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It's the end of the world as we know it

Dystopias are often used in science fiction films to explore the worst possible outcome of the ideals of the present. How has the depiction of the bleak future changed over time, and what themes, if any, emerge from era to era?

  • Very interesting topic that can be taken in quite a few directions in terms of focus. A couple cool things to look at with dystopian films is the effect that advancements in CGI has had in depictions of the future and connecting the themes to the political climate surrounding the era the film was made – Dominique Kollie 4 years ago
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  • I read a book that where the author mentioned her definition of a dystopia being the corruption of a utopia, and it got me thinking about the paradise we were trying for in a lot of dystopic movies. The first one that came to mind was Serenity, but there are so many. – chrischan 4 years ago
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  • I remember one of my professors mentioning that during the Cold War quicksand was used a lot more in movies as a physical representation of the uneasiness Americans were facing, I wonder if any similar themes or metaphors pop up in dystopias in different eras. – Rayna 4 years ago
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  • I think there is a current trend towards environmental dystopias in film, specifically the anthropocene that focuses on catastrophic global events that are caused by humans. I am thinking of films such as Snow piercer. – Treva 4 years ago
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  • There definitely seems to be more movies lately where we caused our own destruction, be it through technology (Terminator and its sequels), environmental negligence/manipulation (Snowpiercer), or trying to change people and then a disease breaks out. – chrischan 4 years ago
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  • Another way of approaching the topic could be to locate when dystopias first came about (in literature or film) and ask why this happened. I believe this happened at the same time as we began to imagine utopia. One is often seen as the flip side of the other (as brilliantly realised in the film '2001').Have a look at British Library publication 'Out of This World' for an overview of the topic. – Benedict Hadley 4 years ago
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  • perhaps it would also be a good idea to look at how this dystopian trend reflects on people's view and beliefs of the world now. dystopian writing is a more recent trend even if there have been significant writings in the dystopian genre before. I think focusing on the impact of dystopias in modern media would be a good way to narrow down this topic. – Jutor 4 years ago
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