I have been trying to think of a good way to share my favorite movies with you without trying to create like a top 10 or something, because it is humanly impossible for me to pull that off, I’ve tried. So I have decided to divide them by absurdly specific genre categories. So, one of my favorite kinds of movies, these are my top 7 Dystopian Future Movies.
7. Resident Evil
Now, I may have to make an argument for this belonging here. I think the future movies definitely justify this placement, but the first one is by far my favorite, while the others are very fun. It’s also kind of a horror series since it’s based in zombies, but by far the most interesting part of the movies is the alternate identities of Alice, (and who is she really?) and Umbrella corporation running the world aspect, so I am going to place it here instead of in horror. Now enjoy this trailer that’s a decade old now:
This movie follows Alice, an agent for the Umbrella Corporation suffering from amnesia, and a group of others through Umbrella’s “The Hive.” “The Hive” is an underground complex where they produce presumably many things, but also biological-warfare style diseases. They have created a toxin that causes the undead, and when the toxin is accidentally released the facility is sealed off.
A team is sent to figure out what happened and make sure the virus can’t be spread, and they enter through the entrance concealed within Alice and her fake husband’s house, taking them with them. Once they get down however, they discover that the people aren’t just dead, from the virus or the system (who takes the shape of a little girl,) but are actually undead, and willing to attack.
They must then fight their way through “The Hive” (and its system trying to keep them, and therefore the virus, contained within) and the zombies to a train in order to escape. Being bitten by a zombie spreads the virus, causing them to die and zombify as well. They also have to deal with a giant somewhat zombified creature considered a test subject (which makes you wonder if they were once human..) that is a much more formidable opponent. Only Alice and one man make it out, Matt, who is scratched by the creature.
When they reach the surface, they are jumped by Umbrella workers, who sweep Matt away (who will become Nemesis in the next movie. Clever name..) and she is taken to a hospital and monitored, presumably for signs of the virus. When she wakes up, she finds a destroyed Raccoon City, the T-virus has escaped their quarantine, and she is apparently immune. And as the world is pretty much destroyed in the next two subsequent movies, I am calling this a dystopian future.
6. V for Vendetta
This movie explores the downfall by revolution of a 1984-style government of complete control. Essentially, the government creates a virus that wipes out huge chunks of the world’s population in order to gain control of the world. One of their test subjects, V or roman numeral five, who survives the destruction of one test-facility/concentration camp, takes vengeance on those who did this to him, and therefore kills high-level government employees.
His rhetoric incites the people to revolution against the government, and he dies for his cause in the process. Natalie Portman of course plays a victim of the government’s rescued by V who essentially becomes his right-hand accomplice in changing the world. This movie was highly popular; but far and away the best parts of this movie for me are the beautifully written rhetoric and speeches of V, in the voice of Hugo Weaving, and the way the plot outlines how easily we could reach this place as the governments of the world go unchecked.
This is less technically a Dystopian Future and more an alternate history/future, meaning that if from the 1940s on, we had had masked superheroes, perhaps this is how the past to present would have existed, through the eyes of a comic artist essentially. However, this all leads to a very dystopian future. I love stories that rewrite a what-if kind of history, and make you think about how things change the course of history. My favorite part of the movie by far is the opening credits in which we see the rise and story of these masked heroes, and they recreate iconic images, like the “Kissing on VJ Day” in a new way, all set to some good old Bob Dylan (“Times They Are A-Changin’ “).
The whole plot though is clever and well-thought out, to the point that my explaining all of it is probably a little silly considering the popularity of the movie; but essentially, the movie is about creating a common enemy in order to put an end to the Cold War that continues on, and this common enemy, one of the heroes, is orchestrated as such by another of the former masked heroes. The best thing about this movie though is the filming which is vibrantly colorful, deeply interesting during the choices of the fight scenes, and the music is perfectly, uniquely paired with the movie throughout. An all-around masterpiece of artistic filmmaking.
4. Blade Runner
If you’ve never seen this 1982 classic, it is really a pre-requisite of a good sci-fi cultural knowledge, and the completion of Harrison Ford’s most iconic trio of characters (Hans Solo and Indiana Jones being the other two.) That trailer does a pretty good job of outlining the plot and giving you an idea of the future they live in.
It is a dystopian LA in 2019 (don’t think we’re going to get there in the next 7 years,) and replicants, nearly human robots, are used on other planets for dangerous or menial work, and they are banned on Earth. Harrison Ford’s job is to hunt down and destroy any that escape. This story is also essentially the story of Frankenstein, as we see what happens when man’s creation is able to think and feel like man, yet is still outcast from the world, and the hatred and pain this breeds.
