I read the news today, oh boy… Let’s face it, things aren’t great these days. The planet is burning, our oceans are clogged with sewage and trash, the air is increasingly unfit to breathe, and evil geriatric idiots are entrenched in positions of power.

But hey, at least cinema can cheer us up! So, let’s take a cinematic vacation to ten dystopian futures from movies that are now a distinct upgrade on our horrible reality.

Blade Runner

Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 take place in a dark, dingy world in which capitalism has run rampant, the environment has been destroyed, and all-powerful corporations enslave sentient beings. This may sound kinda familiar.

However, Blade Runner also has flying cars, robot owls, and at least the possibility of escaping off-world. As far as I’m concerned that’s a distinct upgrade on what we currently have. Plus, who doesn’t like neon lights and a delicious noodle dinner?

Demolition Man

Sylvester Stallone’s under-rated 1993 action romp Demolition Man presents us with a nightmare future in which almost everyone is *sob* really nice. The horror! Offensive language is punished with a fine, cigarettes are banned, eating meat is off the cards, violence is vanishingly rare, and they’ve made incredible advances in the field of ass wiping.

Stallone does his best to convince us we should prefer awful ’90s comedians and rat burgers. As far as I’m concerned, gimme the three seashells. I’ll figure it out eventually.

Minority Report

In 2002, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg chilled us to the bone with a vision of the United States without murder. Minority Report‘s 2054 looks like a clean and shiny time to live, with most environmental and social problems. The real sticking point is the police using “pre-crime” psychics to stop murders before they happen.

As per the movie, this program has eliminated almost every pre-meditated murder for six years. So naturally Tom Cruise must put a stop to this and Make America Murder Again. I say chill out Tom, even the best ointment has the occasional fly in it.


I’ll hold my hands up and admit that WALL-E‘s abandoned garbage ball Earth is pretty crappy. However, let’s face it, humanity isn’t doing so bad in outer space. You may have quibbles with the BnL corporation having total power over infantilized humans rendered morbidly obese after generations in microgravity but those hover-chairs look extremely cozy.

Would it really be so bad kicking back in a futuristic EZ-boy and letting a robot take care of the hard stuff? Recolonize a ruined Earth? Eh, sounds like hard work.

War for the Planet of the Apes

Humanity may have brought art and science to the cosmos, but we’ve also gobbled up our own ecosystem and inflicted unimaginable acts of cruelty on our fellow animals. So, while War for the Planet of the Apes does indeed depict a pretty miserable world, at least those living in it can look forward to a brighter ape-focused future and not a slow slide into ecological armageddon.

This movie also reveals that Simian Flu has mutated and is now rendering humans mute. Finally, some peace and quiet.

The Matrix

Agent Smith had a point when he described humans as a “virus”. In this universe, it was humankind who blacked out the skies and mistreated machines, so really they were just doing us a solid when they trapped humanity in a detailed computer simulation of the real world.

Even better, within the Matrix it’s permanently 1999! Imagine enjoying the pre-release hype for The Phantom Menace on repeat, irony-free vibing to Cher’s “Believe”, being upbeat about the prospects of the Sega Dreamcast, and wearing extraordinarily baggy jeans without fear of mockery! It’s time to admit Cypher was right. Jam that spike into my head port, robolords!

Logan’s Run

We live in a creaky gerontocracy. The President is an octogenarian, the average age in the Senate is 64 and in Congress, it’s 58. Perhaps it is simply time to clear away the dead wood and let younger minds who actually have a stake in the future make decisions. How to solve this conundrum? Well, Logan’s Run had the right idea — just murder everyone who reaches the age of 30.

The benefits are obvious: a drastic reduction in healthcare needs, pop culture that looks forward rather than back, and the ability to live life like there’s no tomorrow. “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Good advice.

Mad Max

I will concede that living in a sand-blasted post-apocalyptic Australian desert isn’t for everyone, but at least in Mad Max the end of the world has already happened. Get yourself in the good graces of the local skull-adorned warlord and you might even have a pretty fun life once you cobble together some armor from old tires and spikes.

Would I rather be rattling across the dunes at a hundred miles an hour huffing spraypaint and screaming at the top of my lungs or sitting behind a desk filling out a spreadsheet and gagging down bad coffee? Seems like an easy call.


There are a lot of things wrong with Idiocracy‘s future, but when it comes to picking Presidents, they have us beat. Enter Terry Crew’s President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, who on first appearance seems to be a joke, but eventually proves to be far more competent than any recent inhabitant of the White House.

Consider this: when faced with a serious problem, President Camacho admitted he couldn’t fix it himself and searched for the most competent person for the job. Yes, he did then put said person on trial, but soon admitted he was wrong and pardoned him.

Camacho also stood up to big business and, when he lost an election, graciously admitted defeat and endorsed his more competent opponent. We should be so lucky to have politicians like Camacho.


On one hand, 1984 depicts a world in which individual thought is destroyed, with people living hyper-controlled lives where any dissent is brutally stamped out by the threat of rat-based head interactions. Love is out, hate is in, and Big Brother controls all.

On the other… complementary gin on tap?

Tough call. Seriously.

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