The word utopia is used to describe a perfect society that provides an ideal environment for everyone living there. Like most perfect things, a utopia is more a concept than a reality, and if movies have taught us anything, most attempts at building utopian societies have been failures.
That does mean the more idealistic side of humanity isn't going to keep trying to build a perfect world. Here are a few movies that take place in a utopia. It's interesting to see how many there are, and what features their creators believed made them "perfect."
7 Gattaca (1997)
It could be a loose adaptation of the novel Brave New World, with both societies organizing their citizens according to their DNA, and segregating them from birth. Everyone is either "valid" or "invalid" and is assigned tasks according to their genetic information, all of which is stored in a central database.
Ethan Hawke plays the main character, Vincent Freeman, who was born outside the state eugenics program. As he progresses like an efficient, modern system, he starts to notice a few cracks and how he can fall through them. In the end, it's revealed that there are more "invalids" in the system than anyone thought.
6 Minority Report (2002)
Crime is one of the issues that humanity hopes the future can solve, and that's what makes the world of Minority Report such an idealized one. In this utopian world, criminals are apprehended before they even have a chance to commit crimes. What could possibly go wrong?
Based on the novel of the same name by Philip J. Dick, the story follows the career of John Anderton, the commanding officer of the Pre-crime Program. He gets caught up in his own system when the program accuses him of a future murder and finds out the method they've been using to find and imprison criminals isn't as perfect as everyone thinks.
5 The Truman Show (1998)
If a person can't be in an idealized world, they'll be happy to watch one on television. The Truman Show takes place in a location that's so perfect, it has to be fake, and it is. It's actually an elaborate television set, built to house and confine a single person, Truman Burbank.
The show is one of the most popular in television history, and although the viewers might see Truman's existence as idealized, he begins to understand he's imprisoned in a world that's artificial. When he decides he wants out, Truman's life takes a dystopian turn, and the folks at home have yet another drama to follow.
4 Her (2013)
It's such a tidy and well-ordered environment, populated almost entirely by modest nerds and their mostly uneventful lives. This dull but cheerful environment is the closest a lot of science fiction ever gets to a truly utopian society.
Theodore Twombly, the main character played by Joaquin Phoenix, falls in love with an upgrade to his computer's operating system in the midst of separating from his partner. Her takes place in a vague future time when computers have advanced in their capacity as thinking and learning machines, but there's the rub. By the end of the movie, the computers seem to have more capacity for progression and evolution than their human creators.
3 Metropolis (1927)
One of the earliest movies ever was also a science fiction story, and it took place in a society that was both a utopia and a dystopia. The storyline was ahead of its time, asking about the sentience of machines during a time that was still dealing with the effects of the industrial revolution.
The wealthy and privileged live in luxury while the workers, a mix of poor human beings and robots, are forced to exist in poverty. Freder, the oblivious son of the upper class, has a chance to meet with a woman named Maria who advocates for the poor. This inspires him to embark on a journey to try and reconcile the two groups.
2 Demolition Man (1993)
Viewers who think that a world with only two surviving fast food outlets will love the satire of Demolition Man. Unlike other movies in the same genre, this is an action-comedy, and although it presents an interesting vision it's more fun if taken less seriously.
John Spartan is the hero and law-man, played by Sylvester Stallone, and he's cryogenically frozen for 60 years along with notorious criminal Simon Phoenix, played by Wesley Snipes. It's comical to see their reactions to the idealized features of modern society, most of which are based on simulations and holograms as opposed to authentic experiences.
1 Logan's Run (1976)
Logan's Run was part of the science fiction wave of the 1970s that seemed to include everything from serious, speculative fiction to hyperactive pop culture action. Based on William F. Nolan's book, the future human population of Logan's Run lives an idyllic and peaceful life under a series of geodesic domes, but the catch is that resources are limited and nobody lives past the age of 30.
Logan 7, the main character, starts out as one of the authority figures who follow the law of Carousel but turns into a fugitive when he starts to question the rules he's enforcing. The great discovery of this non-utopia is the freedom to age naturally, a reaction to the modern expectation of eternal youth for mere human mortals.
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