THE SCI-FI PODCAST EP 4: “Post-Apocalyptic Futures” and 12 Monkeys (1995)

TSFP004 Post Apocalyptic ArtWelcome to The Sci-Fi Podcasta wretched hive of scum and villainy a bi-weekly podcast focused on in-depth discussion of all things Science Fiction. The Sci-Fi Podcast features three hosts—Mattroid, Solo, and Station!—and frequent guests. Each episode we look at a science fiction theme or franchise and take the discussion where no show has gone before.

On this episode of The Sci-Fi Podcast, Station! leads her chosen theme of “Post-Apocalyptic Futures” and a review of the 1995 modern-classic, 12 Monkeys, from the  dystopian-visionary director of Brazil, Terry Gilliam.

Theme music courtesy of I Hear Sirens, featuring Matt on bass and Liz on keyboard. Hear more of I Hear Sirens ethereal, instrumental, post-rock at BandCamp. Podcast production and artwork by SpaceWolf who can be found podcasting at Movie Stream Cast, Horror Movie Podcast and Movie Podcast Weekly. You can also follow him on Twitter @IcarusArts.

Show notes after the jump.


—Station! will lead our podcast theme and feature review


—Solo worships at the alter of SpaceWolf
—Station! deals with a teething toddler and reads actual scientific studies
—Mattroid and Station! re-watch Deep Star Six
—Mattroid supports local sports teams

III. [00:07:50] FEATURE REVIEW: 12 MONKEYS (1995)

Mattroid: 9.5 / (Must Own) Buy It
Solo: 10 / Give It Secret Kisses
Station! 8 / Buy It


—Fighting about definitions
—A myriad of movie examples and recommendations

V. [01:40:43] SEGMENTS

—This week: “Save the Wookie”
Solo gives pro-tips to aspiring screenwriters

VI. [01:46:35] WRAP-UP

—Sign-offs, plugs, and recommendations


—Candid discussion of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer 2


—Matt says to read his writing for The Daily Herald newspaper as “Gary the Unicorn” at and listen to him on Horror Movie Podcast
—Liz says to subscribe to The Sci-Fi Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher
—William says to listen to him on Movie Stream Cast and Movie Podcast Weekly

—Send emails or pre-recorded voicemails to ask [at] thescifipodcast [dot] com
—If you’re on Facebook, please “like” the TSFP Facebook page and connect with other listeners.

Thanks for listening to the Sci-Fi Podcast!

78 thoughts on “THE SCI-FI PODCAST EP 4: “Post-Apocalyptic Futures” and 12 Monkeys (1995)

  1. This episode did get a little heated at one point and I edited that section pretty heavily so as to make the discourse more palatable for our general listening audience, but I hope that everyone involved feels that their main points still got across and that they were well-represented, while still keeping the conversation civil. That was my goal. Sometimes old friends get get to one another in a way that nobody else can.

    Likewise, I’d love it if all of us listeners could try to keep the comments here civil, refraining from personal attacks should we feel strongly one way or another.

    For my part, I’m going to start by mentioning the things I thought were funny.

    Solo’s best line: “I don’t have the time or the education to explain.” Freaking hilarious and straight to the point.

    Mattroid’s best reaction to Solo getting after him: “Not in Canada.” Hahaha

    I love you guys. Great show.

    • “Likewise, I’d love it if all of us listeners could try to keep the comments here civil, refraining from personal attacks should we feel strongly one way or another.”

      That’s already a pretty big ask considering the horrible things Station and Mattroid are saying about “DeepStar Six” and Miguel Ferrer! What are they talking about? Sure the movie’s lightyears away from the quality of something like “Alien” but for what it is (a fun, Sci-Fi/Action/Horror B-movie) I don’t think it’s bad at all. Compare it to the modern equivalent; SyFy channel movies and schlock from The Asylum, and it looks like a bloody masterpiece!

      Also the first 4 or 5 minutes of this episode were one of the most hilarious things I’ve heard in a long time. You guys have such a brilliant and thoroughly entertaining dynamic.

    • Well, you did an excellent job of editing because I didn’t get any of that “heated debate” that Mattroid referenced at the end of the show (and you reference here). It was more like friendly disagreement over eco-disaster views.

