Utopian societies are a lot like marriages: They seem happy on the outside, but oftentimes there's something seriously wrong underneath the pleasant exterior. That's how it is with these five utopian societies from the movies – there's a huge price to pay for order, or safety, or "happiness," and that price is often a serious moral transgression.
Eloi land, "The Time Machine"
In George Pal's 1960 science fiction adventure "The Time Machine," one of the most peaceful eras visited by the time traveler is the far future, where placid blond-haired people called the Eloi relax in the sun. It looks like an all-day, everyday picnic, until the traveler finds out where the Eloi go every night: To the underground world of the Morlocks, for whom they serve as essentially human cattle. Sometimes there's a slaughterhouse right underneath your beautiful park.
A lot of times movie utopias look a lot like dystopias – after all, the happiness and contentment that one person feels is often on the back of somebody who's suffering. That's one of the ideas behind Jean-Luc Godard's "Alphaville" (and many other science fiction movies) – the Alpha 60 computer rules over the inhabitants of Alphaville with an iron fist, outlawing any outward displays of emotion. So nobody's complaining, but is anyone really happy?
The Future, "THX 1138"
Another society that might seem OK to the external observer is found in "THX 1138" from director George Lucas (who went on to produce "Howard the Duck" and "Red Tails"). No one has much of anything to be unhappy about – but that's only because the government forces everyone on psychoactive drugs that suppress their emotions and sexual urges. That's not happiness, it's numbness.
Sanford, "Hot Fuzz"
Neighborhood Watches have a generally good reputation. They keep dangerous elements away from the precious children, and your idiot neighbors from setting too many cars on fire. But the Neighborhood Watch Alliance in "Hot Fuzz" is a touch more sinister. And by "a touch" we mean "infinitely." The sleepy berg of Sanford is totally crime-free – but it's not crime-free for a lack of criminals – it's crime-free because the NWA murders everyone even close to committing a crime.
Precrime, "Minority Report"