August 1, 2009 at 4:45 am #31982
note: These upcoming films described all seem passe to me. And miss the whole point of this cycle of change, which is not about post apocalypse struggle, but about spiritual rebirth. Anyway, read the article,then you can skip the movies……
HOLLYWOOD DESTROYS THE WORLD
By John Jurgensen and Jamin Brophy-Warren
Wall Street Journal
July 31, 2009
The new wave of disaster movies and TV shows isnt about staving off the
apocalypse. Its what happens afterwards that counts. Viggo Mortensen versus
Director Roland Emmerich has nearly destroyed the world three times already.
This time, he means to finish the job.
In his next movie, 2012, which comes out in November, the earth will rip
apart, fulfilling an ancient prophecy. The director previously leveled
civilization with an alien attack in the 1996 movie Independence Day,
unleashed Godzilla a couple years later and orchestrated a climate disaster
in 2004s The Day After Tomorrow. His new film, he says, reflects a darker
world view. Im really very pessimistic these days, he says.
A flood of postapocalyptic stories is now headed toward movie theaters and
TV screens: Expect to see characters fending off cannibals, picking up
day-to-day survival techniques and struggling to maintain their humanity
amid the ruins. Previous waves of pop-culture disaster, from the Atomic Age
paranoia of War of the Worlds to Watergate-era flicks such as The
Towering Inferno, have depicted calamity in stunning detail. Many of the
new projects, however, actually skip the spectacle of doomsday. Instead,
theyre more fixed on what goes down in the aftermath.
In The Book of Eli, a movie scheduled for January, Denzel Washington plays
the fierce protector of a book that holds the key to mankinds redemption in
an American wasteland created by a war 30 years earlier. Day One, a series
coming to NBC in March, follows a handful of neighbors trying to survive and
understand a calamity that erased the worlds infrastructure. The Colony,
now airing on Discovery Channel, is a reality show set in an imagined
end-times period in which contestants hunt for food, water and shelter after
a presumed disaster.
No humans at all survive in the blighted world of 9, an animated film
produced by Tim Burton in which mechanical dolls learn from the mistakes of
their extinct creators (release date: 09/09/2009). Strong buzz has been
building since last year for The Road, this Octobers film adaptation of
Cormac McCarthys best-selling novel, about a boy and his father trudging
through the scorched remnants of an unspecified cataclysm.
Most of the storytellers say they are reacting to anxiety over real threats
in uncertain times: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, two U.S.
wars abroad, multiple pandemics, a global financial crisis and new attention
to environmental perils. The Road even weaves in footage shot during
recent disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, into its scenes of destruction.
For me, I feel like I live in an apocalyptic world with global warfare, a
recession, and resource scarcity, says Jesse Alexander, writer and
executive producer of NBCs Day One.
Studios have scored with the formula before. In 1981, when fear of nuclear
war predominated, the post-holocaust action movie The Road Warrior became
a hit and made Mel Gibson a star. The run-up to the millennium saw a boomlet
of effects-driven disaster epics, including Armageddon and Deep Impact.
Independence Day was the highest-grossing movie of 1996, taking in $300
million in the U.S.
The escapism factor, always a driver at the box office, plays a role in the
latest post-disaster trend, says Rob Kutner, a writer for The Tonight Show
with Conan OBrien and author of the satirical Apocalypse How: Turn the
End-Times into the Best of Times! published last year. People are less
concerned about their house being foreclosed when its being taken over by
Some are taking a lighter approach to calamity. Seth Rogen, star of The
40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, is developing a feature film based on
a parody trailer he co-starred in entitled Jay and Seth vs. the
Apocalypse. In the short, two roommates bicker about whether to venture
into the wasteland outside their ruined bachelor pad. In Zombieland, a
movie opening in October, actor Woody Harrelson plays a zombie killer named
Tallahassee, one of the last survivors in a future overrun by the undead.
Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer says theres room for everyones view
of societys afterlife: Roland [Emmerich] can have the megadisaster. The
Road can be the most brutal. And ours is fun times in the post apocalypse.
Lets look for Twinkies and shoot zombies!