      In any event, that discussion actually got me to thinking about some movies that I never before considered sci-fi, but now wonder how they possibly fit the genre. A movie like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, while not necessarily being a very good film, is one that walks that line between science fiction and science fact. I guess no matter your eco-political views, what’s presented in the film – the climate shift and aftermath of the weather events, in particular – is not known fact at this point, so would fall under science fiction.

      Anyway, I’m not trying to spark an eco-political debate. I just wanted to mention that the discussion… once again… opened my mind to movies and themes I hadn’t considered sci-fi before as possible entries to the genre and, thus, expanded my understanding and idea of the genre itself.

      • Yeah, it went off the rails during the portion when India, Africa, and early America were being discussed. Apparently, I didn’t need to mention it here at all because nobody seems to notice. I must have edited it sufficiently, but it was hard to tell at the time. Everything was patched up by the end of the show, but it just got super-distracting as far as movie discussions go. All’s well that ends well, I guess.

        • I noticed the tension in Solo’s tone. He usually sounds very peaceful when speaking and in this episode he almost sounded offended. I completely understand his point of view though, and I don’t blame him for getting a little worked up. I think his emotions towards a very sensitive subject just got the best of him. I applaud Mattroid and Station for staying cool throughout. You guys all handled the situation, if one can even call it that, very professionally.

          • Yeah, I have to admit I noticed it too.

            I certainly appreciate how passionate Solo can get about the injustices of the world though.

  2. So after the “12 Monkeys” discussion (which was absolutely amazing and thought provoking to the extent that I’m going to have to revisit the movie soon with some new concepts to consider) I could no longer wait and skipped ahead to the Star Wars trailer discussion. Don’t worry guys, I anticipate the “Post-Apocalyptic” themed conversation with the utmost excitement and I will get to it soon but having been dismissed by Jay over on MPW as little more than a deluded fan-boy for my positive take on the “Force Awakens” trailers I needed to hear what you guys had to say. Thank god you came through with this awesome and insightful discussion.


    I’m not done listening yet but I’m pretty much in agreement with all of the points that you chaps have made so far. There was a point though where the desert planet not being Tatooine was brought into question. Could it possibly be that the desert environment of the planet is actually due to massive devastation caused by whatever orbital battle sent Star Destroyers plummeting down? I’m pretty sure that in the shot where we see The Falcon (the only thing I’m not loving about the trailer is the zooming camera effect at this point) flying into the exhaust port of a wrecked ship (which I’m assuming is on the same desert planet) what we’re looking at is the upside-down tail segment of a Super Star Destroyer (you can tell by the engine configuration). Can you imagine the kind of catastrophic damage something that big hitting a planet would cause? I’m hoping that this is the actual explanation implied by the film because it could very well give the denizens of the planet (possibly Daisy or John’s characters) a reason to hold some animosity towards the rebels who in a way helped to cause such devastation. This could lead to some interesting mistrust/ambiguity between the protagonists. This is all totally unfounded though, I’m just thinking out loud. I just really love the idea of using this new trilogy to explore the way the war has effected the planets and peoples of the Star Wars Universe. It seems like a good way to help tie the trilogies together.

    • Great thought, David. Seems like a possibility. I’m not annoyed by the idea of another desert planet, like William is, but it would be fascinating to find that the devastation was caused by the fall of the Empire. Cool idea. I love that opening shot and I’d like to see more of that.

      The only reason I’d prefer this to be Tatooine, myself, is just to have another familiar touchstone from the original films. But, from the very little I know of actual outer-space, it seems as though both desert and ice planets would be the most common possibilities.

      I didn’t hate the smash zoom, but I’d prefer it without. I know that they actually built a full-size Falcon and had an interest in pursuing practical effect possibilities, so I’m hoping they utilized actual models for some of those shots. It is hard to tell from what we’ve seen, but I’m assuming all of the Falcon shots we’ve seen so far have been full CGI. I hope that’s not the case throughout.

      • My guess is that most of the Falcon dogfighting shots will be CGI and that the model will simply be used as a set/backdrop to shoot the actors on. As much as I have a distaste for CGI I honestly don’t mind any of what I can only assume is that medium in this trailer. In my view the only good CGI is when I can’t tell it’s CGI and that seems to be the case here.

