The Doom and Gloom of Cinema

The films appearing in cinemas in the summer of 2013 appear to be all about doom and gloom. Roobla looks at some of the least cheery films on offer.

During two recent cinema trips, groups of people remarked at the state of the multiplex’s line up – “it’s all doom and gloom!” – and upon closer inspection, it appears they are right. Many of the current trailers present a sense of apocalypse, catastrophe and disaster, and feature a select few heroes whose purpose it is to save the day. Epic blockbusters that centre on these themes are common, but it is the sheer volume of them at the present time that is alarming. On a typical cinema’s current schedule, comedies are rare and romance is nowhere to be seen; laughs are only available from The Hangover Part III, which failed to receive favourable critical reception, and light entertainment is provided in the form of children’s films such as Epic and spectacle action films like Fast & Furious 6.

In a few years’ time, theorists will probably look back on this seemingly dark period of cinema and provide a critical analysis explaining when, what and why, but for now, Roobla presents a list of the gloomiest current Hollywood films and their trailers…


Star Trek: Into Darkness

Fire, explosions, destruction and an evil villain feature in the trailer of Star Trek: Into Darkness. The actions of a terrorist threaten to bring war upon Earth and Captain Kirk and his team must stop him. The film is a big step up on the misery scale from the serious but light-hearted original series, on which it is based; no laughs will be had at the expense of its actors or technology like the television show, it’s pretty grim, apart from light humour which is usually at Spock’s expense.

Man of Steel

While a sense of doom is to be expected with superhero stories, they are often told with humour and in celebration and happiness; after all, the hero always saves the day, right? Celebration and happiness is absent in the trailer of this Superman tale, it instead opts for a poignant soundtrack detailing the sad emotions of a child, the grimness of a school bus diving into the ocean and Superman’s struggle. He probably ends up saving a lot of people, but Man of Steel doesn’t seem to bask in the glory of his efforts, instead focusing on the danger and consequences of Superman’s heroic actions – it seems very gloomy, but ultimately interesting and intriguing, how will a bleak superhero film compare to the cheeriness of Iron Man 3?

After Earth

Perhaps the only thing more depressing than After Earth’s 12% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes is the status of humanity on Earth. Humans have moved elsewhere and every living thing on the planet has evolved to kill them, making it the most dangerous place in the universe for the species. An emotional but ultimately epic soundtrack and voice over by Will Smith contribute to a sense of despair and sadness, but there does appear to be some hope in the form of the bond and knowledge of the lonely humans.

World War Z

The whole world seems to have gone to sh*t in World War Z, and Brad Pitt and his team have 90 days to save humanity. Buildings are destroyed, “people” are shot down by the military and no one seems to know what is going on, and to top it off, Pitt is trapped on a plane with rabid zombies. There doesn’t seem to be much hope for the world, as death and destruction appears to have consumed every country, and humanity is racing against the clock for its survival.

What are your feelings about the current state of the multiplex?

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