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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.