        The “smash zoom” (it’s always good to have Space Wolf around to provide the correct industry terminology) I can live with but I hope it’s not something that happens too much. I honestly don’t get why filmmakers use those kind of effects, all they do is remind me of the presence of the camera, which instantly takes me out of the world of the film. It seems like a very strange choice to me; an acknowledgement that what we’re seeing isn’t happening spontaneously before our eyes but is instead being controlled by a middleman of sorts. It reveal the artifice. It’s a bit like if the boom mic suddenly shot into view to get a good loud take of Chewie belching.

        • Like the “shaky-cam” found-footage J.J. championed in Cloverfield or the lens flares everyone gave him crap for in Star Trek (and everything else), techniques like this are used to make things feel less staged or cinematic, and more vérité or immediate, like you are amidst the action. Unless you are a filmmaker or a hardcore documentary-phile that watches a ton of non-fiction, direct cinema, I don’t think it really has the desired effect. I mean, I fit those perimeters and, while it doesn’t bother me, I still don’t like it. Maybe they are betting on the proliferation of reality TV or mock-umentary TV shows like The Office.

      • Also, I’m so glad that you guys picked up on how much more emotive and genuine the brief character moments here seem to be than the hackneyed contrivance of the prequels. I’ve been arguing with Jay’s stance: “There is nothing special or outstanding about these “Star Wars” trailers. Any of these could be “deleted scenes” from the previous movies (especially the prequels).”

        I hope he listens to this podcast and hears what you guys have to say about it with an open mind.

        Also, I found the references to Jake Lloyd’s Anakin extremely funny. I always thought one of the most egregious problems with “The Phantom Menace” was that we were asked to believe that this kid was the greatest pilot ever with all of these amazing intuitive abilities yet every single thing that he does to move the plot along is pretty much just a lame accident. Sure, he’s a good podracer but he only wins because that rival alien tries to ram him and gets the pods tangled up and then crashes. He only flies the fighter at the end by accidentally starting its auto pilot which takes him into the battle where he then accidentally flies into the droid control ship and accidentally shoots a torpedo into the reactor (which is inexplicably placed unprotected just inside the hangar bay? well done guys) and blows up the control ship shutting down all the droids on the planets surface. It’s so contrived and terribly written that it boggles my mind. Then when he’s Hayden Christensen we’re expected to believe that he was “a good friend” to Obi Wan but we’re never shown them doing anything other than arguing like jerks. The big problem with those movies is that they keep TELLING us that we should care about Anakin and that he’s this great heroic Jedi but all they ever SHOW us are scenes of him being a self-centred, arrogant dolt. There’s no tragedy to his fall from grace because he’s only ever shown to be the galaxies luckiest 8 year-old or the universe’s biggest passive aggressive asshole. We’re never even given a chance to like him so why should we care? The scene of Vader’s redemption at the end of Jedi conjured more empathy for the character than the entire prequel trilogy in which he was supposed to be the main character. I’m sure he had more personality in the back-story that our pre-teen brains generated from details implied by Old Ben in “A New Hope” for Christ’s sake.

        “Now this is podracing!”

    • And so as to not unfairly demonise Jay I feel obliged to point out that I very much cast the first stone by referring to him as a “jaded coot”.

    • It’s not Tatooine? It’s really not Tatooine? Not Tatooine at all?
      How could it not be Tatooine?
      I’m not saying it’s not possible that there is not another planet in the Star Wars galaxy that doesn’t have sand dunes. I’m just saying what’s the point or reasonings behind not having that planet be Tatooine? I mean, does it make sense to set other new scenes in this movie in other similar locations (like an ice world or forest world) but not have them be Hoth and Endor?
      Either come up with new landscapes or new looking different worlds or if you have to go to a sand planet then why not Tatooine? Why, J.J. WHY???

      • I’ve just been researching what J.J. has said so far and yep, it’s definitely not Tatooine. I think it’s called Jakku or something.

        To be fair it would seem kind of odd that major events in a huge galaxy full of thousands of worlds would often end up being centred around a little insignificant dust-ball in the outer rim. but I guess we could always have put that down to prophetic destiny or something.

        I do understand your concerns though William, it seems arbitrary and unnecessarily confusing to introduce a new world that’s so utterly similar to one that we’re already familiar with as an iconic landscape.