While the whole movie is great, the most entertaining part is probably the strangest fight scene you will ever see between Ford and Daryl Hannah painted like a giant mime doll in rooms of toys. She does a lot of absurd acrobatics and at one point tries to suffocate and/or crush Ford’s head with her thighs.
3. The Matrix
When you take this movie out of context of the trilogy, it is still one of the greatest movies ever made. The effects were groundbreaking, and it is perfectly written. The plot full circles beautifully, and even Keanu Reeve’s stiff acting fits into the character that was written.
I really hope you’ve seen this movie, but if you haven’t, in this future, the machines rule the world after winning a war against the humans. However, in the battle against them, humans scorched the sky to try and prevent their power and ability to run, so now the machines use humans as batteries. And while the humans are chilling in hideous pink goo, juicing the world, their minds are kept busy in a system of manufactured reality called the Matrix (oh so clever since a matrix is a data set of numbers, like most programs.)
Keanu Reeves feels like his life is hollow in the Matrix and is released by a team of people who live out of it, fighting within it to free others. Keanu discovers by the end of the movie that he is the prophetic one meant to bring down the machines’ control of the human race, and kills one of their programs, the main agent in the Matrix, a Mr. Smith, who helps police it, a seemingly impossible task. (How great to be Hugo Weaving who got to be Mr. Smith, V and an elf king all so iconically?) At the same time, he falls in love in the real world (a rather dismal place,) with Trinity, or Carrie Moss, who kicks some major butt all on her own. All in all, this movie will stand the test of time. This is questionable for its sequels however.
2. A Clockwork Orange
Ironically in this list so far, I have dressed up for Halloweens as both Alice from Resident Evil and Alex from this movie.. True love.
Yes, I know, that slightly nauseating flashing trailer told you nothing about Stanley Kubrick’s (in my opinion) most iconic work of film. Sorry, that was the 1971 cult classic’s official trailer, I can’t help it. While this tells you nothing of the story, it does very accurately give you an idea of the hectic feeling of the movie. This is one of my favorite movies of any genre, and I fall asleep to it often. (I think it’s all that Beethoven that knocks me right out.) It is all those words they flashed at you, sardonic and disturbing and dark, and also deeply interesting and enlightening.
Set in the not so distant future (aka probably now since it was the ’70s,) this movie follows Alex, a member of a gang with a Beethoven obsession that fights other gangs, breaks into homes, rapes and kills women, and drinks a lot of milk. Alex is arrested for murder, and in prison tries to prove himself reformed. He ends up volunteering for a program that could get him released quickly that essentially conditions him to feel overwhelming nausea whenever he sees or is a part of violence or crime.
When he is released back into his former world however, he can no longer stand up for himself against those he abused before, his family, and his former gang members and victims, and instead he is made the victim by all.
Eventually, he ends up in a hospital where they re-condition him back to his former state, claiming he was greatly wronged in this whole process. He is remade into his jerky self. This movie leaves you wondering which is worse, the jerk or the man who can’t defend himself against the jerks.
For the most part, because it is so uniquely strange and set in a completely different version of this world, the effects and things hold up well as being part of this illusion. The unique language is fascinating to me, and something I firmly believe would come about with such a radically different world, (though not necessarily in quite this manner.)
1. 12 Monkeys
Again, one of my favorite movies ever, 12 Monkeys is set in a future where the majority of the world’s population was destroyed by a virus, and they now live underground.
Bruce Willis, a prison inmate, is sent back in time to find out more information about the release of the virus by an organization called 12 Monkeys by his government. Once there however, he is taken for crazy, and is eventually convinced he is crazy, and that he isn’t really traveling through time.
While in a nuthouse on his first trip, he meets Brad Pitt in one of his craziest and most entertaining roles as a cross-eyed, millionaire, crazy environmentalist who likes to gesticulate with his middle finger. His father is the owner and scientist behind a company that works with biological diseases and animal testing. Pitt eventually leads the group called 12 Monkeys, a radical environmental group who does not release the virus, but rather zoo animals.
Instead, the virus is released by a lone crazy technician of the company, and Bruce Willis is killed in the process of trying to stop him, and his child-self witnesses his adult death. The special effects will also never be detrimentally outdated because the technology is supposedly built by a low-grade rebuilding society. This movie is brilliantly written and crafted, and that brief summary doesn’t give the storyline anywhere near the justice it deserves, so if you’ve never seen it, it gets supremely high marks from me.
The moral of the story is, for the most part, the world as we know it will end by medical crafting and viruses. Good to know.