Apocalyptic events and dystopian post-apocalyptic societies have been recurring themes cooked up but the movie industry long before the poignant and iconic final scene of the original Planet of the Apes gripped the public’s imagination back in 1968.
I won’t even touch upon all the zombie movies that have been produced ever since the Night of the Living Dead was released, incidentally also in 1968, all the way up to the recent Walking Dead and Z Nation TV series. Or on the portrayal of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, flash freezing, tsunamis and asteroids all bent on seeding and cultivating fears of an “extinction level event”.
I have compiled below a short list of such movies and TV series produced over the last 10 years, presented by release date. I have selected these for their common thread, i.e. what are “they” are telling us about what our world and our society would look like “after” – but after what? After they have accomplished their global agenda?
Why is the public so fascinated with these movie themes? Why are producers investing so much money in these? And why do we keep shelling our hard-earn money to allow ourselves to be exposed to these disturbing imaginings?
But above all, the really nagging question for me is this: What have “they” (i.e. the powers that be acting through the movie industry) been trying to tell us? Have they been warning us of the future they have in store for us if we don’t wake up and refuse their mad agenda? Have they been trying to familiarize us with these scenarios so we accept them as fatefully inescapable when they begin to unfold, just as they seem poised to do?
In any event, I am convinced the choice before us is a spiritual one: We can take the path of fear and service to self that leads to insanity and death, which seems to be the path the powers that be are trying to cook up for us, or we can take the path that leads to love and service to others.
I believe we collectively retain the free will to choose, and re-imagine our world as we truly want it to be – or to collectively continue putting our heads in the sand, literally like the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum who ended up in the dust-bin of history…
Henri Thibodeau Updated December 26, 2015
Note: It is intriguing to note that all of these movies take place in English-speaking/Anglo-Saxon countries that were once part of the British Empire…
Released in 2006, Children of Men takes place in 2027, after two decades of human infertility have left society on the brink of collapse. Illegal immigrants seek sanctuary in the United Kingdom, where the last functioning government imposes oppressive immigration laws on refugees.
Released in 2006, V for Vendetta is the story of an anarchist freedom fighter who attempts to ignite a revolution against the brutal fascist regime that has subjugated the dystopian United Kingdom and exterminated its opponents in concentration camps.
Jericho is an American post-apocalyptic action-drama series that ran on CBS from September 2006 through March 2008. It centers on the residents of the fictionalized post-apocalyptic town of Jericho, Kansas. The series depicts how a small town American community might struggle to organize and survive in the aftermath of a nuclear attack on the contiguous United States.
Released in 2007, I Am Legend is set in 2009, when a genetically re-engineered measles virus, originally created as a cure for cancer, turns into a lethal strain which kills 90 percent of those it infects, and mutates the remaining 10% into predatory, nocturnal “Darkseekers” who are extremely vulnerable to sunlight and other sources of UV. Three years after the outbreak, US Army virologist Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville (Will Smith) lives an isolated life in New York City, which is now deserted, unsure if there are any other uninfected humans left in the world. This was the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel with the same title.
Released in 2009, The Road features the post-apocalyptic journey of a father and his young son over a period of several months, across an American landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and, in the intervening years, almost all forms of life. Civilization has collapsed, reducing the survivors to scavenging and even cannibalism. The duo search for supplies as they travel south on a road to the coast in the hope it will be warmer.
Released in 2010, The Book of Eli revolves around Eli, a nomad in a post-apocalyptic world, who is told by a voice to deliver his copy of a mysterious book to a safe location on the West Coast of the United States. The history of the post-war world is explained along the way, as is the importance of Eli’s task.
The Lost Future is a 2010 South African-German post-apocalyptic made for TV film taking place several generations after a zombie-like infection has thrown humanity back into the stone age. The movie was released on DVD in September 20011.
Released in 2012 and based on a 1984 movie with the same title, Red Dawn centers on a group of young people who defend their American hometown from a North Korean invasion, after the deployment of U.S. troops abroad (and the highlighted threat of cyber warfare) has left the mainland vulnerable. An introductory montage shows the fallout of the economic crisis in the European Union and a weakened NATO alliance, amid increasing co-operation between North Korea and Russia.
Released from 2012 to 2015, the Hunger Games movie series takes place in a dystopian future where every year, in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol, capital city of the nation of Panem, forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to compete in the Hunger Games, a nationally televised human sacrifice or gladiator games where “tributes” fight in a high-tech arena until only one survivor remains. The movies graphically depict an Orwellian society where a small privileged elite prey on an enslaved population.
Released in 2013, How I Live Now features a small group of young people who are isolated in the British countryside after a terrorist coalition detonates a nuclear bomb in London. In the aftermath, electricity goes out, and an emergency radio broadcast announces that martial law has been imposed in the UK as some kind of “terrorist invasion” is taking place. The protagonists are captured by units of the British army, split up, and relocated to camps where they are compelled into forced labor.
Also released in 2013, The Host offers another take on the theme of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (first released in 1956), introducing a future where the human race has been taken over by small parasitic aliens, called “Souls”. The Souls travel to distant planets, inserting themselves individually into a host body of that planet’s dominant species. They are able to access the host’s memories, and occupied hosts are identifiable by silver rings that form in the hosts’ eyes. This movie can also be seen as a metaphor for a centrally controlled society.
Again released in 2013, These Final Hours is an Australian film which takes place in Perth, Australia. It begins 10 minutes after a meteor has collided with earth in the North Atlantic, leaving approximately twelve hours until the subsequent global firestorm reaches Western Australia. It graphically portrays the rapid collapse of society and the radical choices made by people faced with impending doom.
Released in 2014, Rumors of War features a student who keeps a journal while a centralized dictatorial government takes over the world. Years later, a soldier finds her journal and questions everything he has been taught to believe.
Released in 2014 and set ten years after the events of its prequel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes follows a group of scientists in San Francisco who struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of a plague that is wiping out humanity, while confronted with the rise of a new intelligent species in the form of a community of intelligent apes.
Released in 2015, Tomorrowland is a Disney film about a teenage girl (Casey Newton), a genius middle-aged man (Frank Walker), and a pre-pubescent artificial girl or robot (Raffey Cassidy) who attempts to get to and unravel what happened to Tomorrowland, which exists in an alternative dimension, in order to save a doomed world.