After Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice made $420 million opening weekend, Hollywood is looking to generate the same kind of financial success in the Christian/Bible genre. “Despite mixed reviews from critics, Risen, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Noah have captured people’s attention” says Kevin Reynolds, director of Waterworld and 2016’s Easter-themed Risen. “People are curious about the Bible and the history of Christianity. They want a fresh take on spirituality in ways only Hollywood can provide: 100-million-dollar epics full of white-washed casts, historically inaccurate costumes, and bone-crunching action scenes.” Darren Aronofsky, writer/director of Noahadded “why read a book when you can watch an award-winning director re-envision your favorite Bible stories into a contemporary political agenda starring Robin Hood and Batman?”


This next take on Christian History by Kevin Reynolds (Risen, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Waterworld) will be a historical drama about the life of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Reformation. “Batman v. Superman reveals that people want to see heroes fight. They want to see idealism in a darker light. They want to see chinks in the armor… What better place to see conflict and corruption than in the struggle between Catholic and Protestant in the Reformation? You’ve got war, conspiracy, scandal, execution, subterfuge, a priest marrying a nun… there’s something for everyone.”

cruel throne.jpg

Martin Luther vs. Pope Leo X: Dawn of the Reformation will open with the Roman catholic church trying to raise money through the melodramatic John Tetzel. Tetzel put on dramatic plays about the fires of hell and the torment of Purgatory, inspiring people to buy indulgences. If one bought an indulgence (“donated money to the church”), they were forgiven of past, present, or even future sinMany donated money in order to reduce time in purgatory for themselves and their loved ones. According to Luther, “the pope had a finger in the pie as well,” because half the money went to build St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

a soul from purgatory springs 2

John Tetzel and the sale of indulgences

When Martin Luther heard about John Tetzel’s tactics, he was furious. He openly challenged the sale of indulgences, arguing that God alone can forgive sin. Luther wrote his famous 95 Theses in condemnation of these corrupt practices and nailed it to the church door. “Luther believes the system has become corrupt and publicly challenges Pope Leo X to fix it.”

do you bleed, you will

Luther’s friends printed the 95 Thesis and within two months copies had spread all across Europe. “If it wasn’t for Gutenberg’s printing press, Luther probably would’ve been executed as ‘just another heretic’ like John Huss. But now the common people had the opportunity to hear Luther and agreed with him.” Pope Leo X sent an official order (a papal bull) to Luther, threatening him with excommunication if Luther did not recant and destroy his writings. Luther burned it.

luther destroy him

“Just like Batman challenged Superman, Martin Luther challenges the Pope.”

Luther is given a trial, the famous Diet of Worms, where he defended himself against the church and government authorities. “This is the Batman v Superman moment right here. Will Luther give in and recant? Will David shrink in the face of Goliath? Or, will he stand up to the Pope and be executed?” When ordered to recant, Luther gave this statement:

luther quote.jpg

Luther escapes his execution and eventually creates the Protestant church. “Just like Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice introduced all these heroes like Wonder Woman, Flash, etc., we want to introduce Reformation heroes. You’re going to see John Calvin. You’re going to see Zwingli. Dawn of the Reformation is going to be awesome.”

peasants war

The Great Peasants’ War

“Just like every Bible epic needs a big battle at the end, we’re going to have a war, too” Kevin Reynolds insists. “Luther sparks the Great Peasants’ Revolt, where the people rose up against their oppressors.” In reality, Luther was opposed to the peasants revolt and spoke against their rebellion. Reynolds has other ideas for the film. “We think Luther should be on the side of the revolt, standing with the common man against the tyrants of his day. I can’t think of a better ending than Martin Luther riding into battle against the Pope!”


Bat-Luther: “Man is still good. We break things, tear them down, but we can rebuild. We can be better, we have to be.”