The storyline of what happens after an inevitable disaster permeates nearly
all the new projects, in contrast to movies like Armageddon, which showed
humanity warding off an impending threat. The Lionsgate film studio recently
acquired rights to The Hunger Games, a young-adult novel set in a ruined
The flash-forward motif launched a surprise best seller two years ago in
Alan Weismans book The World Without Us, which took a scientific approach
to explaining how the framework of civilization would decompose as nature
took back its turf after humans disappeared. The book is in development as
both a fictional feature from Twentieth Century Fox and a documentary film.
In the book, Mr. Weisman presented an optimistic view of what a world
without humans would look like. Maybe were in danger, but the world itself
is not in danger, he says. In fact the world itself recovers rather
In the film version of The Road, as in the novel, the apocalypse that
blackened the landscape and set the narrative in motion isnt described.
Director John Hillcoat says he pressed author Cormac McCarthy for an answer
about what happened. Mr. McCarthy said it didnt matter whether it was
nuclear war or mini volcanoes or a comet, Mr. Hillcoat says. What mattered
was the backdrop for the intimate relationship between a father and son.
Though the calamity remained ambiguous, the filmmakers used real disaster
footage to render their setting. A panoramic scene in the movie includes the
improbable sight of ships marooned on a highway. The image was shot in New
Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit, captured on 70mm IMAX film
by a crew that had been in the area to shoot a documentary about the bayou.
Rather than use computers to create massive smoke plumes, the filmmakers
patched in news footage of the billows that erupted from the World Trade
Center as it burned. Other images came from Mount St. Helens and volcanic
devastation in the Philippines. The collage technique was both allegorical
and practical (and helped keep the budget to a lean $20 million), despite
the fact that most viewers wont recognize the source material. Our logic
is if youre within that place, whether its Katrina or the Twin Towers, it
would be the same as a global apocalypse to you, Mr. Hillcoat says.
Much of the acting (by Viggo Mortensen as the father and 13-year-old Kodi
Smit-McPhee as his son) was shot in the Pittsburgh area in winter, when
trees were bare and skies dark. Location scouts targeted remnants of the
regions faded industries, including terrain scarred by coal mining and an
eight-mile length of highway that had been closed since 1969.
To see how life after the apocalypse might actually play out, the Discovery
Channel decided to launch a human experiment. The Colony was filmed over
10 weeks in an abandoned Los Angeles warehouse with 10 participants with a
variety of backgrounds attempting to emulate a life without electricity,
running water or communication with the outside world. They must create
their own power generators and fend off marauders who try to steal their
supplies. Unlike other reality shows, there are no prize money, contests or
votes for which contestants can stay.
Discovery recruited experts like Adam Montella, a private homeland security
adviser whos worked on disaster sites after Hurricane Hugo and the Oklahoma
City bombings. Most of the country didnt experience Katrina or 9/11, but
they did virtually on television, Mr. Montella says. Theres nothing
different about the disaster that caused the colony to come together and
another incident which most people cant fathom.
For his animated film 9, Shane Acker imagined a postapocalyptic landscape
of grotesque beauty, marked by a burning cathedral, swaying dead grasses and
drifting ashes that resemble snow. The sunsets in this toxic environment
are gorgeous, Mr. Acker says.
He embarked on the film in 2005 as the Iraq conflict was dominating the
news. I was constantly being bombarded with images of the war and questions
about our motivation for being there, Mr. Acker says.
In the story, which he expanded from his Oscar-nominated short film, nine
doll-like characters fight sentient machines that were invented to wage war
but eventually turned on humans. A scientist modeled on J. Robert
Oppenheimer set loose the machines, but also sparked life in the numbered
doll heroes (including 9, voiced by Elijah Wood).
Even when they tackle serious issues, most of the new disaster movies and TV
shows take pains to avoid moralizing, which can be toxic at the box office.
Issue-oriented films, such as In the Valley of Elah, starring Tommy Lee
Jones, and Tom Cruises Lions For Lambs, have tended to fare poorly with
audiences. 2012 may be an outlet for Mr. Emmerichs own pessimism about
the state of the world, but the director also calls it a popcorn movie.
