the language of privilege, humanity, and technology, not authority or surveillance or safety. And that's the genius of The Circle.

But if that's not enough to tickle your dystopian funny bone, maybe you'd be interested in purchasing SmartPipe.

The Circle hits US theaters on April 28th, 2017.



Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies