ByBrian Salisbury, writer at
Brian Salisbury

Last year, much was made over a Mayan prediction about the end of the world. Evidently, notations on an ancient calendar were extrapolated into a prophecy that the world as we know it would cease to be in the year 2012. By the very posting of this article, and your subsequent reading of said article, it's clear that the Mayans were a bit off. However, as much as 2012 became a date synonymous with Armageddon, it is 2013 that seems to be shaping up to be the year of cinematic apocalypse. Several films centering on life after the endtimes will be crashing into theaters this year. Behold!


Director kicks off the trend in 2013 with Oblivion. Each of the post-apocalyptic films this year are anchored by a major box office draw. This is not surprising of course, but the fact that it defines each and every one of these films again echoes the idea of a possible comeback for this subgenre. headlines a cast that includes and in this story of a drone operator who represents one of the last remaining people to exist, however briefly, on a decimated Earth...or so he thought.

Barring the strange similarities between Cruise's character and that of Wall-E, Oblivion offers plenty of fuel for anticipation. Tron: Legacy was certainly not without its faults, but what Kosinski did very well in that film was to instill within the audience a lived-in texture to even the fantastical world of The Grid. It will be interesting to see how he works in the opposite direction; making environments we actually live in feel desolate, foreign, and lost to the ages.

After Earth

A father and son crashland on Earth some one thousand years after humanity has abandoned what became a hostile planet. His father dying, the young boy must traverse the dangerous landscape of what used to be our world in order to recover their rescue beacon. and his real-life son take the lead roles here.

After the abysmal failure, at least critically, of The Last Airbender, and coupled with the lukewarm (at best) reception to his previous two films, desperately needs a win here. He has the benefit of Will Smith, who still manages to draw crowds, but the plot would suggest that Jaden will actually be the central character. As long as the whole movie doesn't end up having some idiotic twist--like say, I don't know, perhaps they land on Earth in the distant past instead of the future they know--I will at least be somewhat interested in this one.


(District 9) returns this year with Elysium. The film is set in the year 2159; a time when classes are so polarized that the rich have escaped the ruined Earth to live in a luxurious space station. , again a box office draw, stars as an ex-con who is forced to take a on dangerous mission to save his own life, but who might end up reshaping the balance of this dystopian future.

There was no denying the social consciousness of Blomkamp's breakout District 9, nor does Elysium appear to be hiding its own commentary. He has created another future marred by the widespread inhumanity of Earth's own citizenry. But beyond that, what makes Elysium an interesting notation on this list is that, from its Comic-Con footage, it appears to also be a throwback to the glory days of '80s post-apocalyptic cinema. You've got an arid landscape, killer robots, exploding ninja stars, and as a wasteland warlord. How many times can I be signed up?

The Smiling Doom--2013's Apocalyptic Comedies

In addition to this trio of flicks, which foretell how the human race will be surviving after the fallout, we will also be getting a pair of comedies about the catastrophic event itself. The first will be This Is the End, starring , , , , and practically every other comic working today, This Is the End revolves around a party at Franco's place that coincides with the apocalypse. The hook here is that all the actors will be playing themselves.

Later in the year, we'll be getting 's The World's End. Wright once again teams with and for what will be the final film of The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy; Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz comprising the other two. The World's End finds a group of middle-aged chums seeking to recreate a failed pub crawl from years before. This last gasp of their youth may also end up being the Earth's final act. As if the Wright/Pegg/Frost band getting back together were not enough, The World's End also boasts the likes of and .

So why is it so many post-apocalyptic sci-fi actioners, as well as apocalyptic comedies, are arriving in 2013 when so few were released the year of the supposed apocalypse? Is it the fact that, were the Mayan prediction accurate, that 2013 would indeed exist post-apocalypse? Seems narratively logical, but fiscally self-defeated. If any studio actually believed 2012 were the year the world would end, why would they bother releasing anything, no matter how apocalyptically appropriate, in the smoldering husks of what used to be theaters? Suffice to say, before our brains begin to melt, this is a strange trend for 2013.


Latest from our Creators