        Consider my suggestion that the desert landscape is a toll of orbital warfare though. I guess a Super Star Destroyer crashing might be akin to a thousand hydrogen bombs going off or something. For all we know there may now be hundreds of once lush worlds turned to little more than scorched deserts because of irreversible atmospheric damage from crashed capital ships.

        I know that story is a very important element of this franchise for you William and I actually think this theory would help support a strong narrative. Could this new sect of the Empire be using such devastation in a propaganda campaign against the rebellion. Might that be John Boyega’s initial motivation for becoming a Stormtrooper? Maybe there’s another characteristic parallel with WW2 here. The Nazi’s rise to power had a great deal to do with the German economy being shattered by the extortionate reparations demanded by the Treaty of Versailles. Could the imperial remnant be mirroring this move by exploiting the citizens of worlds still enveloped in the lasting devastation of the war with the rebellion? Might part of the dramaturgical dynamic between our characters come from Daisy Ridley’s character growing up on such a world. How might she react when meeting “Heroes” from a war which has had such a negative effect on entire worlds.

        Of course this is all total conjecture and probably with a good dose of straw-grasping but I think it could be a pretty interesting plot device.

        Maybe they just wanted familiar landscapes without being too repetitive and making the Universe seem too small though?

          • Haha, I am definitely approaching the realms of fan-fiction with my “devastated world” theories but I assure you if that had been my ultimate intent then Jar Jar would have popped up at some point only to get shot in the face by the rocket from Boba Fett’s backpack, exploding into a bloody cloud of pulp coloured confetti. Then Fett would go into the Slave 1 and take his helmet off and he’d be you, Josh! And Lando and Han would be there and they’d say “All is forgiven” and you’d all high five one another. Then when Han and Lando left to go bowling you’d smoke a cigar and look at your computer console saying to yourself “Time to focus on my next target: Someone I’ve been following for a long time….” only for a picture of Scarlett Johansson to appear.

  3. I want to make some clarifications about what I said or was trying to say on this episode, regarding the Dystopia and Post-Apocalyptic portion of the episode.

    Regardless of how, where and why: I definitely became emotionally compromised during the recording of this episode. And therefore my tone and attitude became contrary to what kind of conversation I wanted to have. I’m sure it won’t be the last time, but it’s something I’m working on as a personal goal.

    I also became (and kind-of still am) a little confused about the technical definition between the two terms Dystopia and Post-Apocalyptic. Meaning, I still think that both can and have happened on this planet.

    Oxford Dictionary defines Dystopia as:
    “An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. Compare with utopia.”
    A Solo Question:
    Is it only a imagined place or if its real is it called something else?

    Oxford Dictionary defines Post-Apocalyptic as:
    “Denoting or relating to the time following a nuclear war or other catastrophic event.”
    Solo Question: Does the bombing of Hiroshima count and the state of existence and aftermath of the survivors in and around the area for years thereafter?
    …or other catastrophic event.
    So I still think that there are many examples of catastrophic events on this planet (in past and present) where a catastrophic event as happened, and it created a chain of events that devastated a large group of people and or geographical location. And therefore could qualify as a Post-Apocalyptic scenario. At least “from a certain point of view.” Examples of earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, volcano’s, floods, pandemic or epidemic diseases and viruses.
    A Solo Question:
    I could be totally wrong about this and I’m asking for help from you guys to better understand where I’m missing it.

    So I think I understand that one of the main differences between Dystopia and Post-Apocalyptic is that there is a catastrophic event associated with post-apocalyptic which would often lead to a dystopia, but that a dystopia might come about in many different ways, world disaster or not. Even though one could say that if you ever found yourself in a dystopia, you might be able to point to some-kind of catastrophic event (man made or not) that got everyone there.

    If I could go back and change one thing about this episode I would definitely try to have a more pleasant conversation about my love and passion for these kinds of movies and not spend so much time debating their technical definition and quantify them into categories and subcategories.
    Even though I’m well aware that that’s what I’m still doing now. But I feel like this is a better place to do it, I guess.

    • It sounds like you’ve got it.

      In the simplest terms I can manage in my own words:

      The aftermath of the destruction of the world as we know it.

      An evolution toward a nightmarish world characterized by lack of resources, freedoms or equality.

