Presentation on theme: "Post Apocalyptic Films Max Ardron. Narrative conventions of post apocalyptic films In a post apocalyptic film the narrative usually centres around a few."— Presentation transcript:
Narrative conventions of post apocalyptic films In a post apocalyptic film the narrative usually centres around a few primary characters. These characters are usually ‘survivors’. The story is usually focussed on these characters trying to achieve something that maybe considered simple in now times but in post apocalyptic times near impossible. For example: – Searching for other survivors A typical aspect of these films are that these characters are alone and the rest of the world has died around them. – Getting food In a film like ‘The Road’ all the crops have died out so the characters have to scavenge for remains or even turn to cannibalism. – Carrying on the legacy of humanity Sometimes these characters may be incredibly important and their very existence creates a hope for humanity such as in ‘I am Legend’. Will Smith plays a scientist who is immune to the virus and works on a cure that could save mankind. Robert Neville (I am Legend) Man and Boy (The Road)
Post Apocalyptic films often do not have happy endings, but what they tend to do is provide the viewer with a glimmer of hope. For example, in ‘The Road’ the boy sees a bug, this represents life living on and that idea that in even the bleakest of circumstances life can find a way. Another example is in the film ‘Cloverfield’ where even though our protagonists fate seems relatively grim we hear cries of the monster dying which provide the viewer with no definite promises but just a hope for the future. Plus in ‘I am Legend’ where the protagonists are able to deliver ‘the cure’ to a secret government facility it gives the viewer hope. This does not mean that the story is completely over, PA films often have massive budgets and if they make enough money to make a sequel they need to keep the story open. Cloverfield monster Rob (Protagonist) I am Legend ‘Safe Zone’ We never really see in PA films the world get totally restored at the end the film because there is always a sense of ambiguity the filmmakers want to leave behind. The filmmakers often want to leave the end up to your own imagination..
Character conventions of post apocalyptic films The characters in post apocalyptic films are often just normal everyday people trying to survive. This is what makes them relatable to the viewer because the more realistic these characters are, the more engaging they are to watch. For example the man and the boy in ‘The Road’, these characters are just everyday people, there is nothing special about them whatsoever. What makes them so engaging to watch is their passion to survive, the man does not hold the key to saving humanity, he just wants to protect his son. Often characters in PA films are haunted by their past and the viewer is often given a glimpse into these characters lives before the devastation. This is often presented using flashbacks in films such as ‘The Road’ and ‘I am Legend’. In these flashbacks there are often other people that closely related to the central character for example a girlfriend or a child, family members or close friends. Then we find out why they are not around in this time in a flashback where they leave the main characters life. Because this is so distressing for our protagonist they constantly think about these people and sometimes it even gives them a reason to go on living. Man and Boy (The Road) Robert Neville and daughter during a chaotic quarantine in New York before the disaster in a flashback scene (I am Legend)
In ‘I am Legend’ Robert Neville, our protagonist has not seen another human in three years. As he has no human contact he has formed a very tight bond with his dog. His dog is his best and only friend and serves as a symbol of Neville’s fight to go on living. The dog is not depressed, lonely or capable of ‘giving up hope’ whereas Neville could be so in a way the dog is a motivation to Neville. Robert Neville Dog This is similar in ‘The Road’, the man only has his son to keep him going, without his son he would just give up hope. The son is different from the dad, whereas the dad is an adult and far more aware of how hard life is now, and prone to depression and giving up. The son is much more optimistic. The son generally believes that there is hope whereas the dad might only want to believe. Just like the dog, the son is a symbol of hope and the motivation to keep the dad going. Man (Dad) Boy (Son) We, the viewers understand the relationship between one man and his dog, mans best friend. And, as there are no other humans we understand how Neville bonded so closely with this dog. That is why when our furry friend comes to his untimely conclusion it is so heart-breaking, not just for Neville but for the viewers to. It’s almost like this final symbol of hope has been destroyed, now Neville has to just give up.
Generally in Post Apocalyptic films the main characters (if there is more than one main character) tend to stick together. In the film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ a bunch of college students take shelter in the New York Public Library. These are examples of characters that take the ‘Wait-it-out’ approach, instead of fleeing they choose to wait until the worst of the disaster is over.