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Movies are unreliable when it comes to the end of the world
Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen in a scene from "The Hunger Games." - photo by Jim Bennett
So a lot of folks on the Internet are predicting that the world is going to end this month.

Apparently, it has to do with Jewish mysticism, blood moons, earthquakes and maybe even Donald Trump marrying Kim Kardashian. And while Im not sure how buying up a bunch of gold, guns and freeze-dried beef stroganoff will be helpful once the planet blows up, to each his own. I would just be glad to not have to make another mortgage payment.

Of course, if youve been paying attention to Hollywood, you know that the end of the world is long overdue. Just about every movie coming down the pike is set in a timeframe after the world ends, which means, of course, that the world doesnt really end i.e. the planet doesnt really blow up. But even when it does blow up, that isnt always a big deal. After all, Charlton Heston triggered a nuke that exploded the whole Earth in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, but there were still three more sequels after that.

Thats because the cool thing to do is to make a movie about what they call a dystopian, or post-apocalyptic, future. Post-apocalypse presumes that the world will end for most people, but there will be some unfortunate leftovers who will survive in a bleak wasteland similar to the Australian outback, or maybe Wendover on the Utah side. Thats what I got from Mad Max: Fury Road, anyway. As they were driving, they probably stopped to pick up Jennifer Lawrence from the Hunger Games movies along the way. Im sure they also passed the cast of Divergent and The Maze Runner series, all five Terminator movies, X-Men: Days of Future Past and the non-Heston Planet of the Apes reboot and its ensuing sequel. (See? Thats five more Apes sequels after Chuck Heston blew up the world six if you count the 2001 Tim Burton remake, which you really, really shouldnt.)

Personally, I dont get it.

Dont get me wrong I enjoy a good post-apocalyptic romp as much as anyone, but I dont understand why the future has to be so unrelentingly lousy. What would happen if, maybe, everything doesnt blow up all at once, and maybe the future isnt all that awful or, at least, isnt any more awful than things are now?

This is a sweet spot that Hollywood has yet to find. Because when it does forgo the doomsday predictions, it usually overcompensates and imagines a future where everything is perfect and robots do your laundry. But thats just another load of bunk. Were now two-thirds of the way through 2015, and I still dont see the flying cars Back to the Future II promised wed have by now. Im therefore considering a class action suit against Robert Zemeckis, mainly because they didnt abolish all lawyers the way his movie promised.

The thing that everyone fails to recognize is that technology changes, but people really dont. Human nature remains a constant regardless of the historical era in which we find ourselves, both in real life and in silver-screen fiction. The bad news is that this probably means that, absent divine intervention, were probably not going to live in a world free of conflict and devoid of suffering. But the good news is that we probably arent going to turn ourselves into irradiated zombies eating each others brains, no matter how many sequels World War Z has on tap. Regardless of what the movies tell us, the future may have better wi-fi, but other than that, it will probably be a whole lot like today.

Until, of course, the end of this month, when everything supposedly blows up. Beef stroganoff, anyone?