      In some ways they are opposites because dystopian denotes some sort of organized civilization and post-apocalyptic denotes a complete lack of infrastructure. But, I believe that they can grow into one another and one can either be the cause OR effect of the other, if that makes sense.

      For instance, I would call The Hunger Games dystopian, straight-up. But, did the war that lead to this dystopian society create a post-apocalytic world outside of the capital? It definitely did in some of the districts.

      Solo, I think your Native American example was more apt than your African/Indian example. I think you’ve read the non-fiction book 1491, as I have. The arrival of the white man in the Americas was indeed a cataclysmic event for the first Americans, nearly wiping out their population, to say nothing of the impact on the survivors. To them, within their known world, this was an apocalyptic event. I think that’s fair to say.

      On the other side of that argument, although devastating to the residents of this particular continent, this still wasn’t a worldwide epidemic like the fictional nuclear wars, zombie outbreaks, or rise of the machines that we see in post-apocalyptic futures. A massive comet didn’t hit the earth. The ice caps didn’t melt. The sun didn’t explode.

      While we in the privileged, developed world may think we’ve landed in a post-apocalyptic landscape should we suddenly find ourselves in the ghettos of Calcutta or the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, I don’t think it’s accurate to describe those places with that term. Whatever the factors in those regions–which I’m also not educated enough to explain–it’s at least clear to me that the suffering in those areas has to do with societal inequity, lack of money and education, lack of food and resources, failures of local and world governments, over-crowding, restriction of freedoms, all things that seem to me to be outgrowths community, society, culture, government, infrastructure … which fall into the dystopian camp if we are set on defining the real world by these sci-fi terms.

      Anyway, yeah, it would have been nice to be able to come to a consensus on those terms a bit quicker so that more movies could be discussed in-depth, but the show was still terrific, in my opinion.

      For my money. I’d have liked to hear more about the Terminator franchise, the Mad Max franchise, and a mention of The Book of Eli. I’m sure you’ll get in-depth about the first two sometime this year with the release of the new films in each franchise.

      • Agree with Josh/Solo that the arrival of European explorers in the Americas was an apocalyptic event for the indigenous American peoples. I haven’t read “1491,” but Orson Scott Card offers a thoughtful fictional perspective in one of his lesser-known novels, “Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus.”

        Also, while it might not technically qualify for this discussion, I’ve always admired Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto,” which is a fantastic adventure/ordeal movie, and also covers some of the same territory, both historically and thematically.

        I don’t remember the exact details, but it’s very clear if you read the “Hunger Games” novels that the society presented there is what’s been cobbled together in the aftermath of an apocalyptic (and largely undetailed) war between the long-destroyed human nations of 21st-century Earth. For me, there has to have been a doomsday occurrence of some sort in the at least relatively recent history of the characters for a story to be truly post-apocalyptic. You can have anything as your cataclysm: disease, war, supernatural forces, alien invasion, galactic disaster (comet, solar emissions, etc.), ecological collapse. The important factors are that The Event happened in some sort of compressed timeframe (days, weeks, months, or maybe a period measured in year for war, ecological collapse, etc.), and that it caused the complete breakdown of whatever society confronted it. Most post-apocalyptic stories begin at some point in the aftermath of the event, though it’s also common to have the event be the beginning of the story. There are often survivor societies that exhibit some of the characteristics of dystopia, but what got everyone to the point at which the story takes place is The Event.

        Dystopia, for me, is more about established human societies, typically propped up by advanced technology, that struggle to address human problems like overpopulation, resource depletion, etc. There’s almost always a class of social elites, and whoever is at the bottom of the social order almost always lives in poverty and decay. Sometimes society has reversed the spread of key problems through rigid totalitarian control.

        The key difference that separates the two is that post-apocalyptic stories are about humanity coping with life in the aftermath of a large-scale cataclysm that destroyed the established human order, while dystopian stories are about the established human order going in an increasingly dark direction as it struggles to cope with gradually mounting external pressures. Dystopian sci-fi includes films like “Soylent Green,” “Blade Runner,” “Elysium” and “Gattaca.” Post-apocalyptic sci-fi includes films like “Oblivion,” “The Omega Man,” “Planet of the Apes,” “The Postman,” etc.

