Over the years, science fiction movies, and pop culture as a whole, have been obsessed with the words “post-apocalyptic” and “dystopian.” Just take a look at the movies released this past year such as Oblivion, The World’s End, This Is The End, World War Z, After Earth, Elysium, and Pacific Rim. We still have movies like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Snowpiercer to look forward to this year, not to mention the most popular show on TV at the moment is The Walking Dead, a series that shows the world in ruins. Something about the end of times has Hollywood and audiences coming back for more.
The good people at Movies.com put together an impressive supercut of post-apocalyptic and dystopian futures as depicted in popular movies. What is it about the end of the world that has audiences interested? With all the problems facing the world, like global warming, endless war, and rampant poverty, it’s easy to see why writers, directors, and authors take to this route in their movies and books. People do love watching the world come to an end.
The video is well put together with a strong science fiction feel to it. The groundwork for sci-fi has always been somewhat of a cautionary tale. Some stories in the genre are set in the future to show how far man will go to control others or to conquer nature. Somehow in the end, humanity always loses out. The dystopian theme is usually that of satire, as it’s the easiest way to speak about the contemporary world without being too exact.
One of the voiceovers in the video comes from François Truffaut’s film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, one of the most popular novels when it comes to depicting a dystopian future. “There’s nothing there. The books have nothing to say,” points to a future where the government controls its citizens in a world without books and reading. It’s haunting.
With this trend running rampant in Hollywood, it’s actually surprising that only one of the top ten highest grossing films of 2013 features a post-apocalyptic and dystopian future. The Brad Pitt-produced World War Z has been a big moneymaker for Paramount Pictures, after early buzz surrounding the film was mostly negative because of the production’s many problems, including numerous re-writes and re-shoots. The zombie-apocalypse movie grossed $536.5 million worldwide against a $190 million production budget. There are even plans forming for a possible trilogy. Rounding out the top 30 highest grossing movies is Elysium, Oblivion, This Is The End, and Pacific Rim.
It’s going to be interesting to see how long the dystopian future trend in Hollywood will last. While it would be virtually impossible to set a sci-fi film in a utopian future because it would take away satire, caution, and conflict. Ultimately, any good genre movie should be something more than just entertaining. It should also make you think about yourself and the world you live in today.
Can you name all the movies in the video? Here’s a hint: There are 60 in total.