I love dystopian stories. I love them (in part) because any story about the end of humanity is always a story about why humanity is worth saving, even when it is at it’s worst. But the other reason I love dystopian stories is that a dystopian story is always a confession of awareness and a call to action.
Nothing is new under the sun and that includes our worst nightmares. What makes dystopias scary is that they have already happened somewhere, or are already happening. For me, dystopian fiction has never been about “what if?” but “what are you going to do about it now that you know?”
The Handmaid’s Tale is already a reality for women of color. Fahrenheit 451 is an exploration of aspects of Stalin/Hitler’s rule. There is little to no difference between western socio-political landscapes and the ones portrayed in Children Of Men, The Hunger Games, etc.
I have seen a lot of liberal articles claiming with some degree of resigned smugness that The Handmaid’s Tale is already a reality in a tone that suggests this revalation is the point of that story. As if Margret Atwood unknowingly wrote about things that were already happening. Get a grip, people.
Atwood knew exactly what she was writing about. She knew that unethical illegal surrogacy practices were already rampant in non-western countries. But I’ll wager that she also knew that white women don’t pay attention to the struggles of non-western women unless they share that struggle.
A piece of Dystopian Fiction is not primarily written as a cautionary tale. You cannot warn people of something that is already happening. Dystopian fiction is almost always a call to action to help those that are already suffering and if you are so naive to think that dystopian fiction is ONLY cautionary then you haven’t been paying attention, have you? But now you know, so what are you going to do?
HEY, SPOILERS. I AM ABOUT TO SPOIL THE MOVIE LOGAN FOR YOU. THE WHOLE MOVIE. DON’T READ THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE LOGAN SPOILED FOR YOU. THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING ASSORTMENT OF WORDS YOU ARE ABOUT TO INGEST WITH YOUR EYES…
…Not that it matters. Because while the super R-rated and somber Logan has a solid 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it actually wasn’t all that great of a movie. Sorry, I know that upsets you, gentle reader, but if you’ve seen the way-better film that Logan completely ripped off you’d probably agree with me.
That film is Children Of Men. You know, the really, really good 2006 Alfonso Cuaron film about a not-too-distant future where our resources are limited and women can no longer make babies.
It might not be the fairest of metrics, but when you compare the two films you not only see how uncanny Logan’s plot is, but how fundamentally lacking it is in basic story structure and character development. Think of it like comparing Jackie Chan to Chuck Norris… if Chuck Norris was also two feet tall and incontinent.
“It was reasonable to struggle, to suffer, perhaps even to die, for a more just, a more compassionate society, but not in a world with no future where, all too soon, the very words “justice,” “compassion,” “society,” “struggle,” “evil,” would be unheard echoes on an empty air.”
Children of Men: Don’t Ignore the Background - Nerdwriter
A very interesting look at Alfonso Cuarón’s use of camera movement to linger on the background of a scene and his technique of taking references from iconic art pieces and grounding them in the film’s reality. Pay attention to how all of the techniques mentioned serve the story and bring authenticity to the world he creates.