The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Giver – these are just a few of the many dystopian movies that have been released in the past few years. Their story lines are quite different, but they revolve around one central element: an imaginary society in which oppression and injustice are prevalent. Sounds like a pretty disheartening theme, but many people nowadays have developed a love for dystopia. Why? Why watch movies that feed off negativity?
Maybe it’s our obsession with imagining the future. We hear about the downturns of our society all the time – global warming, mass shootings, disease, and general unfairness. It makes us evaluate our current situation in such depth that we begin to contemplate the future. Twenty years from now, if nothing is done to reduce the effects of global warming, what would happen to the climate? Would some countries be completely underwater? And what if a deadly disease decimates most of the population? How would the people left behind survive?
It’s these types of questions that solidify our interest in the phenomenon of consequences. After all, every action has a reaction, and every cause has an effect. One event tips off a chain reaction of events, like a row of Dominoes falling one after the other. It’s a concept that intrigues many and heavily dominates dystopian movies. In Divergent, the government seemingly maintains social stability by requiring everyone to join a faction that is tied to a specific personality. Yet, by such a method, individuality is quenched. This makes us, as an audience, think about what would happen if the government ever tried to tie us down to an oppressive system, one in which being your true self is considered a threat.
Even The Giver raises some important questions: does the government have the right to withhold information? Is censorship wrong, even if it’s implemented to protect people from painful truths? Through dystopian movies, people have the chance to explore such thoughts. Suddenly, the future isn’t something that can be reached only through a long expanse of time; dystopia makes it a vision that can be altered in multiple ways.
After all, real life is a daily experience. The future, of course, is not. That’s why dystopian movies have creeped into our hearts and minds. They’re not only good entertainment, but also a visual of our most thought-provoking questions.