The arms race in digital effects has contributed to the ratcheting up of
apocalyptic scenarios. Roger Smith, an executive editor at the research firm
Global Media Intelligence and a former film executive who oversaw
Terminator 2, calls this competition the film version of the Cuban
Missile Crisis — we have to get the edge of extinction each time.
13 APOCALYPTIC VISIONS
By Jamin Brophy-Warren
1) Things to Come (1936): Written by H.G. Wells, this speculative tale,
whose plot follows 100 years of future history, follows a society torn apart
by war. Many of the battles in the movie presaged those of World War II,
which was just on the horizon.
2) When Worlds Collide (1951): Based on the 1932 sci-fi novel by Philip
Gordon Wylie and Edwin Balmer, the film won an Academy Award for its special
effects depicting the outcome of a rogue planets collision with the Earth.
The Mummy director Stephen Sommers will helm the 2010 remake.
3) War of the Worlds (1953): Martian invaders are the centerpiece of this
film based on the H.G. Wells novel. Orson Welles narrated a radio version in
1938; Tom Cruise starred in Steven Spielbergs 2005 film remake.
4) On the Beach (1959): Written during the chill of the Cold War, Nevil
Shutes novel about the aftermath of World War III was adapted for film and
starred Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Fred Astaire.
5) Planet of the Apes (1968): Charlton Heston faces off against a
civilization in which apes enslave men; a scene in front of the Statue of
Libertys head became one of sci-fis biggest shockers. The movie inspired
four movie sequels and a widely-panned 2001 remake.
6) The Omega Man (1971): Chased by nocturnal, blood-drinking mutants, Mr.
Heston once again struggles to survive in a bleak new world ravaged by
biological warfare. The story originated from the Richard Matheson novel I
Am Legend, which was also the title used for the blockbuster 2007 remake
starring Will Smith.
7) Mad Max (1979): This dystopian film tracked a policeman (played by Mel
Gibson) avenging the death of his family. The movies vistas of dusty
highways and ruined automobiles were much-copied by other filmmakers.
8) The Terminator (1984): The film, about rebel robots who launch a war on
humans, started a franchise that has run for more than two decades so far,
and helped launch Arnold Schwarzeneggers career as an action star.
9) Armageddon (1998): Director Michael Bays film was emblematic of the
disaster movie craze of the late 1990s that included other asteroid films
such as Deep Impact and a spate of nature-related ones including Twister
10) The Matrix (1999): What if the world as we know it ended and nobody
noticed? This thriller from the Wachowski Brothers portrays a future in
which evil machines keep humans pacified by immersing them in a computer
simulation that mimics everyday reality. Keanu Reeves plays Neo, far left,
the hero who discovers the truth, and helps to save mankind from illusion.
11) 28 Days Later (2002): Science and horror meet in this Danny
Boyle-directed movie in which an experimental virus creates fast-moving
zombies who chase victims through the English countryside.
12) Idiocracy (2007): Office Space director Mike Judges satirical take on
a future dominated and decimated by rampant stupidity. The film flopped but
lives on as a cult favorite.
13. Wall-E (2008): The apocalypse through the eyes of Pixar, this film about
a world abandoned by humans and buried with trash introduced the title
character, a doe-eyed, garbage-collecting robot. He unwittingly discovers
plant life, spurring mans return to his home planet.August 1, 2009 at 10:11 am #31983
I agree – these movies seem to be more of the same with possiblby better effects.
What resources regarding the ongoing transformation do you think are worth paying attention to?
All the best,
CharlieAugust 1, 2009 at 10:59 am #31985
The only reliable resource is your own inner voice. Always has been, always will be.
mAugust 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm #31987
The movies sound boring except for “Idiocracy”. Isn’t the real date of importance 10/28/2011 when the long count of the Mayan calendar ends according to Mayan elders in Central America? Either way what’s coming feels so exciting I can hardly stand it! It inspires me to practice more, more often, more deeply. I want to be able to absorb the full benefit of the blast from the heart of our galaxy. Damn! It’s exciting!
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