The End Is Near!

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SPOILER ALERT: If for some reason you don’t know how the movie Oz generally ends, don’t read on.

I went to a vividly colorful, feel-good movie tonight — Oz, The Great and Powerful, the prequel to the classic Wizard of Oz. Feel-good that is if you ignore the anti-supernatural message and the humanist savior who frees the people from tyranny to the supernatural by using the “magic” of their own hands and minds. Feel good in that the good guys win, freedom is gained, and fear and oppression is vanquished. And the expert use of 3D effects didn’t hurt either.

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What struck me most about my evening at the theatre, though, was not the main feature but the first three trailers shown tonight. It seems the newest theme for the summer’s blockbusters is, well, apocalypse. The end is near. Whether by some great war that leaves the world largely uninhabitable (Oblivion) or environmental disaster (After Earth), life as we know it is over. Even Disney is getting in on the action; The Croods is the story of a cave-family on the verge of the catastrophic, earthquake-filled end of their world.

What is it? What accounts for this preoccupation with an apocalyptic end? Why are we so sure we are on the verge of oblivion? Why this loss of hope and a resignation to disaster?

What do you think?

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