Post-apocalyptic/dystopian movie recommendations.
First of all, obviously I’m SUPER looking forward to Snowpiercer, despite the fact that Harvey Weinstein decided to "edit" out 20 minutes to make it more ~suitable for English-speaking audiences. However, since I haven’t seen it yet, I’m not reeeally sure what movies it will actually resemble. So here’s a list of my fave post-apocalyptic/dystopia movies. (Also, a blog post about the costume design of this genre, if you’re interested.)
- Children of Men. Essential viewing, particularly since it’s now so similar to present-day Britain. (We live in an IRL dystopia.)
- Blade Runner. Essential viewing.
- Doomsday. This is one of my favourite movies of all time, and is mostly set in Glasgow, Scotland. The protagonist is a one-eyed policewoman, and it includes steam trains, punk cannibals, an Adam Ant dance party scene, medieval jousting, Hadrian’s Wall, and about a zillion other truly ridiculous details. It’s by Neil Marshall (director of Dog Soldiers and, incidentally, the Blackwater episode of Game of Thrones), and I’ve written a full review of it (and its costumes) here at my blog.
- ’90s/’00s “slick” aesthetic dystopia movies. Equilibrium is pretty entertaining, Aeon Flux is TERRIBLE, Gattaca is meant to be good (although I haven’t seen it all the way through), and Minority Report is probably the best Philip K Dick adaptation apart from Blade Runner. The Matrix also probably falls into this category, but practically everyone has seen it anyway. If you’ve seen The Matrix, pick up an Invisibles comic (by Grant Morrison) because it’ll make The Matrix considerably more interesting.
- Black Mirror. Speculative fiction TV series by Charlie Brooker. Each episode is a different story, so you can watch any of them.
- Ghost in the Shell. There are a zillion cyberpunk anime shows/movies, but I’ve not seen most of them so Ghost in the Shell is my placeholder rec, specifically the movies.
- ’80s trash dystopia movies. Mad Max. Escape from New York. Rollerball (which I haven’t seen). The Running Man. Tank Girl. There are a ton of these movies, and they are almost all total garbage but very entertaining. I’ll watch pretty much anything that takes place in a dystopian “future” of 2015, where everyone wears leather and/or neon. Thanks to the popularity of urban cyberpunk and desert-themed post-apocalyptic/dystopian films in the ’80s, there are A TON of shitty B-movies in this genre, such as Cyborg 3: The Recycler. Plenty of them seem to star Malcolm McDowell as the villain — as does Doomsday, which was released in 2007 but directly references a bunch of ’80s dystopia movies. (Tank Girl is my particular recommendation from this sub-genre.)
- V for Vendetta.
- The Hunger Games. The books are super gripping, and the first film is a very good adaptation, albeit a little simplified. I have high hopes for the sequel, which looks like it’s gonna go pretty hardcore on the political dystopia aspects of the series. (Although I’m not wild about the rather unimaginative way they converted the costumes from page to screen.)
- Pacific Rim. Technically more of a monster movie than a dystopia movie, but I think it still counts. AND IT’S AWESOME. Never forget that Mako Mori is one of the best female action/fantasy heroes we’ve seen in years.
- Dredd. I’m super bummed out that Dredd wasn’t QUITE popular enough to warrant a sequel. It’s a simple but genuinely excellent dystopian action movie, and simultaneously caters to Judge Dredd fans and people who have no knowledge of the comics. My review can be found here.
Looking over this list, I’ve realised two things: 1) that I’m recommending like two thirds of the dystopian movies I’ve EVER seen, indicating that I’m pretty fucking biased, and 2) that the dystopia/post-apocalypse genre is surprisingly feminist compared to action or sci-fi cinema in general. Maybe these examples are skewed because I’m more likely to watch movies with good female characters, but Doomsday, V for Vendetta, Pacific Rim, Hunger Games, Tank Girl, Dredd etc all have women in the lead or joint-lead roles, all depicted in a really positive way. Children of Men and Blade Runner are the only two strong recommendations on this list that don’t have women in the lead role, but they both still have well-written female secondary characters.
[Making this rebloggable so people can add their own recs.]