You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Movies

  • Films piling up
    Unable to find her second directing project, Angelina Jolie took to sifting through “generals.
  • Spy tale's gritty reality unthrilling in best way
    'A Most Wanted Man' Gunther Bachmann may pull a lot of strings as the head of a Hamburg-based anti-terrorism unit, but to call this schlubby, chain-smoking, hard-drinking German intelligence
  • Filmmaker's agenda stands in way of smoother story
    'Calvary' When Father James, the shambling, deeply humane protagonist of “Calvary,” returns to his monklike living quarters after celebrating Mass or making parish visits, he's greeted by
Advertisement
Lionsgate
Jennifer Lawrence struggles in a post-apocalyptic world in the “Hunger Games” franchise.
Commentary

Film heroines need more than end of the world

Hollywood has always loved a disaster story. Lately, our heroes aren’t saving the world by drilling to the center of the Earth or engaging in robotic boxing matches with monsters from another universe. Instead, the world goes to hell by means of alien invasion, totalitarian government or radical income inequality.

The remedies for these post-apocalypses are often similar. They feature plucky teenage girls, such as archer Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games” books and films; Tris Prior from Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” franchise; and Melanie, who acquires an alien parasite in “The Host,” the other hit from “Twilight” scribe Stephenie Meyer. These characters are often marginalized by their class status, but after they discover the truth about the governments or alien invaders that rule their worlds, and fight for social change, they become symbols of resistance. Also, there is smooching.

This trend has given audiences a welcome and overdue crop of young female heroines and has helped establish young actresses, such as Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley, as action stars.

But post-apocalypse stories get repetitive awfully fast. There’s always another dictator, and another radically stratified or sorted society, on the next page or the next movie poster. Now, these stories tell us less about how we might respond to the loss of technology, what kind of government we really crave in a crisis and the ways women lead – and more about what sells.

Instead of letting young women come to the forefront once the world has gone to pieces, a real test for Hollywood would be to see if it can make a hit out of a story in which a young woman staves off disaster.

Advertisement