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Apocalypse depicting sci-fi films of Hollywood

February 10, 2012  by: S. Chowdhury  Points: 12   Category: Movies  Earning $0.65   Views: 887

Several science fiction Hollywood films in recent years have tried to capture apocalypse or near-apocalypse on earth fuelling the much hyped apocalyptic theories but remained confined mostly to their absurdities rather than relying on scientific analysis.


Lately many science fiction or sci-fi Hollywood movies are trying to portray an apocalypse or near apocalypse of the Earth on reel fuelling the much hyped apocalyptic theories. The latest addition to this list is the 2010 Mega Blockbuster Hollywood movie '2012'. Though the level of natural destruction depicted in these kinds of films vary from film to film, yet I can remember two other Hollywood sci-fi films that I've seen and that has portrayed devastation on a mass-scale. They are the 1998 movie 'Deep Impact' and the 2002 movie 'Day After Tomorrow'. I know that there are other Hollywood and non-Hollywood sci-fi films that have tried to cash in on this really delicious and engrossing subject as far as the choice of the majority of viewer ship is concerned, but their portrayal must not have been that good to make them count.

A Scene of Destruction from the movie '2012'

Science fiction is a genre that calls for the ingenuity and craft, formulating out of the mind of a Creative genius to catapult the degree of imagination mingled with scientific analysis (how preposterous may it be) into the domain of quality story-telling. Sadly few people have been able to strike a balance between these key components of a science fiction film. I can only think of two persons, namely Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, who excelled in this arena. The Terminator movies (I and II), Jurassic Park and E.T. are all testimonies to that. Not only were cutting-edge technology used in those movies, which were much ahead of their times, but also the art of quality story telling were depicted in those movies making them standout performers in the sci-fi genre.

A Scene of Destruction from the movie 'Deep Impact'

Destruction on a massive scale is nothing new in the near 5 billion years history of the earth. There have been major earthquakes, gigantic volcanic eruptions, asteroid hits, ice ages, massive floods and several other destructive forces of nature that has battered the earth again and again and impacted the existence of all life forms on earth. Still nature has its own way of re-building once again what it has destroyed and thus life forms continued to exist despite such topsy-turvy times. Therefore to surmise that all hell will break loose one fine day is probably a bit preposterous. Destructions will come and ago and ancient humans have shown us that humans can really survive such vagaries of nature. Does it happen like those shown in the movies or not remains to be seen.

One thing that is common in all those apocalypse-depicting movies and most movies in general is that in all of them somehow the protagonists or a greater part of the protagonists were able to save themselves by the skin of their teeth while huge sections of the human population were consumed by the mass scale devastation around them. It basically shows that such movies also have room for melodramatic acts while depicting large-scale destruction and devastation to woo the general viewers. Those are the things that separate them from being a movie based on sound scientific analysis and portrayal of reality. Probably then such movies won't have been such blockbusters as they have been.

A Scene of Destruction from the movie 'Day After Tomorrow'

Another Hollywood sci-fi film based on apocalyptic possibilities of earth was the 1998 film 'Armageddon' that released close to the 'Deep Impact' movie. According to me it caps the height of absurdity as the movie showed chosen experts on space shuttles landing on a giant asteroid to nuke it and break it into two halves, thereby shifting the large fragments from their collision course with earth. Firstly, whether such a mission can be carried out with such precision is a huge question. But even if we were to accept that how can one accept that the asteroid would break up just the way it is meant to and then even deviate from earth's collision course. At least the 'Deep Impact' movie scores over 'Armageddon' on that count. So this is where the science of the sci-fi movies lies, twist science as per convenience and demand of the script.

A Scene from the movie 'Armageddon'

The '2012' movie is also very close to 'Armageddon' in terms of absurdity, where you'd see time and again the protagonists were saved by the thinnest possible edge of the skin of their teeth, with roads and bridges collapsing near them but somehow managing to go past them, volcanic rocks flying past their airplane, their aircraft coming to halt just while falling over the ridge, saved from drowning in internal chamber of the ark, and amid all such absurdities the core group of protagonists remain unscathed, with even the reuniting of a separated couple. All of such preposterous happenings take away the sheen of quality story telling.

Therefore even though such apocalypse-depicting movies capture our imagination for a short time they are mostly to entertain people on a subject over which people like to ponder and visualize something unseen and unheard of, no matter how far those would be from reality. Apocalypse may or may not happen in the near future but one thing is for certain, even if it happens it will not happen in the way it has been depicted in the sci-fi films of Hollywood.


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