        • Right; station and I were trying to explain that a dystopia is a societal advancement that has resulted in a skewed ethical outcome or a society that has extremes on both ends with a ruling class that knows nothing nor cares nothing for the impoverished–many movies show this.

          Post-Apocolitic films convey themes of destruction and societies attempting to rebuild from scratch. While it’s typically on a worldwide scale it doesn’t have to be.

          Yes, cultures and societies have experienced their own apocalyptic events–the Native Americans being a prime example–but in context of movies it’s nearly 100% related to a global event: comet, floods, nukes, virus, etc.

    • @Solo – I like how you broke it down here.

      I think a main cause of disagreement in the discussion is that there are two definitions of the word “apocalypse” (and, therefore, two ways of looking at “post-apocalyptic”). There is the complete and final destruction of the world, as in a biblical sense, or an event involving massive destruction on a catastrophic scale, such as the bombing of Hiroshima. It seems as though Mattroid and Station! were coming from the “complete and final destruction of the world” angle, whereas you were taking the “confined event causing massive destruction” angle. From your perspective, yes, there absolutely have been – and currently are – post-apocalyptic environments in our world.

      As for your emotions taking over your intended tone and attitude… as a hot-blooded Italian, I can totally empathize. Especially having a strong-minded 5 y/o son to contend with, it’s a daily struggle. From my ear, though, I did not pick up on any of that in the podcast. If anything, I thought you raised several interesting points for discussion, even if you didn’t get to mention or discuss everything you originally intended.

  4. @Josh – Just a heads up that this episode is not showing up on iTunes. Also, the fix you made on the podcast’s title a few days ago still has not updated.

  5. I still need to see 12 MONKEYS (1995). I debated not listening to the podcast for fear of being spoiled, but decided to go ahead. Thanks for not dropping any major spoilers. Your review has really peaked my interest, now.

    • What?!! You’ve gotta see this movie. One of the very best genre films of the 90’s. An awesome take on time travel. Dark and emotional. Terry Gilliam crazy. If you like mind-benders, this is a really good one. Up there with Sixth Sense and Pulp Fiction as one of Bruce Willis’ very best “non-Bruce Willis” roles. A definite all-time Top 3 Brad Pitt performance as well.

        • I hate 12 Monkeys, guys. I’m sorry, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Granted, I haven’t revisited the movie since high school so… maybe I just didn’t have the tools to decipher the story and meaning. Just from memory though, I remember it giving me a headache.

          • ‘I think what David is trying to say is, “um, what?”’

            I was trying to mimic Josh’s patented “what?” exclamation. I think I failed.

            Could somebody sample Josh’s “what?” and make it into one of those soundboard pages that plays a clip of audio whenever you click on it.

          • And I agree wholeheartedly with Josh, Juan. This is certainly a movie that you need to give another shot. It’s amazing and most definitely best appreciated by a more mature version of oneself.

            How I’m able to appreciate it is a mystery to all.

          • I know, I know. I’ll get to it eventually. I just like creating controversy. It sparks conversation like a match sparks a fire in the woods!

  6. Oddly enough, I consider the OT of Star Wars to be fairly dystopian look at the Galaxy. That’s why I love it so much. A post – apocalyptic Star Wars take could be rad too, but dunno how they’d get that rolling. Maybe all the force-sensitive beings get together in the same building and it explodes, and the force is gone forever rendering the Galaxy stuck in amuck. Or something. I tired.

    • “Maybe all the force-sensitive beings get together in the same building and it explodes…”

      Because of all those midi-chlorians, right? RIGHT?!

      • Might as well be the reason. Lucas, over explaining things that no one wanted or needed explained.

        The force (midi-chloreans)
        Boba Fett
        Clone Wars
        Anakin’s backstory
        Birth of Luke and Leia


        • Something I never understood regarding the birth of Luke and Leia: In the original trilogy Leia says she vaguely remembers her real mother but she died when she was very young. Very young? No shit, Leia. That’s quite a memory you’ve got there, stretching all the way back to the first few seconds after you were born.

          • Yeah, that’s annoying, but nothing compares to the idea of Padme dying simply because she is a broken heart. I can’t believe that was actually the point, “she’s lost the will to live. “I don’t know about you guys, but my children are the main reason I live. So I thought that was a pretty stellar example of bad writing.

          • It’s like a first draft.

