2081 (2009)Moving Picture Institute
2009
NR

“They had hoped to destroy any trace of the extraordinary in me, and in time I came to share that hope.  But the extraordinary, it seems, was simply out of their reach.”

Once in a while, I come across a short film that manages to pack more of a punch than what a full-length movie could.  I happened across this nifty 26-minute short sci-fi film some time ago, simply by happenstance, glancing at the synopsis and being rather intrigued.  And since it was the same length of your regular sitcom, I figured not much time would be wasted if it does turn out to be not worth it.  Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised at how much this resonated.

Based on Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron”, 2081 shows a dystopian future where equality is taken to its most logical and extreme conclusion, thanks to an Amendment to the Constitution and the establishment of the Handicapper General.  Now, everyone is equal, to the point of having to enforce the wearing of certain devices to establish handicaps for those who are too smart, too beautiful, too athletic, et al.  Anyone who decides to rebel and fully develop their extraordinary and exceptional qualities as individuals is deemed a national threat, an anarchist and terrorist to be locked away for reprogramming or permanent disposal.  But, everyone’s equal, so that’s a good thing.  Right?

You know, had the recent disaster that was the 2002 Twilight Zone had actual writing talent on their staff, they would have featured a story much like 2081, instead of just retreading the classic Twilight Zone stories from the past.  2081 is fantastic, a classic sci-fi tale that explores modern society’s obsession with equality, which, while altruistic and noble, like any ideology can be taken too far.  And what happens when one man decides to shake off these chains of oppression (literally and figuratively) and try to open the eyes of those dull-minded masses.

I would recommend checking out 2081 if you can.  It’s a great use of the medium of short film and sci-fi, harking back to a time when the genre was more about allegorical storytelling than things going boom.

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