When I look at the definition of dystopia according to Merriam-Webster.com, I notice some very vague points that could be interpreted in different ways by different people. The definition states that people live wretched and fearful lives in dystopias; however, doesn’t that already describe some of the humans we see on this earth today? Since the U.S. isn’t considered to be a dystopia, I believe this definition could be revised. Defining a dystopia, I would say it is an imaginary society in which humans live in a dehumanized state where they constantly fear the outside world, cloaked by a seemingly pristine society under totalitarian rule. However, depending on one’s experiences and perceptions of dystopia, there is no one definition. There are three movies that greatly shaped my definition.
In “Children of Men”, the government is very oppressive and does anything to maintain its control over the population. Even though there is an infertility crisis, the government only cares about controlling the masses. The very few remaining people are plagued by poverty, lack of freedom, hopelessness, and fear of the corrupted government.
In “Equilibrium”, society is controlled by a totalitarian system. They force survivors of the Third World War to take an emotion-suppressing drug in order to end future wars. They use strict surveillance, regulations, and a dedicated police force that hunts down those that refuse to take the drug. The government is willing to do anything to maintain control, even if it means killing its citizens.
Unlike the other examples I provided, “Divergent” started out in a seemingly utopian society. In this movie, people are divided into five factions based on their personalities. Everything is regulated by the government and it seems like a utopia. However, we later see that those who aren’t willing to conform are eliminated. Later, the factionless decide that they’re the only ones fit to rule, so they decide to abuse their power and try to rule over the entire society. This was the final step in turning a seemingly utopian society into a dystopia.