Watch: Why Do We Love Dystopian Movies?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 - 4:32PM
Mad Max: Fury Road
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 - 4:32PM
Watch: Why Do We Love Dystopian Movies?
In 2015 alone, major movie studios are releasing an aggressive blitz of dystopian films, such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Terminator: Genisys, and YA adaptations like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (we also tend to like sequels). But why do we love dystopian movies so much? Here are four reasons we have a strange desire to watch our entire world fall apart:



Death Anxiety



Dystopian films, and particularly those of the post-apocalyptic variety, are fictional portrayals of real-world anxieties. Just as the ancient Sumerians used the Epic of Gilgamesh to cope with their fear of an unpredictable river, we use films like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ex Machina to take control of our fears of sentient killer robots and films like Mad Max to deal with our very legitimate fears of environmental destruction.

Wish Fulfillment



In the words of wise sage Louis C.K., "everything is amazing right now, and nobody is happy." In a perverse way, we might wish for an apocalypse on some subconscious level, because it would absolve us of our everyday responsibilities. Technology would fail, which means we would eliminate anxiety about staying in constant contact. Works like The Walking Dead (not to mention Freud) have explored this theme; that as terrible as it is, people are more authentic, more "themselves," when society is eliminated.

Guilt



Particularly "white guilt," as dystopian movies give rich white people an opportunity to pretend to be oppressed. "Dystopias" already exist in the real world to some extent, as depressed or war-torn countries are certainly dystopian compared to the average American's relatively pampered existence. But since studios are convinced that the moviegoing public only wants to see white men in main roles, sci-fi dystopias provide ample opportunity for white people to play the underdog.

Outrage



Dystopian movies tend to come in faster during rebuilding periods, while cultures are dealing with the aftermath of a crisis. There are several examples of this trend, including the onslaught of dystopian films right after the end of the Vietnam war.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Mad Max: Fury Road