Apocalyptic Notions, Relevant Politics, Dysfunctional Families Dominate Movie Slate to Come

Updated 5 years ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Scene Olympus Has Fallen
Scene Olympus Has Fallen
Trending at the movies for the Spring/Summer distributors interupt  good versus evil heroic franchises , opting for twin topics that reflect the not so scrubbed under the rug anxieties of the 21st Century.

Let’s do the easiest spin first. Since romantic comedy has fallen along with the skewed and morphing definition of a relationship, smiles, kisses and happily ever afters seldom sync with the newest generation of flick goers. Hollywood has been slow to catch up, but dysfunctional relationship comedy has gradually taken hold after under performances by  “Five Year Engagement” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”


2013 brings three Tyler Perry romps ( “Temptation” (March 29),  “We the Peeples” (May 10),  “Madea Christmas” (Dec 13)  another Hangover III (May 24, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis),  a ready to collapse in verbal assault and battery “ Big Wedding  (April 26, Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams), Grown Ups II (July 13, Adam Sandler ), and oldsters accepting a  fish out of water, “Intership” ( June 7,  Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson) .


The second dominating theme has been rapidly churning of end of civilization as we know it (a.k.a.  apocalyptic films). Their emergence began before the atomic bomb race of World War II (“Metropolis,” “End of the World,” “Deluge”), but the threats of nuclear oblivion during the Cold War set a standard for other worldly invaders (“War of the Worlds”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”) , nuclear desolation (“On the Beach”, “World, Flesh and Devil”) and mutated futures where apes, zombies or insects rule the a globe which has survived a virus,  internal or external catastrophe, or the grips of planet wide dictatorship.

Apocalyptic Notions, Relevant Politics, Dysfunctional Families Dominate Movie Slate to Come

During 1950-1959 only 7 such films were released and in the 60s, a total of 13. The futuristic computer or ape administered dominions  brought 23 flicks in the 70s and 30 in the 80s. But following September 11, 2001, the genre literally exploded to 55 titles (after a slight 90s slump to 29).  2010-2012 brought 18 flicks, including a revival of the war and man induced cataclysm scratching humans on earth.

2013’s crop adds a variation --- wasting the White House (perhaps, cinematic exasperation at the continuous Congressional gridlock).  “Olympus Has Fallen” (  Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett)  opened in late March ,but “White House Down” (June 28,

Channing Tatum, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, James Woods ) awaits. In each film, it’s up to a  secret service agent to rescue  the commander in chief from a  the bad guys.

Reflecting the crime gone haywire attitudes which last evolved during the times of racial and student unrest (“Strawberry Statement,” “Escape from New York”) comes a “Hunger Games” sacrificing of the weak spin-off called, “The Purge” built around home invasions and a 12-hour crime without punishment ritual. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey star.

Apocalyptic Notions, Relevant Politics, Dysfunctional Families Dominate Movie Slate to Come


June brings an intimate scope to wiping out the population potentially along the “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” scenario following the actions of one would-be couple.  “This is the End” places a group of drinking buddies  (Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson) safely on the outskirts of Los Angeles when catastrophe hits. They survive the Big One, but for how long can they hold off cabin fever and the  eventual demand to restock the pantry?


Meanwhile, zombies, robots  politics, and other post-apocalyptic themes instill fright, paranoia and banding together in releases such as:

Apocalyptic Notions, Relevant Politics, Dysfunctional Families Dominate Movie Slate to Come


Evil Dead, (April 5) :  Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore star in a remake of the 1981 cult horror frolic where a five 20something’s unleash demons upon themselves and the world.  

Oblivion, (April 19, Tom Cruise):  Patrolling the wiped out ruins of humanity, Cruise extracts resources from Earth’s surface to transport to   evacuated humans that is until a beautiful and mysterious woman (no, not Eve) played by Olga Kurylenko   lands her spacecraft on the planet devastated by an intergalactic war.  And, Tom’s every move is watched by Morgan Freeman from a spy eye in the sky.

After Shock (May 10, Eli Roth, Andrea Osvait):  American tourists endure a earth shattering trembler while on vacation in Chile.  In a twist on “The Poseidon Adventure,” the group is trapped in an underground nightclub and must carve their way back to the surface.

After Earth (June 7, Will Smith, Jaden Smith):  Crash landing on the planet 1,000 years after its abandonment, father and son…..

World War Z  (June 21, Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, Matthew Fox): A United Nations operative has a zombie pandemic on his plate and he’s  criss crossing the planet seeking data from survivors to prevent its resurgence.

Pacific Rim ( July 12, Charlie Hunnam, Idris  ,Elba, Rinko Kikuchi): Guillermo del Toro directs a war between sea monsters (Kaiju) and humanity’s robots (Jaegers), where an obsolete pilot teams with an untrained rookie on a quest to save the planet.

Elysium (Aug 9, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster), where in 2159 the extremely affluent  have fled a ruined, over populated Earth for a space station, one man under takes a mission to heal the polarization amongst the classes, which at its root has strong immigration laws preventing entry to the luxurious space station.



Family friendly releases this summer include  Despicable Me II, Epic,  Turbo. Monster University, Smurfs 2, and  ( Pixar) Planes.

As for franchise heroics, “Iron Man III,” opens May 3,   “Star Trek Into Darkness”  on May 17,  “Man of Steel” has another reboot June 14, and “The Lone Ranger” (July 3, Johnny Depp)  attempts   to  again become a high grossing motion picture trilogy.

Finally, do not confuse “Wolverine” with either the X-Men character or the band of young rebels from “Red Dawn.” Instead, it’s Logan, the comic book  influenced, Logan, samurai of steel (Hugh Jackman), clashes in Japan with baggage from his origin.

BIG TENTPOLE FUTURE 2013 RELEASE DATES:  “Sin City A Dame to Kill For (October 4); “Carrie” (Oct 18); Paranormal Activity V (October 25); “Thor the Dark World” (Nov 8); “Hunger Games Catching Fire (Nov .22) and “Hobbit Desolation of Smang” (Dec. 13).



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