Why do dystopian-future movies always turn their protagonists into sexless infants? Often, our hero is reduced to the mental status of a confused toddler, and may actually end up hairless and naked, like Neo in The Matrix, or everyone in THX 1138. We all secretly want to be children again, and dystopian movies indulge this fantasy. Don't believe us? There's a whole mess of adult-baby dark futures after the jump.
THX-1138. Totally hairless dude? Check. Drugs keep him asexual and out of it? Check. Total childlike submission to authority, at least at first? Double check. Somewhere there's an adult baby touching himself to this movie right now.
Brazil. Jonathan Pryce wanders through most of the movie with a lost-little-boy look on his face. And when he dreams about fighting back, it's as a childish fantasy sword-hero who isn't all that effective. It takes Kim Greist and Robert DeNiro kicking his ass to get him to start taking matters into his own hands. The film presents his boyishness as lovable, even though it's a direct result of the oppressive system he lives in.
The Truman Show. The film audience loves Truman for much the same reason as his fictional viewers. His cute overgrown boy grin, his cutesy sayings. People watch him sleep, like a puppy. Everyone around him tries to keep him scared to go too far away from home, and his job as an insurance agent is all about clinging to security. He's a big kid.
The Island. Okay. Ewan McGregor and his fellow agnates wear pajamas. A "nannyish" computer scans their urine and monitors their diet. Black-clad guards rush over if male and female clones spend too much time touching each other. They're taught to fear the outside world, and they do as they're told, waiting to go to a storybook paradise called The Island. Basically, it's THX-1138 with hair.
Of course, all of these films end with our hero growing up and casting off the corporate/state apron-strings. Otherwise, they'd make for pretty dull viewing. But first, they linger lovingly over the spectacle of their heroes turned into kids, because all that regression provides an escapist thrill for us, the audience. And why not? Isn't that what's so seductive about authoritarian cultures in the first place?