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Film: There’s Something Films Made for Summer

By Henry P. Raleigh
ART TIMES October 2013 online

The blight of anxiety ridden films made for summer

There’s something about summer that awakens concerns for our worldly destiny, a collective ‘quo vadis’ so to speak.  Well, at least filmmakers seem to think so and spend winters working up the sort of film entertainment that may best feed our anxieties. The summer of 2013 was no exception.  It began early: April opened on “Oblivion”, a dystopian view of Earth just sixty-four years from now, a radioactive wasteland as a result of an alien versus human war.  Most of the surviving peoples are living on one of Saturn’s moons where the cost of real estate is not to be believed.  Tom Cruise had been sent to Earth to do something that obviously doesn’t pan out because in June, Will Smith in “After Earth” plays a courtesy call a 1,000 years later only to find no one is around — not even Tom or any of his clones. Apparently forgotten in the summer haste to destroy us totally was “World War Z” that somehow slipped in late June to everyone’s surprise.  This time our fate was in the hands of Brad Pitt and hopefully he could do a better job than Tom Cruise. We were, after all, well prepared for this having been long nourished on pandemic and zombie films for years now. Still, it was to no avail for before you could run for cover, July’s “Pacific Rim” found us making a last stand against a horde of CGI creatures vigorously directed by Guillermo del Toro of “Hellboy” fame.  August gave us no relief and we were compelled to throw in our remaining big gun — Matt Damon in “Elysium” Now if a combine of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon cannot halt our going to hell in a hand basket or wheelbarrow or whatever then I can tell you nothing will.  Set in 2159 little has changed save Earth, running out of space to dump garbage, has become a dump it-self, the rich living in space stations, the rest of us — you guessed it.  A plus however is the price of real estate down here, which has become dirt— rather garbage cheap.  Matt, irradiated by all the toxic pollution around, has lost his hair and is engaged in battle with a health insurance adjuster named Kruger and we all know what that’s like.

Now for all the fuss that went on, the Summer of 2013 ends in a disappointing anti-climax.  Late August gives us “The Colony”, a post-apocalyptic ice age, a lot of worthless real estate and Bill Paxton.  I'll bet it will be different next summer.

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