            What the hell was she thinking continuing their relationship after he admitted to killing an entire village of Tusken Raiders including the women and children in “Attack of the Clones” anyway? In fact why was he still supposed to be the protagonist at that point? It’s like Lucas didn’t know how to write a gradual transition from good to evil so instead we just get a “good guy” sporadically committing totally abhorrent acts. There’s no subtlety to it at all.


    One of my very most favorite post-apocalyptic sci-fi films is the first 45-ish minutes of “WALL*E.” I remember watching in awe the first time I saw the film, right up until WALL*E gets to the spaceship. I started to check out almost as soon as he got there, but I was still holding out hope until the fat humans are revealed. I bailed completely at that point. If the ship had been a ghost ship, with the robots still carrying out their programming decades after the death of the last human, then I would have been RIGHT BACK IN, 100 PERCENT. But the appearance of the roly-poly humans was devastating to me. It’s almost like there are two completely different films: The first portion of “WALL*E” is a haunting, fascinating 10/10, and the “fat consumerist humans defeat Auto and return to ruined Earth to grow pizza plants” portion slides all the way down to, like, 4.5/10.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Cody. The first half is a masterpiece; by the time he’s on the ship I’m upset and bored and frustrated.

      I could have had two hours of the first half without a second thought. It is simply incredible. I felt like it was a missed opportunity in favor of playing it safe for general audiences, who likely would have handled it just fine.

      I remember seeing the trailer for Dinosaurs, the Disney movie some years back, thinking it would be similar to the feel of the first half of wall-e. Instead it was piss.

  8. I’m a huge fan of post apocalyptic movies…One of my favorites is the 1986 animated movie When the Wind Blows…It has a very simple plot but packs quite an emotional and thought provoking message…

      • Hi Josh!

        Although I watch a lot of animated films, I’m not really familiar with this one, Shannon. It looks like my kind of film and I’m really excited to see it. Just from images alone, the tone reminded me of Grave of the Fireflies, which is a war film, but I would also consider it a post-apocalyptic movie. It’s heart wrenching, beautifully animated, and will make any grown man weep their eyes out.

        Speaking of animated films, another great one is Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world and it has more atmosphere and personality than most movies mentioned in the episode*. It’s my favorite Miyazaki film and I highly recommend it.

        *Not that I’m talking trash about the movies mentioned. They were all great. I just personally think Nausicaa is a great example that probably gets overlooked because it’s a “children’s cartoon”, which is not the case at all. There is nothing cartoonish about this film. Ok Josh? 😉

    • I haven’t seen that either, but every now and then it comes up. I’ll have to add it to my watch list.

      Shannon, I love that you’re an 80s movie fan. I too think that’s the era to beat when it comes to movies in general, especially horror and sci-fi. Great comedies too.

  9. This is a little late, but did anyone bring up Patlabor when talking about Chappie’s influences? I think that could be a major one that we might have missed. Patlabor is a 1988 manga (latter turned anime) about a future where robots called LABORS are employed to do construction work and also combat crime. The police robots are called PATROL LABORS or PATLABORS for short and their design seems reminiscent of Chappie’s. One could argue that all robot designs look somewhat alike, but I think the head design in particular seems to have inspired either Chappie directly or maybe even Appleseed’s character design. Anyway, the anime itself is worth checking out if you’re a fan of mecha or anime in general.

    • And what about “Fist of the North Star” for the post-apocalyptic discussion? That movie might be a trashy “Mad Max” rip-off but man is it awesome. The epitome of ultra-violent 80’s anime. Just thinking about it makes blood spurt out of every orifice.

      • Yes! You are correct, David. That’s a great example. I could have sworn the Fist of the North Star was from the ’70s but it turns out it’s from the early ’80s, so it was probably a ripoff of Mad Max. I never thought about it that way, but if makes sense.