“Martin Luther v. Pope Leo X: Dawn of the Reformation is a movie everyone needs to see. It reminds us that power has a corrosive effect on human beings. Many institutions start out as good but become corrupt over time, even the church. Sometimes “being aware” of problems isn’t enough. Publicly voicing our concern isn’t enough. We have to challenge corruption head on and reform it. We can’t afford to sit back and hope that someone else does something about it.”




Film Facts:

A Boy and His Dog is a 1975 low-budget, independently made film; produced, written (with Alvy Moore), and directed by L.Q. Jones, starring Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Alvy Moore, and Jason Robards. It is based on the novella of the same name by Harlan Ellison.
My synopsis: “Troubled teenage boy (Vic) and his telepathic dog (Blood), scavenge the wasteland looking for food and sex.” SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.

a boy and his dog peeing

The Apocalypse Scenario:
Nuclear holocaust. The southwestern United States is now an endless wasteland of desert. Neighborhoods from the past have been covered in dirt and many live in these bunker-like homes. The setting is reminiscent of a Western, with lone-ranger characters scavenging about in an endless desert and occasionally encountering a trading post and other travelers. Unlike the wild west, this post-WWIV world is filled with mutants called “screamers”, androids, slavers, marauders, and rape gangs. Vic’s misanthropic canine pal, Blood, is genetically bred to be a telepathic and intelligent police dog. Blood coaches Vic on world history and uses his nose to sniff out food and women (we hear a radar sound effect when he does this).

a boy and his dog blueray

The Year:
 An opening scroll informs us that “World War IV lasted five days… Politicians have finally solved the problem of urban blight.” This satirical tone continues throughout the film. Its unclear how long civilization has lived this way. Vic is an 18yr old boy who was born and raised in the wasteland, and has no concept of morality or ethics. (The dog reminds Vic of this frequently, but it makes little effect.) It appears as if all of humanity has plunged into an endless search for dwindling food and women.

a boy and his dog 2

What They’ve Run Out Of:

Everything, but mostly sex.
A Boy and His Dog is full of unsettling and uncharming satire. Vic views women as objects for his sexual pleasure to be used and discarded. In the beginning of the film, Vic comes upon a woman who was raped and stabbed by marauders minutes ago. Vic is incensed because it was “wasteful.” “They didn’t have to cut her,” Vic exclaims, “she could’ve been used two or three more times.” He spends more time mourning the lost opportunity of sex (and/or rape) than the senseless killing. When Vic eventually meets a teenage girl named Quilla, he draws a pistol and tells her to have sex with him. Vic is interrupted by marauders, and the two teenagers save each other’s lives during a gun battle. Afterwards, they have a consensual relationship.
Quilla lures Vic to an underground, religiously devout, white-faced, 1920’s deep-south, dystopian city named “Downunder.” The population of Downunder has become too inbred over the years and needs Vic (with his outsider genes) to impregnate every woman in the community. Vic’s agrees, believing that his dream of endless sex with a parade of women has finally come true. But, (plot-twist!) he’s hooked up to an extraction machine and doesn’t get to have sex with anyone (cue the sad trombone).

downunder girls

What this Film Adds to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

In 1975 there were very few post-apocalyptic films. A Boy and His Dog is credited as an influence in many classics like Mad Max (1979) and the Fallout series. A desert wasteland, marauders, and survivalism have become staples of the genre. The concept of a dystopian “Downunder” community is a reoccuring trope as well. Vic is a flawed and selfish antihero, and films like Mad Max adopted the idea of a “less-than-heroic” protagonist. In my opinion, all of these themes have been addressed by superior films like The Road, Mad Max, and Book of Eli.

a boy and his dog closeup

Isaac’s Rating:


1 out of 5 Zipped Lips.

A Boy and His Dog is a “cult-classic” and appears on many “best of the post-apocalypse” lists, a high praise which I vehemently disagree with. The film has a few positives: There’s some satirical treatment of the human condition, bizarre unpredictability, and fun interaction between Vic and his dog. Its also interesting to see how far the Post-Apocalyptic genre has come in 30 years.

