Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Dystopia

Since I was still a kid, I’ve always been fascinated by movies about the future. I found that a depiction of the future is always open and through different people, different construct was displayed to my hungry eyes. Movies like Star Wars, Back to the Future and some pc games I’ve been playing fed me with different interpretations of the future. And later on, I was introduced to a more thorough definition of the future in form of utopia (a perfect world and often desired for but can never be achieved) and counter-utopia a.k.a. dystopia. I love the depiction of the future as a dystopia, where the world is superficially a haven for humanity but in truth, a rotten world to the core. Owh, and for that same reason I named my blog ‘Utopian Lies’ as to commemorate this world of ours through my eyes. Why? Because a few hundred years ago, our society could’ve been the most rotten and dysfunctional that people back then could ever imagined and yet, we see it as normal to our eyes. Maybe not too pleasing but hell, it’s our reality right?

Back to our discussion about dystopias, I was first introduced to such idea by watching the movie Blade Runner. Even though it was a box office flop, my brother managed to get a copy of the movie after we enjoyed playing the Blade Runner game in our old school PC. The grim environment, dark and gloomy display of the future kinda like switched my interest on. The movie touches quite a number of themes related to our mischievous acts through cloning, genetic engineering excessive wrongdoings in technologies. The depiction was so real and scary (if you could just pardon the 90s CGI) where Replikants (bioenginered or biorobotic beings) can be more ‘human’ than human. The thought of losing our humanity is one feasible result of how things are going right now, so open up your eyes people!



Figure 1.1 Blade Runner (final cut) trailer

There are a lot of dystopian depictions available in form of movies and through other medias. Another good example is the movie V for Vendetta where the world is presented as of a skewed present from a twist of history. Another dystopian favourite of mine would be Battle Royal, a famous Japanese movie that envisioned a death match approved by the government to curb teenager’s behaviours. The idea displayed there was crude and raw as the future would resort to such act in order to preserve their interest. In games, Fallout would be a good example of a post apocalyptic dystopian society as we explore the world and encounter people living in such place. To name other famous dystopian movies would be A Clockwork Orange, The Beach, Escape from NY and LA, Serenity, Tokyo 10+01 (Tokyo Eleven) and several others. Even Wall-E can be described as a dystopian movie as people left earth as it was heavily polluted in search for a new place to ruin.

Lately, I’ve been watching some stuff that caught my eyes. Particularly the movie Babylon A.D. as the future world depicted in the movie was soooo real (thanks to modern CGIs). The multi facet rotten society was elaborated meticulously with almost similar issues mentioned in Blade Runner and more (through observations and interpretations) plus the excellent visuals that accompanied them. The story was set in a not so distant future where Russia has collapsed to total chaos while America is a totalitarian advanced country under the Neolites (self proclaimed new religion of the future). I’m not gonna discuss the plots, just watch it your damn self. Everything about the movie was excellent but the ending was a bit off, to me.

Figure 1.2 Babylon A.D. official trailer

Owh, there’s also an interesting development that I found, in my opinion. An Ultraman series was made with a dark and depicted as a dystopian society. Of all the things in the world, Ultraman would be the last thing people would expect to see some dark theme being used but it was a reality in 2007 Ultraseven-X. The protagonist is a DEUS agent, something like a serious version of MIB hunting down aliens mimicking human. No more colourful suits and fantasy-childlike gadgets used, instead they don an all black long coats with a wrist communicator/gadget, a blaster and kick-ass martial arts ability. The world is displayed as if the people were lifeless, focused on their work and controlled by a government who preaches their ideas through mobile hologram monitors scattered all across the cities. I’ve always been a fan of Ultraman (since childhood) for source of utter entertainment with some message of good vs evil, friendship and justice. But in Ultraseven-X, the message and theme were expanded into something more than just that.
Im looking forward to more movies of this construct as being reminded of how the future would be kinda like makes us aware of the action we're taking at present. I'm also digging some old movies of the same theme like Stanley Kubrick's works and such. If you do have any recomendations, please let me know. =D

9 comments:

hana_lalalala said...

oh when i was a kid, i watched the hannah barbara cartoon "the jackson"
hahahha

it was about the future juga!

ngehehehe

Azzam?? said...

0.0
okayy..

The Caped Crusader said...

Azam ko penah men deus ex tak? Should be right up your alley.

And don't forget the upcoming fallout 3 also.

Jebon said...

hana_lalalala, the Jetsons lah! Cool gila cerita tu.. tapi paling best adalah Futurama. Fuu..

Azzam, cerita Duabelas Monyet (Twelve Monkeys) tu ala-ala dystopia juga.. Kan? Aku suka.

Dan A Clockwork Orange..lebih hebat dari ikan bakar Umbai. Fuu..

Azzam?? said...

hafriz: deus ex? pernah laa main.. and of course im looking forward to fallout 3 xD

jebon: a'ah, 12 monkeys.. lupa plak.. sangat twisted itu cerita! weihhh.. umbai.. lazat weii.. tak bleh kuar lagi dari sistem aku kelazatan sambal dia.. hu hu hu

HaDi said...

children of men.. layan gile..
tapi tk segempak A clockwork orange la.. itu jauh lagi gempak..

Azzam?? said...

hadi: children of men ye?? okayh.. bleh gak laa nanti aku search torrent.. and read review kat rotten tomatoes. xD

Anonymous said...

You have an interesting approach to the dystopian societies of the future. There are many great books that will blow your mind, if you’re into the dystopian theme.
But I was just wondering why are u so focused on the future. Why not think about today and u will see the extent of our very own dystopia which we are lead to believe is the norm which it has come to be. But is this the best kind of government we can have is there really a perfect government or is the dystopian type the only one that our brain capacity can come up with?
Well you’re talking about the future dystopian societies but what you need to realize is that we are living in a dystopian society right now. We are just kept in the dark.
Maybe they should make a movie to bring that to our attention.
And maybe you should focus your energy on that and see what you come up with.

Azzam?? said...

mr anonymous.. i've mentioned about how our current world could've been the worst ever dytopian society that people back then could think of. with the passings of times, perceptions and human thinking would progress as well. to judge our current world as dystopian would be an extreme. because by your definition, whatever is not utopian is dystopian. and we both know that utopia doesn't exist. and thus if u're to stick with that... people in the glorious days of Islam are dystopian as well.. this is where the norm concept should kick in.. and we act according to our ability and capacity.. not extremely change the world overnight. about making a movie.. =D i'd totally love to... problem is.. it wont sell in malaysia and i'd go bankrupt! hahahahaha