The Appeal of Dystopian Sagas

Have you ever questioned why some people are obsessed with dystopian sagas, or maybe even why you are?

Dystopian sagas bring closure to our fear of world ending events. With climate change, white supremacist organizations threatening to take over the country, AI slowly taking over our world, and the oh so logical thought that we may be turning into zombies because of the covid vaccine. Dystopian films show us a future beyond any of these very unhinged catastrophic events. They do this and they also bring us romance, laughter, and tears all in a nicely packaged saga of at least 3 films.

The common denominator between the hugely successful and popular films (Hunger Games, Divergent and Maze Runner) is that we have teens literally fighting for their lives (may I mention not just teens but within the bounds of the societal constructs of beauty, hot teens). Divergent presents us with what we all want to be: someone who doesn’t fit into any category and thereby destroys the preconstructed society. Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) saves the world by being an outlier and also somehow finds love with Four (Theo James) who fits into Eurocentric beauty standards (i.e. he is objectively hot). Divergent restores the faith of those who believe they are different, a big fish in a pond of small fishes. It also sells us an illusion of love, because you are obviously going to find love in the aftermath of a catastrophic event when you can’t even seem to get a decent situationship now.

Hunger Games explores the politics of the 1% taking for granted the lives of the 99%, as if this is not happening already. It challenges the politics of a tyrannical system where not only the people have no say, but they live in complete poverty while the people at the Capitol live with glamorous luxuries. Political situations like this are relevant to today’s discussions. Despite the dystopian world created in Hunger Games it shows many real issues current tyrannical societies face such as human rights violations, hunger, and poverty. If only Cuba and North Korea had their very own Kat (Jennifer Lawrence).

We also observe the same idea in which the 1% takes for granted human life and treats people like experiments in Maze Runner. Maze Runner literally takes place in an experimental maze where the teens don’t know it yet, but they are the cure to a global pandemic. Sounds familiar? Well in the prequel The Kill Order it is explained how Earth experienced sun flares that scorched the Earth, and with there being more people than resources the government decided to infect people with a virus so a few could die off; the plan was horribly executed and instead of only infecting a few it turned into a zombie pandemic. The Maze Runner showed a very scary view into what can become of us, and it also added yet another set of mid-twenty actors playing teens with qualities so extraordinary that only they can save the world as the outliers they are. And for the sake of continuity this set of teens, at least the ones who do most of the world saving, were also hot.

To give you one more reason why ultimately people are obsessed with dystopian sagas of hot teens saving the world let me paint you this picture. You are sitting in a dimly lit movie theater; the end credits just came on after watching any of the previously mentioned sagas and suddenly you feel as if you can take on the world. Ultimately why people love these sagas and because they give us a sense that we can conquer and save the world, while being effortlessly hot.

Laura Sainz is a first-year student at FIU. She enjoys the small things in life with her favorites being rom coms and sunsets. She also loves reading but has a bad habit of reading 10 different books at the same time.