Apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic and dystopian imagery is particularly popular among sci-fi and fantasy readers as well as gamers and movie buffs, so it comes as no surprise that the themes have dominated movie plots and video game “stories” for so long. This does not look set to change as an influx of extreme disaster films continues to roll in for the next few years.
As humankind contemplates what the future may hold for our ‘little’ blue planet, ideas of post-apocalyptic survival are increasingly considered and fears of a dystopian future are realised in art and cinema.
In 1979, 1981 & 1985 the themes were finely executed in George Miller’s action/adventure/sci-fi films ‘Mad Max’, ‘Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior’ and ‘Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome’. In the first film, Max Rockatansky, played by Mel Gibson, is a cop who takes the law into his own hands in apocalyptic Australia where a vicious biker gang has murdered his family and best friend. In the second and third films, the world is now in its post-apocalyptic stage where “all machines have begun to break down and barbarians hold what is left” and Max is a lone drifter trying to survive in his dystopian world.
The ‘Mad Max’ story is due for a revival in 2011 in the form of ‘Fury Road’ which will be directed by original director George Miller and is set shortly after the story detailed in ‘Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome’. Details of the film are still being kept fairly quiet as it is in pre-production stages, but news of the cast is slowly trickling in. So far it includes Nicholas Hoult (‘About A Boy’), Tom Hardy, Teresa Palmer (‘The Grudge 2’) and Zoe Kravitz (daughter of rock ‘n’ roll legend Lenny Kravitz).
© iwatchstuff.com ‘Mad Max’
In 1995, ‘Waterworld’ (produced by and starring Kevin Costner) explored post-apocalyptic from a new perspective as it considered the idea of Earth being swallowed up by water as a result of melting polar ice caps – the very problem scientists fear today. Costner plays a “mutated mariner [who] fights starvation and outlaw “smokers””.
© squidoo.com ‘Waterworld’
’12 Monkeys’ (1995) considers yet another issue that could bring about Armageddon: disease. “An unknown and lethal virus has wiped out five billion people in 1996. Only 1% of the population has survived by the year 2035, and is forced to live underground.” The concept has also been echoed in more recent films such as the ‘Resident Evil’ trilogy (2002, 2004 & 2007), ‘I Am Legend’ (2007) and ‘28 Days Later’ (2002) and ‘28 Weeks Later’(2007).
© scrapetv.com ‘I am Legend’
The premise is continuing to grow in popularity and a storm of films considering this theme have made their way to our big screens. The most popular to date include: ‘Independence Day’ (1998); ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (2004); ‘Doomsday’ (2008) and ‘9’, ‘2012’ and ‘The Road’ (2009). They all consider Armageddon and the possibility of survival in the aftermath.
© the fastertimes.com ‘The Road’
The trend does not stop there as movie-goers can expect ‘The Book of Eli’ (starring Denzel Washington) and ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ (starring Mila Jovovich) in 2010, ‘The Last City’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ (2011), the currently untitled ‘I Am Legend’ prequel and ‘Independence Day 2’ expected to be released in 2013 (both starring Will Smith), and ‘Independence Day 3’ due out in 2014.
© aceshowbiz.com ‘The Book of Eli’
In all of the movies discussed (and surely in the ones to come) viewers watch characters as they fight for survival, picking up day-to-day techniques to fend off the various threats that they face. As survival is a key issue within the films, characters tend to “make do and mend” making use of anything and everything in their surroundings for everything from clothing to shelter. With this in mind Mpdclick wholly expects to see a rebellious, disheveled fashion aesthetic grow in popularity along with the increase in disaster movies.
So far we have seen this echoed in runway collections such as John Galliano’s a/w 07/08 menswear collection, Balmain and Rodarte’s s/s 2010 collections, Lanvin’s a/w 10/11 menswear, Vivienne Westwood’s a/w 10/11 Red Label and menswear collection as well as Frankie Morello’s a/w 10/11 menswear to name a few. Weathered and distressed effects are key to the disheveled aspect of the look, while beaten up leather and suede provide a biker appearance that is in-keeping with the rebellious edge. A utilitarian element is also crucial considering the nomadic nature of the characters as a result of their harsh environments. Recycling and upcycling prove good, ecological ways to create something “new” from something old – for example rough-cut gems and crushed, rust-effect metal for jewellery.
© Rodarte s/s10
© John Galliano a/w 07/08
Amidst the bleak environments and tattered clothing, these disaster films possess a small but existing air of optimism in their belief that humans will survive the apocalypse. It is not portrayed as the end of the world, but merely the end of the world as we know it and all we need to do is learn to adapt.