Urban Apocalypse

Both this week and last, images of the city as a place of apocalypse are ideas which have been perhaps most provocative to me.  In both Watchmen and Children of Men, the city is the site of the apocalypse at its greatest (worst?) expression; it is in the confines of the urban environment that these secular apocalypses are to be most feared, and it is the escape from the city that can provide an escape from apocalypse, or at least the worst conditions of it.  Why the urban space is the place best fitted for a secular apocalypse is something that has troubled me: is it because the urban space is inherently crowded, or perhaps because technology, and the use of such, seems at its greatest presence in the city?  Or does it play on notions of the person of the city dweller, as already occupying the role of the other, the modern who has strayed too far from tradition (in whatever context that may be). Continue reading

Sexuality at the End of the World

A few years ago, when I watched 28 Days Later for the first time, it was the DVD version, which included several alternative endings, including one that the director intended to be the original ending but which was replaced because it was considered too bleak (you can watch it here in terrible youtube quality). Unlike the ending which made it past the editorial chopping block, the original ending showed Jim dying in the abandoned hospital after Selena fails to save him, and Selena and Hannah walking down a hallway, away from Jim into their uncertain future. It is in stark contrast to the ending that was shown in theaters, which showed Jim, Selena, and Hannah waiting for rescue in relative safety, implying that there was hope for survival, even renewal through the romantic relationship between Jim and Selena.

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Gender Roles: Ambiguous and Traditional

While watching Children of Men, Apocalypto, and 28 Days Later, I was drawn to the role that women played in each of the post-apocalyptic scenarios. I first questioned in Children of Men why the women were made infertile and the men were not. In Apocalypto, I compared Seven to Kee from Children of Men, both of whom offered hope from their pregnancies. In 28 Days Later, Selena is an independent survivor who, at first, seems like more of the traditional hero-type than anyone else. As Professor Quinby points out her essay, these empowered female characters completely contrast the roles of women in traditional apocalyptic myth and create a certain ambiguity in the distinction between masculine and feminine in terms of the traditional romance (2). However, though these gender roles are blurred during ensuing apocalyptic chaos, the hope of salvation does not seem to fully arise until traditional gender roles are reassigned. Continue reading

Doomsday Romance

Apocalyptic themes prevail heavily in the films Apocalypto, Children of Men, and 28 Days Later. While these movies use different plot schemes and settings, they converge at the portrayal of a largely apocalyptic event in which doom has disrupted the world “as we know it” and created a post-millennialist scenario. Through graphic and technological means, these films offer visual representations of the awaited and questionably irrevocable doomsday experience.
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It’s Just the Apocalypse, Why Are You Being So Dramatic?

Watching Apocalypto, Children of Men and 28 Days Later back to back all in the same night, had me feeling pretty fed up with over-exaggerations, fight scenes, and ominous music. Now that I’ve had a few days to digest all the doom, gloom, blood, and violence I’ve come to realize that we are relatively limited in terms of creative renderings of the end. Continue reading

28 Days Later, the Children of Men encountered an Apocalypto

This week, we viewed three films that portrayed the apocalypse through the lens of a post-modern director. They all have hints and obvious influences from the perennial apocalyptic tale, but at the same time tell a story that is much more individualized and complicate traditional gender norms. Continue reading

What Tomorrow Brings

Of the movies we had to watch for class, the only one I had never seen before was Apocalypto. I found it to be the least entertaining, due to, I think, a combination of subtitles (whose tone sometimes seemed mismatched with the dialogue) and a fairly traditional, predictable plot with unexplained and unaddressed supernatural elements made the film seem slightly ridiculous at times. Indeed, while the scene of the young girl prophesizing is well done, evoking feelings of fear and foreboding, scenes such as Jaguar Paw impossibly surviving a jump off a waterfall or Seven’s child shooting out of her womb discouraged my suspension of disbelief and removed me from the world of the movie. Continue reading