The overwhelming weakness of the film is that Vic is a completely unlikeable, self-centered, sex-crazed rapist. The opening two scenes depict Vic whining about how long its been since he’s “gotten laid” and demanding that Blood sniff out a woman for him. (Forget consent, just find a woman to have sex with.) Its really difficult to enjoy or appreciate a film where this is the hero’s central motivation.

a boy and his dog quilla

A common rebuttal by “cult-classic” defenders is: “what do you expect? He’s a teenager in a horrible world, its not all sunshine and roses.” But rape isn’t something that becomes “funny,” “excusable,” or “satire” simply because the film has a desperate setting. I’m not opposed to the implication of rape or cannibalism in this genre, its certainly an appropriate topic to deal with when discussing the human condition, sin, and the barbarism people are capable of. I’m opposed to treating these topics with a laissez-faire attitude: ill-conceived humor, disrespect, and an utter lack of justice. I’m opposed to the ending, where Vic kills his girlfriend and cooks her so his dog can have a meal. In the final shot, Vic and Blood walk off into the sunset and crack jokes about cannibalism.

There are ways to be dark and depressing about the post-apocalyptic world without demeaning human life. The Road is a great example of a story that is incredibly bleak in its view of human nature, but also gives us some profound truths about hope and morality. The Road touches on many of the same themes (cannibalism, rape, survivalism), but upholds the indispensable value of life instead of stripping it naked and laughing at its bloody corpse.

A Boy and His Dog appears to be toying with nihilism: “the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.” By the end, Vic isn’t any different than he was before. He’s just as selfish and psychopathic as he was at the beginning of the film. The only one aware of this is the telepathic dog, but he hardly seems to care. And… that’s not funny. Its not “classic” or “must-see.” Its really not anything at all.

a boy and his dog movie theater

What do you think, wasteland travelers? Want to defend the film? Let us know in the comments below.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our films in the Post-Apocalyptic Roundup!



Film Facts:

Hell is a German-Swiss post-apocalyptic/horror film (I watched it with English subtitles on Netflix). Released in 2011, starring Hannah Herzsprung, and the directorial debut of Tim Fehlbaum. My synopsis: “In a sun-scorched post-apocalyptic landscape, three travelers (Marie, Leonie, and Philip) head for the mountains based on rumors of water. Bad stuff goes down.

hell red car

The Apocalypse Scenario:

Hellish heat. In the near future, solar flares have wreaked havoc with Earth’s atmosphere and increased the planet’s temperature by 10°C (or 18°F). The sun pummels the terrain, scorching all plant and animal life. There are rumors that it still rains “above the treeline” but this notion is dismissed as wishful thinking. The survivors avoid walking during the daylight and cover their skin as if trekking across the Sahara desert. Car windows are decorated with newspaper, cardboard and duct tape in an effort to keep the sunlight out. One character has severe burns on his arm from only two hours of sun exposure.

The Year:

2016. We’re not given a timeline, but its been at least two or three years into the mysterious solar flares.
hell pushing barrier

What They’ve Run Out Of:

Water and Sunscreen. (Seriously, sunscreen must be worth a fortune because no-one ever puts it on.) Our trio scavenges for pretty much everything; water and food are the obvious necessities. The charred landscape is a constant reminder of the Earth’s demise, intensifying the need for food. Marie and Leonie take apart gas-station radiators and toilets in search of water. As our group traverses deeper into the mountains, creating a sustainable source of nourishment becomes central to the plot.

hell house

What this Film Adds to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

The question of “what will you compromise to survive” is nothing new to the post-apocalyptic genre. My guess is that someone read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and decided to make an entire film exploring the farmhouse scene. (You know the one.) With that said, Hell is a well-made film and the idea of compromise takes a front-seat.

