Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Post-Apocalypse Now

May 31, 2013 11:46 am 0 comments

A promotional image for After Earth. Photo: Sony/Columbia Pictures.

Here’s a hint for Hollywood if it’s looking for a real “green” hero. Look to Israel. If there is a group of people who know a little something about sustainability, about surviving more than one near apocalypse, you can find them there.

I say this because at the movies, on TV, in books and even in the form of Disneyeque animation, we’ve seen the world destroyed in a wave after wave of dystopian, post-apocalyptic depictions. Tomorrow, in the latest incarnation, “After Earth“, we’ll see Will Smith and his 14-year-old son Jaden play a father-and-son team that crash land back on an Earth that’s been abandoned due to eco-carnage by humans for thousands of years.

But let’s rewind the reel a little first. In 2007, the Pulitzer Prize for literature went to “The Road,” Cormac McCarthy’s hauntingly beautiful, but dark as night, novel about a father and son traipsing across a scorched, barren earth.

And while readers were raising “The Road” onto the best-seller lists, Al Gore packed theaters with his PowerPoint presentation and altered the linguistic landscape turning the term, “An Inconvenient Truth” into a phrase that’s been recycled and reapplied causes of every kind.

About a year later, in ’08 and with Pixar’s “Wall-E,” Mother Earth had been abandoned by humans, leaving a lone robot to clean up. More recently we’ve gone from “Oblivion“ (another tale of post-apocalypse though this time we were done in by invading aliens who we had to nuke) to another post-apocalyptic yarn, “The Book of Eli.”

Each work, in its own way, presents a bleak vision that hasn’t been seen in pop culture since the Cold War, when doomsday scenarios were a constant, from “Fail Safe” and “Dr. Strangelove” to television’s “The Day After.”

But while threats of nuclear-style Armageddon was the cause célèbre back then, a sense of environmental catastrophe is rampant today, transmitting its potential effects like gamma rays everywhere.

Exploiting the trend, every corporate brand has had to rethink their image as they lay claim to Green. Fashion-wise, green’s become the new black. But the green that many businesses are really responding is cash because of the inconvenient truth (there I go) that environmental sustainability had become one of consumer purchasing behavior’s top influences.

Likewise, Hollywood picking up (er, championing) this movement has adapted and transformed storylines and re-affixed disasters, from creating masterpieces of extreme nuclear apocalypse, to the newest and latest “eco” kind.

In tomorrow’s “After Earth” the audience is greeted with an opening narration about Earth’s evacuation after a vague environmental catastrophe. But having taken this story from every angle already, this latest attempt appears dried out and parched, rendering a scrawny 17% Rotten Tomatoes based on 19 reviews so far.

Judging by the marketing of the “After Earth, it aims to appeal to a younger set, with a campaign that launched on Facebook and Google+ emphasizing a meme of young Jaden’s character in costume. There’s no doubt, for a generation born smack dab into the 9/11 era, young people take the end of the Earth seriously.

Now back to our hero. The determination to find a solution to the ecological challenge is a narrative that’s thriving in Israel, embraced by its youth and has become the “eco”nomic engine of the country.

Israel, surrounded by countries abundant in oil, has solar panels everywhere and water tanks on their rooftops. Pay phones and street lights are all powered by the sun.

While environmental apocalypse makes for a good villain, the tiny country donning the blue and white is coming to the rescue.

Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant. This article was originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →