By Kaylee Brewster
Films often attempt to predict the future. Sometimes they are fun-filled adventures in space. More often they are bleak, desolate worlds where humanity hangs on the brink of extinction.
Here are some potential futures that filmmakers have imagined so that when the future arrives we’ll know what category we fall into and what we can expect.
Let’s not live there totalitarian dystopia
Characteristics: This is the most commonly portrayed potential future. The government or a big corporation takes over our lives. Everyone in society is under surveillance by the police and military. Often people have no choice in their career/love decisions and art is banned or censored. Hope arrives when someone challenges authority to free the people.
Films: “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Giver,” “Soylent Green,” “Minority Report,” “Total Recall (1990, 2012),” “Equilibrium,” “V for Vendetta,” “Metropolis,” “Demolition Man,” “Brave New World,” “Logan’s Run” and “Brazil”
Smells like teen dystopia
Characteristics: In an unspecified future, the world is controlled by some oppressive government that targets teens. A tough girl usually leads a rebellion of hardened or well-trained peers. This dystopian government often categorizes people according to personality, ability or career. Officials also control the technology that keeps the people in check, so the rebels often must resort to old-fashioned or modified weapons.
Films: Series include “Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” “Maze Runner” and “Darkest Minds”
Bring on the bleak with a cyberpunk future
Characteristics: Cyberpunk combines lowlife with high tech; so while there may be cities full of crime and poverty, at least you’ve got the latest gadget. This future has some cool things, like flying cars. However, it also has genetically altered/physically altered/cyborg humans with brooding personalities, which is not so fun. It’s full of dark exterior shots of cities brightly lit by electric signs. The natural world is largely absent. Often there is an overdependence on technology.
Films: “Blade Runner,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “Ghost in the Shell (1995, 2017),” “Judge Dredd (1995),” “Dredd (2012),” “Robocop (1987, 2014),” “12 Monkeys,” “The Fifth Element,” “Ready Player One” and the “Terminator” and “The Matrix” series
Heading to the stars with space exploration
Characteristics: Maybe humans messed up Earth so bad we needed to find a new home, or maybe we were just curious. Whatever the case, this type of movie centers on people in space, visiting distant planets populated with aliens and helpful robots. These films may feature intergalactic tyrants and rebels or quiet unexplored galaxies. Of all the sci-fi futures, these have the potential to be the most fun — provided our alien friends don’t eat us.
Films: “Interstellar,” “Passengers,” “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” “WALL-E” and the “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” series
Pick your poison wasteland apocalypse
Characteristics: Toxic nuclear waste explosion, famine, drought, flooding, ice storms — you get the idea, the world is not what it used to be. There is desolation, abandoned cities and quarantine zones. Groups of survivors fight or work together to obtain the limited resources left. There is usually a marauding gang of bad guys. People don’t typically venture outside without a gas mask, a gun or both. Survivors sometimes come together to save what’s left of humanity.
Films: “Mad Max” series, “Water World,” “Snowpiercer,” “Doomsday,” “The Road” and “The Book of Eli”
The (fill in the blank) are coming
Characteristics: Whether it’s aliens, zombies or vampires, something has taken over Earth. Similar to the nuclear/climate apocalypse genre, there is desolation, abandoned cities and clusters of survivors. However, in this future survivors fight invaders instead of each other for limited resources. The battle may be to take back the planet or a struggle to find a cure, as in the case of a zombie apocalypse.
Where you can see it film: “I am Legend,” “A Quiet Place,” “Pacific Rim,” “Daybreakers” and the “Planet of the Apes” series