Hollywood Destroys the World

Director Roland Emmerich has nearly destroyed the world three times already. This time, he means to finish the job.

In his next movie, “2012,” which comes out in November, the earth will rip apart, fulfilling an ancient prophecy [see the disinformation film 2012: Science or Superstition for information on that]. The director previously leveled civilization with an alien attack in the 1996 movie “Independence Day,” unleashed Godzilla a couple years later and orchestrated a climate disaster in 2004’s “The Day After Tomorrow.” His new film, he says, reflects a darker world view. “I’m really very pessimistic these days,” he says.

A flood of postapocalyptic stories is now headed toward movie theaters and TV screens: Expect to see characters fending off cannibals, picking up day-to-day survival techniques and struggling to maintain their humanity amid the ruins. Previous waves of pop-culture disaster, from the Atomic Age paranoia of “War of the Worlds” to Watergate-era flicks such as “The Towering Inferno,” have depicted calamity in stunning detail. Many of the new projects, however, actually skip the spectacle of doomsday. Instead, they’re more fixed on what goes down in the aftermath.

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