Thursday, March 29, 2012

End Time Films, Why is the Future in this genre so bleak?

Terminator 2 pt1

Why do so many futuristic depictions of the future, or not-so-distant future all seem so….bleak and morbid?

Since this is one topic that will inevitably become a major one (especially coming toward December 21st 2012), might as well address the film of this topic…

As we’re almost in 4 months into 2012, and with the fabled Mayan calendar prediction of the end of the world (or at the very least a major fundamental change of the world) is expected to happen come December 21st. That is of course if you believe it.

Now if you’re wondering what this has to do with film, well you all should know me by now and some of the films I like to watch and review. It has everything to do with films! I’m talking about some of our well known and lesser known apocalyptic and post apocalyptic films we’ve come to know and love/loathe. And perhaps more specifically the lure of this type films.

Terninator 2 pt2

Ever notice that traditional film topics tend to gravitate towards certain genres during key historical trends? During the time the original “Planet of the Apes” movie series was out, wasn’t that also around the same time as the Cuban missile crisis back in 1962? I do know many around that time were worried about a potential WWIII that could happen due to that time and place. So is it a coincidence that this film was in the process of being made after that time?

Moving ahead a few years, to a semi-well known film called “Red Dawn”. Yeah granted its not a official post apocalyptic film per say, but it does involve a scenario potentially leading to a WWIII. On top of that, look when the film came out, 1984 near the end of the cold war hype. Again, coincidence?

Let’s look even further with some of the more biblically related (and at times twisted) apocalyptic films. Some well known titles such as “The Seventh Sign”, “The Rapture”, “The Stand”, “Lost Souls”, “Lost Souls” “End of Days”, “Left Behind”, “Dogma”, “The Book of Eli”, “The Knowing” the list goes on and on…

And remember this isn’t even including some of the better known blockbuster films that are famous and infamous depiction of the end of days, or aftermath of some great cataclysm. Too many to count…so I’ll just list a FEW…

The Terminator
The Matrix
The Core
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Deep Impact
Independence Day
12 Monkeys
The Road
The Postman
28 Days/Weeks Later
Dawn of the Dead
I Am Legend
Children of Men
The Omen
The Mad Max/Road Warrior series

Etc...(Sorry that was more than a few. and I barely scratched the surface…lol)

But be that as it may, why the obsession? Do we wish for these bad things to happen? And more importantly, why do so many of these futuristic depictions of the future, or not so distant future all seem so….bleak and morbid? Come to think of it, the only series that has some sort of positive outlook for the future is the Star Trek franchise. Not even the biblical ones have a positive outcome, conveniently overlooking the latter parts of the book of Revelations, which is really really sad.

If I were to guess, I would think it’s because of current times many of us cannot see a positive future for the world and mankind. Granted it might be the usual Hollywood blockbuster norm, but still…would it be that unusual to have film with some solid sort of positive future outlook?

Thoughts on this? I’m really curious on the feedback on this one…

1 comment:

  1. What strikes me as curious about this is that evolutionary theory calls for the survival of the fittest, which suggests that the less fit survive less, which suggests that the future is increasingly populated with more fit than less fit or, in other words, "better".

    Why do futuristic movies tend to be pessimistically rendered - shouldn't it be a world populated and managed by the fittest/best?


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