Jordana Horn: Apocalypse Now?

On a recent Saturday night, I went to the movies. Walking past the theater showing “I Am Legend” (plague kills most of humanity), I opted to watch “Cloverfield” (inexplicably angry alien destroys Manhattan) instead. After sitting through back-to-back previews for “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (ancient truce between Hell and Earth is revoked, resulting in mass destruction) and “Doomsday” (lethal virus ravages England, a disease-ridden cinematic cousin to “28 Days Later” and “Children of Men”), I found myself disturbed. The End of Days suddenly seemed imminent. Should I cancel my post-movie dinner reservation? What’s with all this apocalyptic entertainment, I wondered, and what does it say about those of us who are filling the theater seats?

Apocalypse-themed films proliferate, according to Msgr. Francis Maniscalco, former communications director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, because they “reflect an idea that haunts the human imagination . . . a sense that this world is not permanent and faces some kind of comeuppance. Once it was thought that only God could bring that about. Today, we believe we can do it ourselves, due to the power placed in our hands by science or by our irresponsible behavior toward the environment.”

Rabbi Azriel Fellner, a free-lance film critic based in Livingston, N.J., agrees that the films may have more resonance because of recent advances in human capabilities, but he points to the current political environment as the source of these apocalyptic fantasies. Politicians, he notes, regularly mention the threat of nuclear war, or chemical or biological attack, and our imaginations start working overtime.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

3 comments on “Jordana Horn: Apocalypse Now?

  1. libraryjim says:

    I’m not sure he saw all those previews at the same time. 28 days later, Children of Men, and, I think, Cloverfield, have all left the theaters quite some time ago.

    May be it’s poetic license to make a point, but he’s lying in doing so. Not nice.

  2. libraryjim says:

    Oh, poof! He was [i]COMPARING Doomsday to those movies. Never mind. 🙁 [/i]

  3. libraryjim says:

    Ok, let’s see if I can get back my reputation by presenting a better post:

    This is not the first time this has happened:
    The Omen sparked a number of movies on the end times, one of which was Hal Lindsay’s movie version of “Late Great Planet Earth” (Title?) narrated by Orson Welles, which, as I recall, did quite well at the box office.

    Irwin Allen’s blockbuster disaster flicks of the 70’s, such as Earthquake, Towering Inferno, etc.

    the 80’s and 90’s brought us such greats as Armageddon, the Alien movies, the Terminator movies, Event Horizon, Sphere, and others that fortold catastrophic events from above. Dogma, Seventh Sign, Ninth Gate, the Prophecy, Illuminata, fortold catastrophic Supernatural events.

    It’s just a cycle Hollywood goes through. Westerns, War, Horror, Chick Flicks, Disaster, Apocolypse, they all come and go.