Genre – DYSTOPIADystopia – opposite of utopia (perfect), so it’s an imperfect world
Generic conventions • Dystopian worlds: Fictional place or state where everything is unpleasant or bad. • Dystopia explores Postmodern themes through the challenging narrative themes. • Narratives take place in the aftermath of a disaster. E.g. war, plague, alien invasion, disasters etc. • Most post-apocalyptic ‘disasters’ have a man-made cause. • Relate to real-time fears in society. E.g. Cold war, medical advances, environmental change etc. • Agrarian societies often develop: return to pre-industrialised soc. • The possibility of human demise: survivors struggle for existence! • These films create the sense of finality and in some instances a new beginning/ survival / re-birth. Character types • Heroic male protagonist • ‘Post-Modern Cowboy’ – loner, pushed into action, constant threat and violence for him (survives against the odds) • Groups/tribes who seek to profit from violent anarchy. • Human surviver group - small group from the pre-apocalyptic modern world, struggling to survive in the savage new world. • The Helper – Often from the alien/infected race who assists the hero in his quest for resolution.
Sub Genres Science fiction – a sense of ‘science gone wrong’ where future is controlled by a ‘big brother’ scenario relating to fears in society. Post-Apocalyptic – end of the world scenario with limited survivors. Horror – Presenting a chaotic world of mutants or Zombies created from human genetic research.
Timeline – Historical Context • Pre War (1920s) – Fear of mass production, totalitarianism, modernist critique, Big Brother style scenarios. E.g. Metropolis (1927) • Post War – Cold War fears, Nuclear Armageddon, Fear of invasion, Post apocalyptic ideas. E.g. Planet of the Apes (1968) • 70/80s – Fears of technological advancements, genetic modification, computer and robotic power, authoritarian states E.g. Blade Runner (1982), The Terminator (1984) • 90s and now – Fears of cloning, genetics, dystopic themes, environmental disaster, using postmodern ideas of Hybrid genres and pastiche. E.g. 28 Days Later (2002), District 9 (2009)
28 Days LaterDanny Boyle (2002) Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary. - IMDB • Post Apocalyptic theme – infection ‘rage’ virus. Plays with real life fears of human race being killed out. • Male Protagonist/Post-modern cowboy, reluctant, • Unexpected hero. Alienated • Confused helper, reluctant • Disruption at the beginning, no hints of resolution in trailer • Follows the narrative structure by Todorov.
The RoadJohn Hillcoat (2009) A post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his son trying to survive by any means possible. - IMDB • Post- apocalyptic theme – America burned and freezing conditions. • Plays with real life fears of another ‘ice age’. • Male protagonist/post modern cowboy – Forced into danger • Helper – His family, reluctant helpers
Planet of the ApesFranklin J. Schaffner (1968) An astronaut crew crash lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved. - IMDB • Post Modern narrative – World run by apes and humans are seen as the ‘animals’. • Plays with real life fears/concerns about what could be on other planets • Disruption when one of the humans becomes captive by the apes for experimentation. • Follows Todorov’s narrative structure.
TerminatorJames Cameron (1984) A robotic assassin from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to eliminate a waitress, whose son will grow up and lead humanity in a war against machines. - IMDB • Post Apocalyptic theme – robot from the future with a mission to kill. Plays with real-life fears of the future and fears of technological advancements • Female protagonist – post modern as stereotypically the protagonist is male/post modern cowboy – forced into danger unknowingly. • Helper from future (post-modern), knows what’s going on – not the stereotypical helper who normally doesn’t know what’s going as well as protagonist. • Antagonist – Robot from the future disguised as human. Disruption at the beginning of trailer, no real hints of resolution