Once upon a time there was a culture that measured the passage of days and years in a circular manner. Circles within circles that circled back on each other. Eventually this civilization must have realized they were counting days thousands of years into the future (longer than even their own present existence), and they surely must have realized that continuing to carve this calendar out of stone was a futile effort until they got, I don’t know, four or five years away from that not-end point? This civilization didn’t have computers that could extrapolate 365-day calendars ad infinitum, so when they started to get arthritis from all that repetitive stone-cutting that wasn’t really doing anybody any favors, they stopped and the cycle ended. Not too long after that, the civilization nearly vanished from the planet; so they never had a chance to download their calendar’s latest install update.
Flash forward to that thousand years later: People — mostly stupid people — believe the Earth is actually going to be destroyed on December 21, 2012, the approximate date that the Mayan calendar tosses time into the the gatbage. (Or, more correctly, recycles.) It’s been a fairly common topic for at least the past decade, so much so that Roland Emmerich adapted the idea into a disaster movie two years too soon. (Speaking of stupid people…) But we’ve seen kind of a lot of movies about the end of days in modern cinema, and not just 2012 and End of Days. The Road, The Book of Eli, Perfect Sense, and Melancholia have all been released in the last two years. Even TV shows like “Battlestar Galactica” and “The Walking Dead” deal directly with human civilization crashing down into some sort of apocalyptic dyspepsia. It’s enough to make one who tends to enjoy the genre so much that he wrote his own post-civilization novel but shelved it years ago for fear of being too derivative.
We’ve always been a species that sees the end as inevitable, and in some ways we’re right. In 5 billion years, if life even exists here by then, our sun will explode. The only question is whether the sun will destroy the solar system as a supernova or a black hole. Either way, Earth and everything on it, is screwed. Eventually. So maybe it’s not that surprising that we continue to go back to that overused well, end-time and end-time again? Maybe drinking from Ragnarok renews and sustains us, whether its by our own hands, an act of God, or the whims of an uncontrollable universe?
Well, then it’s too bad that Wrath of the Titans is based on Greek mythology, which doesn’t have a doomsday story other than possibly Plato’s Atlantis, and not Norse, which does. Of course, one could also make the argument that neither this movie nor its undignified remake, Clash of the Titans, were actually based on Greek mythology, either. Regardless, nothing can stop Liam Neeson’s Zeus from telling his demigod son Persus, Sam Worthington, that the return of the gods’ gods will be “the end of the world.” SPOILER ALERT: It isn’t. After checking out the trailer, be sure to read the synopsis over at /Film. I defy you to make sense of either:
Next we have the much more apropos 4:44 Last Day On Earth, from the kinda legendary indie filmmaker Abel Ferrara. It’s one of those “thoughtful” visions of our total annihilation, where instead of trying to figure out how to stop it, people either accept their fate or desperately begin searching for what it all means, man. It stars Willem Dafoe, Natasha Lyonne, and Paz de la Huerta, who I hear is a big deal for those of you who enjoy “Boardwalk Empire” and train wrecks. The premise of what do you do with your final hours, when everybody else is asking the same question is an intriguing premise. What could you get away with? Should you? But I’m not sure what to make of the trailer:
Really, I guess my only question is, which Willem are we going to get?
(via George Takei’s Facebook page)
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He admits that single line is a stretch for inclusion in this post, so to make up for that he would like to share the alternate header photo he nearly used.)