Its implied that Marie and Philip have a sexual relationship that’s somewhat reluctant on Marie’s part. When Leonie questions her older sister about it, Marie replies “we help each other.” When the inevitable stuff goes down, characters are forced to make decisions between their own survival and rescuing part of their group. Finally, we see what lengths a community will resort to in order to survive. The most disturbing part is how these compromises are accepted as part of normal life. The film asks the audience (without words) “What would you do to survive hell on earth?” And, “if the highest ethic isn’t survival, what is it?”

hell tunnel

Isaac’s Rating:


3 out of 5 Zipped Lips.

Post-apocalyptic films are becoming a dime of dozen, and I’m pleased to say that this is one of the better ones. Hell forgoes depicting destruction on a grand scale, preferring to focus on a trio traversing the German countryside in their little red car. The result is intimate, intense, and terrifying. Fehlbaum’s attention to detail, like Philip burning his fingers when he reaches for a sun soaked gas cap, gives the film a human touch of believability and familiarity. We’ve all experienced the intense heat of summer, and here we’re given a picture of a world that’s this way all the time. Even though its lower budget, the camerawork and scenery are all beautiful and terrifying to behold. Fehlbaum is a talented director and I’m looking forward to what he does in the future.

Overall, Hell is a solid but fairly derivative film. The Road, 28 Days Later, and The Walking Dead’s fifth season have all covered these ideas before. If you loved The Road and are looking for something intense, then give Hell a watch on Netflix. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, then skip it in favor of Mad Max or Walking Dead.


What do you think, apocalypse fans? – Don’t forget to check out the rest of our movies in the Post-Apocalyptic Movie Roundup!

Film Facts:

The City of Ember. Released in 2008 and based on the 2003 novel of the same name. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Bill Murray, and Tim Robbins. Directed by Gil Kenan.

The Apocalypse Scenario:

In the midst of a global war,“the Builders” constructed an underground “City of Ember” to preserve the human race until Earth’s surface could once again support civilization. After 200 years, a locked box entrusted to the mayor would open with instructions to return to the surface. The generations born in Ember would have no knowledge of the previous world or anything outside. But the box was lost, their secret departure date long passed, and now the city’s power generator is dying; threatening to leave humanity in eternal darkness.

The Year:

241 years after an apocalyptic war (approximately the 2250’s).

What They’ve Run Out Of:

The City of Ember is beautifully lit by light bulbs on the cavern walls and throughout the city. The generator, however, has operated far longer than it was designed to. Machines are breaking down and supplies are running out; the City of Ember is doomed.

Human Creativity and Innovation.
The citizens, especially the mayor, are less than concerned as generations of dependence on the generator has made humanity naive, bored, and complacent. The two protagonists, teens Lina and Doon, embody the human spirit of curiosity and adventure that has faded from the City of Ember. It is through their unwavering resolve to save Ember that they discover and decipher the Builder’s plans for exodus. Ember allows us to witness what happens to a society when human creativity, exploration, and adventure are stifled for over two centuries

What this Film Adds to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

The necessity of creativity, ambition, and imagination.
City of Ember is unique in many ways. Its a children’s tale, weaving layers of metaphor and commentary. It avoids chaotic destruction to focus on a remnant of humanity: naïve souls who know nothing other than the City of Ember. This idea of a “vault” or “secret society” who survives underground is common in the post-apocalyptic genre and it is usually approached in a gritty, perverse fashion with unsympathetic, heavy-handed messages. Human ambition is typically presented as the downfall of humanity (i.e., creating nuclear weapons). Ember takes the opposite approach, demonstrating creativity, ambition, and innovation as absolutely necessary human virtues.



3.5 Zipped Lips.

The City of Ember is promoted as a kids story but refuses to sacrifice good storytelling in order to be family friendly (its closer to classics like The Giver than fantasy adventures like Percy Jackson). It avoids the #1 pitfall of all kids’ movies: the “Adults are Useless” trope. The young heroes of Ember seek adult help with the mystery and through various twists and turns they eventually must journey alone. The concept design is breathtaking, the soundtrack stirring, and the final combination is stellar. The City of Ember is appropriate enough for the kiddos but layered enough to be loved by anyone with a bit of imagination.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our reviews in the Post-Apocalyptic Roundup!



