Last night I watched After The Dark.  I caught the trailer online and got interested.  As post-apocalyptic movies are rather ubiquitous in the theatres these days, it’s always worth a watch if one stands out enough to be noticed.

I’m not going to go into a long synopsis of the films plot; I’ll copy paste the one provided under the youtube video link here:

“Faced with an impending nuclear apocalypse, a group of twenty college students must determine which ten of them would take shelter underground and reboot the human race. The decision quickly becomes deadly as each in the group turns against each other in a desperate fight for survival.”

I liked the idea of the film, having supposed genius high school philosophy students attempt to find a solution to survival and the rebuilding of mankind after the planet is rendered uninhabitable.  The film takes place in the classroom, where we see that the student’s imaginations brought to life.  It was not unlike watching a huge game of D&D style roleplaying minus the dice. Instead of clearing a dungeon, the students are brought to the task of solving the various issues that come up when one is attempting to gauge the value of human life under extreme situations.  They get three different attempts to solve the situation as it is laid out for them.

First off, the philosophy put forth in the classroom is literally from any intro to philosophy class.  They cover all the first quarter clichés.  I didn’t have a problem with this as a movie doesn’t have the time, nor does a modern day audience have the attention span to get more involved.  Rather, I enjoyed the first 70% of the movie.  I even grabbed my kid about half way through and let him watch as I thought it would come close to being thought provoking. Then, the conclusion happened, and I spent a half hour explaining to him why the story had failed.

Petra, the protagonist, presumed rock star student, takes over the exercise in its 3rd iteration after iteration one and two end in everyone’s death. Putting forth her final scenario, which is an effort at being inspiring, the film attempts to support her final strategy, but in the end fails to cover up the fact that it’s selfish and completely irresponsible. She essentially dooms what may be mankind’s last chance at survival so she won’t be bored in a bunker for a year.

I’m not making this up. Watch the film if you don’t believe me.  If you do believe watch the first 3 quarters of it.

In the end, it’s a perspective on what one values.  Of course, value is always subjective, but the one thing everyone should be able to agree on is that you should always strive to preserve a species on the brink of extinction; especially when it’s your own.  You can at least agree that, under said circumstances, maybe ones own personal happiness and well being aren’t necessarily top priority.  When the human race is about to go extinct, I hope I’m not so selfish as to be thinking, “okay, but what matters to me.” If what matters to you is preserving the species, then you can hang out in my bunker.

I agreed with the teacher throughout the film, who is trying to get the kids to let reason guide their actions in a situation where following one’s emotions has real consequences.  He is, of course, cast as the antagonist.

A few years back I watched the movie Carrier’s, a post-apocalyptic film that never really got enough attention. This was a solid movie, and the one thing I took away was a hard to see lesson.  It’s always easy to hate the asshole.  The ‘asshole’ is usually the one making all the hard decisions that, in the end, keep the Holier-Than-Thou folks alive as they refuse to dirty their hands. The proclaimed ‘good’ guys get to keep their feelings of moral superiority because they let someone else insure their survival. They stand by thinking less and less of Asshole, eventually becoming afraid of him, until he becomes the villain.  Frankly, he usually becomes the villain as a reaction to their inability to see that by taking on the role he has, he’s sparred them of having to feel responsible for whatever it was that had to be done. Never giving any credence to the fact that had he not been playing his role, no one would be alive long enough to bask in their own moral superiority.

After the Dark, did this to the teacher, and in the end I lost respect for the film.  When there is 10 people left to save the human race, you don’t follow your heart. You save the damn species.

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