I love me some good end-of-the-world movies.
First off, as the few of you left out there reading this know, I’ve been lamenting my current “blah” state with regards to blogging. This “ho-hum” funk cloud has been hanging about for a while. Well I just got an idea for a recurring feature that will, at the very least, keep me posting weekly on one particular subject. It’s a subject that I know very well — movie trailers. I’m a sucker for them. So much so, that it’s not enough to see them in the theater (by the way, always go to a movie early enough to see all the trailers!). Oh no, I have to download trailers to whet my appetite.
And so… here is the first installment of Trailer Friday.
I vividly remember one of the very first apocalyptic-themed movies I ever saw. It was Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the 1956 black-and-white classic paranoia metaphor for the Red Scare. Absolutely horrifying! It was on one of those Saturday afternoon sci-fi specials. I remember being glued to the TV. The premise: strange giant alien pods wash up on shore and when in contact with humans, they take over the person. The earth’s population quickly gets swapped by these alien doubles. They’re like robots, emotionless. Just a little “off”. And the transformation from pod to person happens when you fall asleep.
The Bravo cable channel has a nice little discussion about the original here:
Great, great scary fun! The story has been remade a few times, and a fresh new take is hitting theaters soon. This time around, it’s got Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Check out its trailer:
I love how they’ve amped up the realism. The original and previous versions had a certain camp to them. I mean, come on… pods?! How silly, right? It appears that this new version has re-imagined the pods into some sort of embryonic clone thing. I’m sold!
Also coming soon is I Am Legend, where Will Smith is the last man on earth. This specific apocalyptic scenario I have daydreamed too many times to count. I suppose it’s pretty revealing of my introversion. But whatever, I can’t wait to see how this film plays with that premise. Here’s the trailer:
I love the post-war, post-Very-Bad-Event look captured in the NYC design. I love seeing the detail of the overgrown weeds, abandoned cars, and big empty buildings. Something about that thought — large buildings completely empty when they shouldn’t be — that alone is a frightening setup to me. I guess because it’s the reverse of the norm. They should be bustling places of commerce, but instead they’re vacant and still. I can’t wait to see how this is used!
That apocalyptic scenario is quite the opposite to last year’s Children of Men. Instead of a world devoid of people, this futuristic Britain was losing its populace by each passing generation, mysteriously no longer capable of reproduction. The streets were filled with desperate people, all going mad with their looming demise. It was a very escapist film, gritty with a war-like reality:
Finally an upcoming film from J.J. Abrams, as of this posting curiously untitled, is about to destroy NYC. Did you see Transformers? If so, you saw J.J.’s sneaky trailer. Here it is on the small screen:
How about that, huh?! What a great reveal at the end of this trailer. You have to hand it to J.J., the guy is New Hollywood. Apparently, the word is that he even cut this trailer himself. The guy really has a knack for the simple hooks that grab us deeply. Case in point: Alias and Lost, both huge blockbuster TV shows. And with Lost, he’s tapped into another hook to keep us all involved on another level: mythos. Lost has such an epic back story that none of us can look away.
With this new film, slated for release on 1-18-08, he’s tapped back into the social networking power of the internet to spread the word (and theories, of which there are many). Just what is the bringer of the film’s doomsday? Is it a re-imagining of Godzilla? Is it a parasite? Voltron? Cthulu? I’m hoping for something completely new and fresh. Knowing J.J., we’ll get that. His apocalypse will be one to remember.
Of course, this crop of apocalypse redux movies started 5 years ago with Danny Boyle’s reinvention of the zombie movie, 28 Days Later:
More than just a zombie movie, 28 Days was an infection movie. It was about contagion run wild, turning people into rage-soaked murderers. Now that’s a recipe for a good scary movie!
And as rare as it is for a sequel to be just as effective as its predecessor, 28 Weeks Later was just such an animal:
This one was mean. It showed no mercy. It was also a thinly veiled parable of humanity waging war on itself in the name of survival.
So that’s it for this week’s movie trailer roundup, both old and new. The theme is apocalypse. Who wants to celebrate the end of the world with me?!