Film Facts:

Oblivion – Released in 2013, starring Tom Cruise. Directed by Joseph Kosinski and based on the unpublished graphic novel by Kosinski and Arvid Nelson.

oblivion New York City shot

The Apocalypse Scenario:

“Are you an effective team?”

Earth has been devastated by extra-terrestrial war. An alien called “the Scavengers” attacked Earth for its resources, destroying the moon and invading the planet. The loss of the moon caused tsunamis, earthquakes, and other ecological disasters. Humanity defended against invasion with nukes, and the combination left Earth “uninhabitable.” The film takes place in New York City, which is completely buried except for a few iconic locations like the top of the Empire State Building.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) explains that the hope for humanity’s future is in sucking up the ocean and emigrating to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. A huge ship called “the Tet” orbits Earth and oversees the collection of resources and evacuation. The mission is regularly sabotaged by the “Scavs.”

Jack and Tets

The Year:

2077. Earth was attacked 60 years ago. In the opening narration, Jack reveals that he’s been on this assignment for 5 years.

oblivion chase statue of liberty

What They’ve Run Out Of:

The film opens with an narration about a mandatory memory-wipe 5 years ago. Jack and Victoria have dreams of their past life which they are instructed to dismiss. Most of the film involves Jack’s reluctance to leave Earth and exploring his mysterious pre-wipe memories. In the-house-that-Jack-built, we see books, record players, a basketball hoop, and other American nostalgia.

Oblivion works on mystery, so if you haven’t seen the film yet I suggest skipping the rest of this review.


Later, it is revealed that Jack and Victoria are actually clones. The Tet is not a human space station, but an alien ship that captured a team of astronauts (the original Jack and Victoria) and cloned them repeatedly for 60 years in order to invade Earth and steal its resources.

Oblivion sky tower

What this Film Adds to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

Oblivion is a beautiful movie. Boasting a sleek design and incredible special effects, its a wonder to behold. There’s some gorgeous, almost Avatar rivaling landscape shots of post-apocalyptic New York City. The Tet’s futuristic design features brilliant whites and steel grays. When most of this genre takes places in the Mad Max wasteland, Oblivion’s Apple-store look is refreshingly cool.

Vika in the Sky Tower

Aliens and Earth.
The concept is fascinating and original: an extra-terrestrial AI invades planets by cloning the best and brightest of the indigenous race for their invasion force. Once they’ve won the war, the clones are then wiped of their memory, given a compelling backstory, and put to work harvesting resources. The result is a hope that humans, even when indoctrinated by evil forces, can be redeemed.
Most post-apocalyptic movies are about nuclear war, greed, and human depravity decimating everything. Oblivion gives us a hopeful look at the connection between people and the Earth. Even though Jack is supposed to leave for Titan, he’s inexplicably drawn to nature. Despite the comforts of the Sky Tower and romance with Vika, he cannot shake the feeling that Earth is where people belong. Jack breaks many rules to grow plants, and even builds a secluded cabin refuge. There is not only something about humanity that needs Earth, but Earth herself flourishes under human care.

Oblivion Jack's plant

Isaac’s Rating:


2.5 Zipped Lips

Oblivion is a mixed bag. To its credit, its a gorgeous, fast-paced, sci-fi mystery with lots of twists and turns. The design, soundtrack, and special effects (both practical and cgi) are all beautiful. Its weakness is that most of the dramatic moments feel borrowed from other films. The action scenes have cliches we’ve seen countless times before; what is supposed to be suspenseful and climactic feels humdrum by the 3rd act. Even Morgan Freeman’s character (who gets about 5 minutes of screen-time) is mailed in.

Your enjoyment of Oblivion will greatly depend on your ability to infer cause-and-effect from little exposition. When the credits rolled, I wasn’t sure what was a glaring plot hole, or is simply an unsupported twist that I’m supposed to figure out on my own. Its too bad that such an original idea was executed in a run-of-the-mill fashion.

