Sunday, June 10, 2007
Bring on the apocalypse. Let's all hide under our desks and duck and cover.
Apocalyptic science fiction cinema, ya gotta love it.
Two fisted, bleak, preachy. Whether it's crazy Mel Gibson fighting off mutants as Mad Max or Charlton Heston screaming:
"We finally really did it. You maniacs! You maniacs!You blew it up! God damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
We're fascinated by the end times. Maybe by smearing ourselves with the horror of war and the pessimism of the future gone wrong, we can better handle the horrors of the present time.
Some say that fiction works that way.
The Cold War gave us apocalyptic visions to die for, if you'll forgive the pun.
Consider these titles: "The Time Machine", "Last Man on Earth" (based on Richard Matheson's work), Wyndam's "Day of the Triffids", "The Birds", "Night of the Living Dead", "Mad Max", "A Boy And His Dog", "Damnation Alley"...
In our present time of political and socioeconomic turmoil, we've got a new batch to scare us. I guess the reality of old Tom Ridge running around with his fictitious terror alert or Dick Cheney's grim visage had to be somehow made more palatable. Since 2001, we've seen "Reign of Fire", "The Day After Tomorrow", remakes of "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead", as well as new wrinkle to the zombie legend with "28 Days Later".
Here's the question for consideration and discussion. Is this new crop of apocalyptic cinema new in any way, or just a rehash of the old? Are there formalized rules for the subgenre? I mentioned that it tended to be preachy at times. What else? Are there new characters based on changing gender perceptions? Is the genre able to be manipulated to scare people to persuade them to embrace a particular point of view?
I may sit down and fully examine the new apocalyptic vision that has run in the last seven years, since the new millennium, but in the meantime, I'm going to have coffee, so share and talk about among yourselves. Somebody pass the danish.