At the mid-way point of Edge of Tomorrow, a frustrated William Cage (played by Tom Cruise) participates in an exposition dump that comes in the form of a holographic visual aid. As expected, the three-dimensional display pretty much outlines the film’s finale, giving Cage (and, most importantly, the audience) a checklist of things that will ultimately help him thwart a race of evil aliens.

Scenes involving visual “touchtables”(AKA “motion graphics”) have become more and more commonplace in films (especially Marvel ones). So much so that when Tom Cruise breaks into Edge of Tomorrow‘s plot to humorously admire the intricacies of the hologram, the audience chuckles knowingly.

However, the joke is also on them. In the real world, interactive tabletops already exist for the purpose of warfare. A fact not lost on the visual effects mavens in Hollywood.

But which came first? The chicken or the egg? The touchtable or the military’s use of “geospatial touch screens?” Is life imitating art or visa versa?

Regardless, I thought it’d be fun to scour the Internet for some familiar moments featuring one of sc-fi’s favorite tropes. Think you can name all the films that these images belong to?

AVATAR_PRIMEFOCUS_VFX_01A AVENGERS_FUEL_VFX_03 CortanaIndex-large Emperor_Palpatine_DVD_Empire_Strikes_Back hologram-star-wars-science-fact-friday Home_One_briefing_room IM3_FUEL_VFX_07 pacific_rim_new PROMETHEUS_FUEL_VFX_04 prometheus-movie-image PwdFp rebel-briefing screen-shot-2013-04-29-at-11-05-22-am Star-Wars-holograph XMen3dTable YodaKashyyykHoloCouncil-ROTS tumblr_m4hofgl6zT1qfe3eko10_1280 3515688-im3_fuel_vfx_05 original TRON_GFX_SS_27 FUEL_IM3_BR0320.1037



Troy-Jeffrey Allen writes about action/adventure for Action A Go Go. He is a comic book writer whose works include, The Magic Bullet, Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse of Tall Tales, and the Harvey Award nominated District Comics. In addition, Allen has been a contributing writer for, OfNote Magazine, and His work has been featured in the City Paper, The Baltimore Sun, Bethesda Magazine, The Examiner, and The Washington Post. Yes, he wrote this bio.