IoS fil preview of 2013 2: Forget the Mayans, the end of the world is nigh ... again


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The Independent Culture

We may have made it past the Earth's expiry date, as forecast by those fibbing Mayans, but the future's not looking bright according to the movies. In Oblivion, Tom Cruise is stuck on an Earth long since abandoned by the human race. In After Earth, the planet is also a human-free zone until Will Smith and his son, Jaden, crash land there. (The film is directed by M Night Shyamalan, so there's a high chance that Jaden's character will be named Adam and that he'll meet a girl called Eve.) In Elysium, Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9, the have-nots are left on a desolate Earth, while the haves live it up in a luxury space station. And in The World's End, which reunites Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, a 40th-birthday pub crawl happens to coincide with, yes, the end of the world. Not to be confused with This Is the End, another apocalyptic comedy, with Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Just for a change, Village at the End of the World isn't about global annihilation; it's a documentary on a hamlet in Greenland. But even here, the footage of melting glaciers has an air of doomsday.

The only hope for mankind's survival, it seems, is the number of superheroes knocking around. Three of the Avengers Ω Iron Man, Thor and Captain America Ω are back in their own solo vehicles, while Superman is rebooted, and re-caped, in The Man of Steel. It's directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and produced by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight).

Star Trek Into Darkness suggests that the Earth will at least be habitable in centuries to come, although not if Benedict Cumberbatch's villain has anything to do with it. But a safer bet might be to head back to the Roaring Twenties for Baz Luhrmann's 3D extravaganza, The Great Gatsby. Both films are released on 17 May, assuming we're all still here then.

Face to watch

Just 10 years ago, Nicholas Hoult was that toothy gnome with the haircut from hell in About a Boy. In 2013, he's a leading man, playing a lovelorn zombie in Warm Bodies, plus the title role in Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer. It's an appropriate film for an actor who has sprung up like a beanstalk.