Overall, I enjoy and recommend Oblivion for its unique setting and visually sleek, sci-fi contribution to the genre. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our movies in the Post-Apocalyptic Roundup!



Film Facts:

Waterworld – Released in 1995, starring Kevin Costner and directed by Kevin Reynolds. (11 years before Al Gore’s famous An Inconvenient Truth.)

The Apocalypse Scenario:

Water covers the entire surface of the planet. Pollution and oil drilling caused the polar ice caps to melt and drown the earth in several hundred feet of water. Humanity survived by building small floating villages on bits of scavenged ships and other debris. Most of the characters travel on sailboats, trading food and trinkets of the old world to survive. There are myths of a fabled “dryland,” but no-one has even seen it. A villainous group called “the Smokers” kill and plunder in their endless search for oil (insert anti-capitalist cliches here). A few humans have mutated, developing webbed feet and gills to better survive in the ocean depths.

waterworld spyglass

The Year:

2500. While the movie gives no time reference, the production designer said “the date was 2500.” Enough time has passed since the apocalypse that no-one has ever stepped on dry land. Fishnets, fish-bones, and various maritime gear make up the costumes.

waterworld town

What They’ve Run Out Of:

“Nothing’s free in water world.”

Despite its infamous faults, Waterworld gives us a unique look at what would happen to civilization if there was no land. Fruit, paper, clean water, a handful of dirt; things we take for granted become priceless commodities in this aquatic wasteland. When someone dies, their body is “recycled” in a vat of muddy goo that eventually biodegrades into dirt. The film opens with Kevin Costner peeing into a cup, which he then pours into a filtering machine and takes another drink. (There’s a fitting metaphor for this film in there somewhere.)


What this Film Adds to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

“Mad Max on water.”
From story, to visuals, to over-the-top insane villains, Waterworld seems to be a cut and paste job of the Mad Max filmsMel Gibson’s lone antihero “Mad Max” becomes Kevin Costner’s bland “The Mariner.” Crazy biker gangs tearing across the desert wasteland in search of gasoline are now jet-ski gangs racing across the ocean in search of gasoline.

Despite borrowing heavily from Mad Max, Waterworld has some unique features and (like it or not) is iconic in its own right. So much of our experience on planet earth is tied to life-giving dirt. Waterworld gives us a glimpse at what our planet would be like without it. The ending is iconic; a green and lush refuge is a welcome relief from the harsh blue and gray of the ocean landscape.


Isaac’s Rating: “So bad its good.”


1 out of 5 Zipped Lips.

There’s potential for a great action movie here (especially in its bloated $172 million budget) but the script and acting are painfully bad. Kevin Costner tries to play an unattached, self-serving antihero which results in bored and monotone acting. The villain (Dennis Hopper) is a mad, oil-drilling fanatic so cliched you’ll swear you recognize him from the environmentally themed cartoon, Captain Planet. Between a bland Kevin Costner, an annoying 9yr old girl, a cartoonish villain, and female lead Jeanne Triplehorn hysterically trying to compensate for them, Waterworld completely flops in the character department. The real star of this epic is the Mariner’s 60ft trimaran. The crew built an incredibly complex and unique ship and its a lot of fun to see Costner swinging around on it during the action scenes.

Waterworld is goofy, poorly acted, and hopelessly cliche, but it also boasts some fun, big budget action in a unique setting. I have a blast every time I watch it, and I hope you’ll also find it “so bad its good.”

Waterworld herp derp cast

What do you think, fans? – Don’t forget to check out the other films in our Post-Apocalyptic Roundup!


Film Facts:

The Postman was released in 1997 and is based on the 1985 novel of the same name. Starring and directed by Kevin Costner.

