How do post-apocalyptic films reflect contemporary concerns? (Essay Opening)

Post-apocalyptic films are repeatedly critiques of contemporary concerns which have spiralled out of control and forced civilisation to take a turn for the worst. The question is, how do film makers decide which events will be the ones to escalate? These films typically show us a dystopian future in which elements from the past and present are used to create a story, which often include characters who are trying to escape. These stories depict our fear that contemporary concerns are causing society to turn negative. In essence, most post-apocalyptic films represent the future as a detrimental place; a typical dystopian film creates an image of government or society “attempting to exert control over free thought/authority/energy/freedom”1. Some other films focus on discrimination and limitations based on factors such as genetics, fertility, intelligence and age. All of these factors tend to lead to the idea of the government collapsing, which then, after a film’s release, can link to a circulation of conspiracy theories, reflecting contemporary society and government issues. The characters are often fighting against the laws or ways of the government, leading to violence and further problems. For example, Logan’s Run (1976) and Nineteen-Eighty-Four (1984).

The idea of different themes flowing through these films demonstrates how film makers think thoroughly as to which contemporary events could be included and lead to events presented in the film, allowing the fiction to seem realistic and believable. For example, the conspiracy theories about the world’s end in 2012 was made into a film, which followed the theories and ideas about how and why it would happen. This made the film seem more realistic as it was set soon after the film’s release date (2009) and it led more people to believe that the world really was going to end. Another example of scaring the audience into how believable the film is, is Children of Men (2006) which is focused on the idea of infertility and immigration. The UK is portrayed in such a state of crisis, and “it is scary because it could only take 2-3 years for the UK to fall into that place” and “there is a gentle reminder of problems that the UK has come up against in the past”2. This demonstrates how fear factor is a huge element to post-apocalyptic films, and that it is simply achieved by over exaggerating a contemporary aspect.



(Numbers are connected to sources on word document)


11 thoughts on “How do post-apocalyptic films reflect contemporary concerns? (Essay Opening)

  1. A very good introduction which keeps to the point, explaining the different types of post-apocalyptic scenarios and their effect on the audience and wider society. You also managed to use a good range of media terms.

  2. overall I belive this is a very good opening section to your essay, not only because it is well referenced but the confident use of media terminology shows that not only do you have an interest in the topic but you also know what youre talking about. the fact that just in the introduction you have refferenced two sources and presented four films as examples shows you have clearly worked hard on you reseach.

  3. abiclaytonx says:

    I really agree with you when you say that ‘fear factor is a huge element to post-apocalyptic films, and that it is simply achieved by over exaggerating a contemporary aspect.’ This genre is extremely used to using modern conspiracies and thoughts and turning them in to reality on screen and the way you have explained this is very good. You have set up your essay very well. It makes me think about what they could think of next – for example the new film ‘How I Live Now’ which is released next week is based around the idea that a 3rd world war has broken out and people are fighting to survive. This could be a good example to use in the rest of your essay as it may have modern social media examples and contemporary texts that you would find useful.

    I loved reading this and I find this topic really engaging and it is very well written – showing your clear knowledge and understanding of your chosen topic. You have chosen great examples and you make sure you identify all your sources which is very useful and makes your essay look organised and precise. I’m looking forward to reading more. 🙂

  4. An intresting subject to write your critical investigation on, I think there are a lot of directions you could go with it and a wide variety of sources you could collect. You introduction is strong because it has the definition of a post apocolyptic film, and it clearly labels sources you have used which already shows it will be an organised piece of work. I disagree with the fact that it made people believe 2012 was going to happen after the film was released, maybe you could explore both arguements in your essay. Obviously I can’t predict where you are going with your essay but you should also consider the differences between films set in the UK and the US and which audience is ‘more’ likely to be concerned. Overall a great piece 🙂

  5. i really liked this but have you contemplated of expanding into other areas if media such as gaming as there are many examples of post apocalyptic games out there that you can use for reference whch may be helpful to you but besides from that i rthink this is a brilliant start keep it up.

    • I have considered the idea of gaming but I think that’s going to expand my essay title too much- although I could mention Resident Evil breifly maybe since the film was inspired by a game.

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