Saturday, March 24, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Government-Themed Dystopian Future Movies

That's quite the mouthful, I know. There are quite a few parameters for this week's list, but with the just-released "The Hunger Games", we wanted to really dig into the genre, and present our favorites from the same origins. At first, just going with the dystopian theme seemed acceptable enough; but when we started really thinking about it, there are a lot of sub-genres in this category that, if all compiled in one broad list, would make for very messy and random assortments. By focusing more specifically on the aspect that really makes a movie like "The Hunger Games" terrifying, it gives you, the reader, a much more clean and focused selection.


Since we stated above that these lists will focus precisely on the government/social aspect of the genre, here are the dystopian types of films that will not be included:

-No alien films. If you were hoping for "Battlefield Earth" to show up, you're out of luck. 
-No post-apocalyptic films unless the governmental aspect in the aftermath is the main focus.
-And no robot films either (again, unless the robots are government mandated or controlled).
So without further ado, our top five Government-Based Dystopian Future movies....


Alex Schopp -

     1. The Running Man (1987)

I bet you're going to see a lot of this movie on our lists. If this isn't one of the greatest examples of nostalgic, futuristic sci-fi movies I've ever seen, then I don't know what is. Fun story. Lots of great action.
     2. Escape from L.A. (1996)
If it isn't clear by this point, I have an unhealthy love for this movie. This one is a combination of extreme government control, and complete anti-government, when he's on "the inside". Great premise though. Just watch the movie so I can stop telling you every week to do so!
     3. Blade Runner (1982)
Not incredibly high watchability for me (I imagine I'll take some flack for that comment), but still a great movie with really cool concepts. A master-craft of this genre.
     4. Logan's Run (1976)
The future is laughable in this 70's adaptation - and someone really needed to teach these guys how to shoot! - but the themes and tones are still very strong. My love for this movie kicks in when they first step out of the bubble and experience the sun for the first time in their lives, never even having known it was something that existed.
     5. In Time (2011)
This slot was originally to be held by "Children of Men", but since that movie isn't a lot of fun to watch, I thought I'd throw a wildcard into the mix. This movie has exactly the kind of ideals and concepts that make this genre great. It was interesting to watch, and while it rehashed a lot of the same tropes, it still managed to put new thoughts in my head for this subject.

Ben Foutch -

     1. Blade Runner (1982)

This is a masterpiece. It doesn't get much better than this.
     2. The Running Man (1987)
My love for this movie borders on unhealthy.
     3. Death Race 2000 (1975)
I will never get bored with this movie!
     4. Minority Report (2002)
Saw this in the theater in '02. Frickin' blew me away.
     5. They Live (1988)
Not too big on watchability, but it is definitely worth the time.

Derek Clem -

     1. Minority Report (2002)

Steven Spielberg is a Master of Sci-Fi.
     2. THX 1138 (1971)
George Lucas was a master of Sci-Fi.
     3. Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scott is a Master of Sci-Fi.
     4. Demolition Man (1993)
Of course Taco Bell won the Franchise Wars! I wouldn't expect anything less from them.
     5. V for Vendetta (2005)
"VoilĂ ! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."

Nathan Hinds -

     1. Minority Report (2002)

I'm not sure how to sum this movie up quickly, because there are so many things I want to get into. Simply put, this movie is crazy good, and ranks up there with my all-time favorite sci-fi films.
     2. Demolition Man (1993)
This movie is so damn cool. I wore my VHS tape out when I was a kid. Early 90's cheese at its absolute best, and definitely hits it's quota for one-liners. Plus, Sandra Bullock has never looked more hot than she does in this movie.
     3. The Running Man (1987)
Another movie I've probably seen at least 50 times. If we made a list for best made-up movie game, this would be at the top of my list.
     4. Blade Runner (1982)
I only saw this for the first time a couple of years ago, and it didn't disappoint. I still don't know how this movie never got pointed out to me earlier in my life; someone in my family has some explaining to do.
     5. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
This film was shown to me for the first time in my Freshman English class in high school. I expected to hate it, since I hated the class, but the movie really stuck with me. It was very creepy, but at the same time fascinating.

So there you have it, our top five films of the genre. Will "The Hunger Games" one day sit amongst these titles? Only time will tell. For now though, these are the films we feel most valuable to expanding your familiarity with the genre. No big surprise here, but the only film to hit on all of our lists was Ridley Scott's sci-fi masterpiece, "Blade Runner". There's no question that if you're venturing into this genre, this is a great place to start.

Otherwise, "Minority Report" and "The Running Man" showed up on three of the four lists, while "Demolition Man" was the only other film with multiple selections, making two appearances above.

As always, we encourage you to check out all of the films above and hope that they help to guide you in a better, broader appreciation for the genre.

What are your favorite films of this genre? Who's picks above impressed you the most?