Plot synopsis: In the year 2013, America’s soil has healed from an apocalyptic war but society has not. Reverting to the Wild West lifestyle, American towns are isolated and oppressed by General Bethlehem (Will Patton), a self imposed feudal lord and leader of the hyper-survivalist group called “the Holnists”. When a drifter (Kevin Costner) discovers a US Postman uniform and begins delivering mail under the ruse that the United States has rebuilt, he restores hope and inspires revolution.

The Apocalypse Scenario:

The Postman occurs 16 years after an unspecified war which used weapons of mass destruction (according to the book: nukes, EMPs, and bio-engineered plagues were all released on US soil). The land is lush and green once again but civilization hangs by a thread. Isolated towns are able to farm by hand but most supplies are confiscated by the hyper-survivalist militia. Americans cling to remnants of culture; we witness traveling actors performing Shakespeare and a folk version of “Come and get your Love.”

The Year:

2013. The apocalyptic war ended 16 years earlier (1997).

What They’ve Run Out Of:

Mailmen. (ha).
Okay, to be serious, it’s “Hope.”
Apparently EMPs have wiped out pretty much everything electric; so horses, carts, livestock, and hand-planted crops are all they’ve got. The setting is a remarkably interesting return to the Wild West in both technology and political structure. The Holnist militia that once helped them survive the wasteland has now become their greatest obstacle. So when a lone postman arrives talking about a “restored United States” and delivering long-lost mail from their loved ones, they have reason to hope for a better life once again. This tale is less about struggling to survive in adverse conditions and more about a fractured nation finding hope amidst the oppression of an evil ruler.

What this Film Adds to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

“You have a gift, Postman… You’ve given us all back what we’d forgotten. You made Mrs. March feel like she could see again. You made Ford feel like he was part of the world. You give out Hope like it was candy in your pocket.”

Despite its flaws, The Postman has one of the more interesting and unique premises in the genre. Its a return to the Wild West, where being a decent person can actually impact society. Most films in the post-apocalyptic genre focus on the hopelessness of survival (The Road), preserving a remnant of civilization (Book of Eli), or escaping to a ‘safe-haven’ outside the wasteland (Waterworld). But The Postman’s setting is unique; there’s no wasteland, no nuclear fallout, nothing to escape from… except the hyper-survivalist leader General Bethlehem. Reconstruction is possible, it just has to be wanted badly enough by decent human beings. The Postman becomes a symbol of what the United States once stood for and could be again: freedom from tyranny, protecting the innocent, and hope for the future. His code of honor is the Postman’s creed: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” It’s a bit silly that a post-apocalyptic Pony Express is foundational in restoring the United States, but The Postman reminds us of what an important thing hope is.

Isaac’s  Rating:


3 Zipped Lips. – What is lacks in polish, it (almost) makes up for in heart.
Starring and directing in a 3-hour epic, this is basically Kevin Costner’s attempt at copying Braveheart. The result is a good-hearted but goofy fable. Costner’s final climax is predictable, with too many cheesy, contrived, slow-motion scenes screaming “I just want to be as epic as Braveheart!” (Considering how Waterworld is basically “Mad Max on water,” Kevin Costner must have a serious man-crush on Mel Gibson.)
Anyone who watches this must ask themselves questions about the nature and importance of hope, and its ability to inspire people to rally together. The ruffle in this story, however, is that the truth behind that hope is apparently of secondary consequence.

The book does a better job of showing how if it wasn’t for the Holnists, America would have returned to its unified state and the Postman’s fabrications gave isolated towns the hope they needed to do that. “It was not the electronics-destroying EMPs, the destruction of major cities, nor the release of various bio-engineered plagues that actually destroyed society: rather, it was the hyper-survivalists themselves, those who maintained stockpiles of weapons and ammunition and who preyed on humanitarian workers and other forces of order.”
I was initially put off by how slow and saccharine The Postman is. After doing some reading on the novel and giving it a second watch, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Its inspiring, hopeful, and features a wonderfully patriotic score by James Newton Howard. I recommend giving The Postman a chance because even though its goofy, it has the heart of an epic.

Don’t forget to check out our other movies in the Post-Apocalyptic Roundup!