Last night I decided to watch 3 ‘end of the world’ films to mark this momentous occasion. No I haven’t been sucked in by the apocalypse phenomena, I just feel it is quite an important part of history – I’m sure we will be telling our grandchildren about the day the world didn’t end… Well maybe not but it was an excuse to sit on my butt and watch 3 films back to back 🙂
“It’s always better to sleep in the fire escape than have pity sex I always say”
First choice was Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012), with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. I enjoy Steve Carell in his films, he might not be that versatile (I think he has 2 characters, the simple funny man, i.e. his role in Anchorman, The US Office, or Dinner for Shmuks, and the normalised version i.e. Dan in Real Life, or Date Night), but I enjoy these characters so I say stick with what you are good at. In this film he played the normalised funny guy, the complete opposite of Keira’s character who was a neurotic, flakey, indecisive, positive and happy-go-lucky woman. I used to dislike Keira Knightley, I found her pout and accent annoying and did not watch her films in protest. However I went to see Anna Karenina not too long ago and my whole opinion changed. (That is a beautiful film that deserves a dedicated post so I wont go into detail!). I can’t deny that she is a fantastic actress, and a complete stunner. Maybe I was just jealous, so hated her as girls do! More indication that I am becoming a bigger person! (I no longer hate Tom Cruise either).
The premise of the movie is that a meteor is en route to hit earth and they have 3 weeks to live. It is blunt, and unforgiving. Everyone will die in 3 weeks time, please put your affairs in order. People seemed quite calm about the whole thing, Dodge’s house maid still comes to work as usual and Dodge even goes to work for a few days before thinking ‘screw this’. So his wife leaves him and he is all alone, waiting for the world to end. He meets Penny (Keira) who goes with Dodge on a journey to find his high school sweetheart and they fall in love on the way. That’s not a spoiler – it’s quite clear that is going to happen. The story sounds boring, and not that much happens on the journey, it is a simple love story between a very unlikely couple. But actually I enjoyed watching it, easy viewing. And I cried like a baby at the end I might add. Steve Carell was heartwarming and charming, as was Keira Knightly and they surprisingly had a lot of chemistry. Highlight of the film for me was when they come across a Diner that is still open, they go in and have a drink, everyone is high as a kite and then it turns into a massive orgy which they have to wriggle out of. Hilarious! (Also spotted Britta from Community as a waitress!)
I loved this take on the apocalypse, it felt very real, and I was immersed in the characters from the off. My favourite of the 3 and coincidentally where the title quote comes from. Just a lovely film.
I may have been a bit more positive about Seeking a Friend than I usually would have been, due to the next 2 films I watched the same evening. After seeing what we should have been doing before the world ended, I thought natural progression is a film about the world actually ending. I went for 2012 (2009).
“The Mayans saw this coming years ago!”
A lot of famous faces in this film, it has the likes of John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, and these are just faces I recognised, sure the film buffs would spot a lot more! (Or I could just look it up on IMDB!). This film was completely different from the one I had just watched. The planet is heating up at a rapid speed and the general public have no warning, the planet just starts having massive disasters. There is no time to reflect on the life you should have lived… It follows John Cusacks family, including new step dad to his children, on a frantic journey to find safety from the impending doom. It also has a few sub-plots of characters that no one really cares about! The main attraction of this film is the CGI. The special effects are crazy. The earths crust is breaking and you can imagine the kind of scale of destruction. Other than that the film itself is pretty terrible. John Cusacks family have so many near death experiences that they survive unscathed, I can’t even count. How many times can they run, or drive, or fly away from ground falling underneath them just in the nick of time… It is full of clichés and over the top drama. There are a couple of teary phone calls that failed to even get a watery eye out of me (and I cry at TV adverts). A main character dies and I didn’t bat an eye lid – the problem is you don’t care about any of the characters because it is all so unbelievable.
It is also 2 and a half hours long! I have to admit I ended up skipping through some of the devastation during the end. The family sneak into a big ship that has been built-in preparation for this world disaster, almost die, and then the doors are opened to the public anyway – idiots. I guess this film had a happy ending, but I skipped past it because I just didn’t care what happened to these good awful characters.
“I will kill anyone who touches you. Because that’s my job.”
However, it did lead well into the final film of the evening. The world ended, and The Road (2009) is a good look at how to survive in the aftermath.
The Road stars Viggo Mortensen and child actor Kody Smit-McPhee who both gave fantastic performances. It also has Charlize Theron appearing in flash backs through out the film. This has to be one of the most depressing films I have ever seen (Never Let Me Go and Requiem for a Dream being the MOST depressing). The world they live in is a grey, dull place, much like the mood of the film. It looks as though it is almost shot in black and white, nothing has any colour as there are no plants or animals – every thing is dead. It was very cleverly shot, as any colours really stood out. Due to cannibalism taking hold of most survivors over the years since the planet died, any sight of bright red blood was shocking and terrifying. The only scene full of colour were those when the Father and Son found a bunker of food and they could relax for 1 night.
The story was deeply saddening and the film got more and more heartbreaking. Viggo playing the Father who is trying desperately to keep his son alive in the harsh conditions, teaches him how to shoot himself if he got caught by the ‘bad guys’. Viggo gives his young son the gun on many occasions – showing that they are constantly on the verge of a terrifying, gruesome death. There is also a constant theme of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ that the son is trying to fight for, even though he was born into this world and wouldn’t know right from wrong without his Father.
I am still unsure on what the goal was for the plot – the Father wants to get to the beach, but I am not sure what for, and you never find out. I wont say any more on the story line because I wouldn’t want to ruin it for any potential viewers.
It is a beautiful, heart-breaking film, and I was depressed through the whole thing. Definitely would not watch it again unless I felt like crying for 2 hours (which some times we do!) but I can’t deny that it is an excellent film. It did not fill me with confidence that I would ever survive a post apocalyptic world though! I think I would rather be killed in the blast.
So from all this preparation I learnt that I should keep my favourite people close to me at all times in fear of sudden planet destruction, and always carry a loaded gun incase I need to get out of a sticky situation with cannibals. Safe to say after this apocalypse binge I am really glad we made it past 11.11am 21/12/2012!!
Tagged: 2012, apocalypse, blog, charlize theron, cinema, critic, end of the world, film, films, john cusack, keira knightley, mayans, movie, movies, new blogger, review, seeking a friend for the end of the world, steve carell, the road, viggo mortensen, woody harrelson