Aliens, rapture, giant robots: Hollywood takes on the apocalypse

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:27am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The end of the world once again comes to Hollywood's big screens this summer, with movies ranging from big-budget action adventures to indie comedies putting their twist on the apocalypse.

Earth is annihilated after aliens destroy the moon, giant robots battle monsters, and in a comedy take on the biblical rapture, mortals are left behind to deal with atheists and spirits.

"Oblivion," starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, starts the trend on Friday. Made on an estimated budget of $120 million and set in 2077, it follows the last humans as they prepare to find a new home on another planet.

"There's an innate fascination with thinking about what life would be like after we're gone," the film's director, Joseph Kosinski, told Reuters.

"Oblivion" will be followed in June and July by M. Night Shyamalan's "After Earth," starring Will Smith, all-star comedy "This is the End," zombie film "World War Z" and robots-versus-aliens adventure "Pacific Rim."

British comedy "The World's End" opens in August.

Bob Thompson, professor of pop culture at Syracuse University, said the trend may reflect a sense of insecurity among Americans, particularly over the economy, the environment and political gridlock.

"Americans do have an 'end-of-days' feel to them ... . Our civilization is in decline, Congress can't get anything done ... . The metaphor for the end of the world is simply an exaggerated story that deals with the same feelings," Thompson told Reuters.   Continued...

U.S. actor Tom Cruise poses as he arrives for the world premiere of his movie "Oblivion" in Buenos Aires in this March 26, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/Files