Hollywood likes to second-guess itself and look over its shoulder. “Oh, you’re producing a film about a math wizard who falls in love and takes a trip around the world in a balloon?” [Turns head, whispers in teeth to assistant] “Where’s our version of this? Get a draft on my desk by next Thursday.” This year we’ll see two White House movies (“White House Down” and “Olympus Has Fallen”) going toe-to-toe and a number of superhero film face-offs. But with apocalypse movies, it’s almost something else entirely. It seems to have captured the creative zeitgeist, and/or everyone is just creatively bankrupt. In Hollywood, it’s always hard to tell.
But this year, there are at least three apocalypse comedies, a straight-up horror, a procedural blockbuster, a rock ‘em sock ‘em robot vs. monsters one, and a post-apocalyptic one thrown in for good measure. That’s eight films in all. Are they unique snowflakes? Are they different enough from one another? What are they about? Are they worth your time? Are you hungry already? We dive into 2013’s eight apocalypse movies so you don’t have to. Here’s all you need to know. Let’s do this.
“This Is The End”
What’s It About? Six friends -- Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Jay Baruchel -- throw Los Angeles’ sickest house party. But as a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles and the world outside unravels, the six friends find themselves trapped inside, trying to deal with the oncoming end of the world.
What Brings On The Rapture? It’s an unexplained phenomenon and the friends have to do discover what it is. When they do, the loose plot coalesces, but we won’t spoil it here.
Will Audiences Go See It? Probably. It’s got a who’s who of contemporary comedians in it, plus a cavalcade of cameos and co-stars like Emma Watson, Aziz Ansari, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Rihanna and more.
What Makes It Stand Out From The Rest Of The End Is Nigh Movies? Well, unlike most super-serious doomsday films, it’s comedic, super irreverent and very-meta -- all the actors play themselves and the main gag is the actors skewering their public personas.
Final Verdict: Our reviewer didn’t love it and essentially says that one gag is spread too thin and some more plot and fundamentals could have gone a long way. “They call can all be sharp and smart comics, and in spots during [the movie] they certainly are,” he wrote. “[But it’s] a vanity project that hopes that audiences will enjoy hanging out with Seth and the gang as much as they like hanging out with each other.” Still that doesn't mean other members of The Playlist won't love it when we all catch up with it. Time will tell.
“The World's End”
What’s It About? 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when the more stunted man-child of the group becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. Their pub crawl then runs into trouble...
What Brings On The Rapture? "The World’s End" is the third installment of Edgar Wright’s “Three Flavors Cornetto” trilogy of comedies. Let’s say there’s spoilers from here on out, so please don’t read if you don’t want to know. Although, to be fair, the posters and trailers pretty much reveal what the main threat is. And though we’re not 100% sure having not seen the movie, it’s pretty clear from the aforementioned marketing materials that it’s some sort of extra-terrestrial beings or forces that takes over humans a la “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.”
What Makes It Stand Out From The Rest Of The End Is Nigh Movies? Well, it’s a comedy and it’s also got sci-fi elements, it reportedly has an all ‘80s soundtrack (the songs of the main characters' youth) and it’s set in the U.K. with an all-star English cast -- Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike. Presumably its English bent will make it stand out quite a bit.
Will Audiences Go See It? There’s always a question whether British comedies will connect with U.S. audiences. Recent pictures we loved like “Attack The Block” and “Sightseers” didn’t really seem to move the needle. That said, all of Wright’s Cornetto films thus far have landed very well and done well at the box-office given their modest budgets.
Final Verdict: None, it doesn’t come out until August and we bet it’ll premiere at Comic-Con first. Though from first blush it sort of looks like “Attack The Block” with adults meets, Edgar’s Cornetto sensibilities.