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As we near the end of the semester, a lot of the technologies we are discussing are either in
their infancy or have yet to become more than science fiction. With that in mind, then, your
final project will focus on a film that explores a hypothetical “future” reality – one that relies on
technology that doesn’t yet exist, but that may very well exist in the future. You will examine
the technology, the impact it has on the world within the context of the movie, and what lesson
our current society might take away from the film’s storyline.
Each of these movies shows a dystopian society – that is, an imagined state or society in which
there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic.
Dystopias have long been a staple in modern storytelling, as a way to explore the possible
negative outcomes of a particular path, be it social, environmental, political, or technological.
For example, one of the most popular recent dystopian films is The Hunger Games, which
explores a world in which society is rigidly hierarchical; this context shows the potential
negative outcomes of the political caste system.
Select one of the films below to base your project on. Some of these are available on Netflix,
Hulu, or other streaming platforms. You might also be able to borrow a physical copy of the dvd
from the CCCC library.
Ender’s Game (2013)
I, Robot (2004)
Judge Dredd (1995 – original version)
RoboCop (1987 – original version)
The Terminator (1984)
You’ll need to submit your choice via the topic selection checkpoint, so make sure you actually
have access to the movie before you submit that checkpoint!
Note: If you have a different movie in mind that you’d like to analyze for this project, email me
about it before submitting the checkpoint. There are quite a few films out there that I haven’t
seen that would work well for this project — as long as A) the film shows a dystopian society,
and B) there is some sort of “future” technology that plays a central role within the film.
Part I: Written Analysis
You analysis will consist of 4 parts. Label each section accordingly. All told, your analysis should
be 3-4 pages long.
1. Movie Summary:
Provide a brief recap of the overall plot of the movie (no more than half a page long)
What is the primary technology? Explain it in layman’s terms so your classmates can easily
understand. Theorize how close we might actually be to having that technology in our own
(Note: Many of these movies include multiple kinds of theoretical technology. Your focus
should be on the BIG one. For example, the characters in your film might use fancy future
laser guns, but the BIG tech is the ability to travel in time – so focus on that aspect.)
3. How the technology impacts the movie world:
First, explain how the movie world is dystopic – i.e., what is the “great suffering or injustice”
within the society.
Then, explain what role the technology plays within that society. Has it had a positive or
negative impact? Did the creators of the tech expect it to be used for good, or were they
planning to use it for their own gain? Regardless of the original intentions, what are the
negative repercussions of that technology?
4. The lesson:
What lesson is the audience supposed to take away from this movie? What is the film
“warning” us might happen?
To return to the example of The Hunger Games: This series can be viewed as a warning to
make sure that we do not allow our society to become so stratified that entire groups of
people are locked into political castes from which there is no escape – particularly, not to let
the “elite” (or in our society, the super-rich) take control of all of the political power.