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...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →