Happy 4th of July everyone. Today we Americans get to celebrate the birth of our country by eating too much, drinking copious amounts of booze, and then when we’re just about to pass out, play with explosives. Take that Belarus! In your face Mongolia! Catch you on the flip side Latveria! Since we all love freedom so much, let’s take this opportunity to actually recognize what we have. This week’s High 5 will take a look at what the world would look like with either too much control, or not enough control. There are some movies that tackle the subject quite well. So let’s hear it for the dystopias!
5. 12 Monkeys (1995)
I loved the world that 12 Monkeys takes place in. Half of the movie is in the present, the other half in the future. Its this future that would be classified as the dystopia. If you haven’t seen the movie, first, shame on you, and secondly, here’s a brief synopsis. Bruce Willis lives under ground with the rest of humanity after a worldwide viral epidemic renders the Earth’s surface uninhabitable. He is used by the ruling body as an experiment to find out what happened, and by time traveling, to try to prevent the catastrophe from occurring. However, there is a catch, he may be insane. In the present he is classified as a mental patient that no one believes.
4. The Road Warrior (1981)
The Road Warrior was my gateway drug into the post apocalypse. Its prequel, Mad Max, was enjoyable, but I didn’t think it went far enough. Its Sequel, Beyond Thunderdome, entered the levels of campy. So that leaves the Road Warrior as the Goldie Locks of the trilogy. We never get beyond the small scale government, but we don’t need to. This is a violent world filled with monsters that want to use up the resources of the many to provide for the few. It’s a Might Makes Right world that seems to mirror some of the problems of today’s society. I could have used the Book of Eli in the spot as well, and I am giving it an honorable mention.
3. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
A Scanner Darkly is a very interesting movie. It takes place in a futuristic society that has lost the war on drugs. Keavu Reeves play a cop trying to catch his district’s biggest pusher of red death, a drug that causes paranoid schizophrenia. The catch is, he’s also an addict, and his alternate personality IS his area’s biggest pusher. Philip K. Dick sure knew how to write crazy. To add to the feel of the world where nothing you see may be true, the entire film has been rotoscoped over. I think it was a great decision, and really made the movie memorable.
2. Children of Men (2006)
Children of Men might be the most well-made movie of the last 15 years. Its based off a book I haven’t read yet, but is on my list. The production value makes the world these people are in feel real. If you’ve never seen the movie, then we’re going to have a hard time being friends, and if you hated the movie, please do not tell me. Normally I am all for truth, but there are some things that can’t be denied (The same goes from Sam Rockwell being the coolest white man alive). So any way, in a world where childbirth has been lost to humanity for nearly 20 yours, you can imagine that society might go to hell in a hand basket.
1. Blade Runner (1982)
That Philip Dick can sure make a good story. His second appearance on a list of dystopias should come as no surprise. As most of you know, I love Dick. I can never get enough Dick. I love short Dicks, I love long Dicks. There isn’t a dick made that I don’t love. In fact if there was a ship commissioned in his honor and it sank, I would be honored to go down on that Dick. Dick is infectious. Once you’ve had it, you crave it. I still remember my first Dick. I wrapped my child like hands around it, curious and a little afraid. I swallowed it up and asked for more.
So what dystopian worlds light your fires?
P.S. Happy Birthday America.