        Now that you bring it up, anime from the ’70s and ’80s was extremely violent. They touched on themes that were pretty heavy. I rememeber this show called Moonlight Mask that had very complex ideas for being a kid’s show. People died in every episode and though they weren’t major characters in the series, they were major characters for the duration of the episode. The villains of the series were monsters that were killed off by the major villain if they failed at killing the moonlight mask and in their last moments, their last shred of humanity came through and had a tender moment with the hero of the show. I remember feeling very conflicted about this because for the majority of the episode these monsters would kill innocent people yet I always felt sad for them when they died. There was even a story arc where the monster of the episode was an innocent bystander that just happened to be transformed into a monster by the main villain and enslaved to do his bidding. These episodes were the hardest to watch because the hero tried to do everything in his power to avoid killing these monsters only to have to put them down in the end. How heavy is that for a kid? Anyway, I’m going on a tangent here. For those who care, here’s the theme song of that show. I like it a lot.

  10. I love Stations ambiguous reading of “Twelve Monkeys”. As much as I love that film I’ve really never considered it as a delusional fantasy before but I love the extra dimension that such a reading adds. Gilliam really takes the Sci-Fi genre and does something amazingly artistic and unique with it. There’s so much depth there.

    • I agree. Station is actually pretty brilliant with readings and dissection, but is less vocal. I think she’s getting more comfortable sharing her ideas, which will be great for everyone.

  11. I’m a little late in listening to this episode, but I really enjoyed it and wanted to add some thoughts. The movie “Blade Runner” was brought up as a story that exists in a purely dystopian world, and I wanted to point out that the book it’s based on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” takes place in a post apocalyptic world. There had been a nuclear war covering the world in radioactive dust, which is what drives the movement to the off-world colonies and explains the shortage of real animals.

    As for movies that are purely set in dystopian world, two other films based on Phillip K. Dick stories came to mind; “Minority Report” and “A Scanner Darkly”. In “Minority Report” the world is a dystopian one wearing utopian clothing, which is a theme I particularly enjoy.

    One of my favorite post-apocalyptic films has to be “Six String Samurai” which is one I go back to every couple of years. I also wanted to mention two other films that fit into both the apocalyptic/dystopian themes. The first is “The Handmaid’s Tale” from 1990 which I saw when I was much younger, and the concepts within it really stayed with me. If I had a list of stories that are horrifying to women it would be on it. The other is an over-the-top film, “Doomsday” from 2008. The mix of the virus outbreak theme with the Mad Max world wasn’t really original, but I found it fun. It has a few moments of dark comedy and some great costumes that would be perfect for Burning Man.

    As for the Star Wars trailer, I have high hopes and low expectations. I am excited, but I feel a little like Charlie Brown running for that football. The practical effects are encouraging, but we will have to see if the spirit of Star Wars is truly tapped into. Also, NO MIDICHLORIANS!!! If only I could unsee parts 1-3.

    • Allyson, that’s a great point about the setting in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” being more post-apocalyptic than dystopian. It’s been a good few years since I read it but I distinctly remember the abandoned, depopulated wastelands of the book standing in stark contrast to the dense and vibrant metropolis we see in “Blade Runner”.

      Oddly, the majority of the other work I’ve read by Dick is much more in a dystopian vein than “Do Androids Dream…”. “A Scanner Darkly”, “Ubik”, “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said”, “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch” and “The Man in the High Castle” are all pretty heavily dystopian as far as I can remember (and the latter four are books that I’d love to see adapted into movies).

      I haven’t seen “Six String Samurai”, “Doomsday” or “The Handmaid’s Tale” but I’m adding them all to my list because I’m on a real sci-fi kick of late. I have read “The Handmaid’s Tale” novel and remember it being pretty good and quite profound but I’m not sure I even knew there had been a film adaptation of it made. At some point I’m sure Dr. Shock reviewed “Doomsday” and had some quite favourable things to say about it but “Six String Samurai” is one that I don’t think I’ve ever heard of before. It certainly sounds intriguing though.

  12. I’m way late on this but some dystopian films which came to mind that I don’t think were mentioned:

    “No Escape” (1994) – Ray Liotta at his best, in a high-tech island prison.
    “Harrison Bergeron” – (199?) with Sean Astin. It was a little-known adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story.
    And of course several classic twilight zone episodes. (There are too many to mention).

    And post-apocalyptic films:

    “Wizards” (1977) – Ralph Bakshi’s rotoscope animated world where old-world sorcery wizard battles technology wizard. This is a great creative movie with tons of subtle messages about Nazi technology dangers.

    “Steel Dawn” (198?) – With Patrick Swayze and the chick with the white hair.
    “The Stand” (1994) – The TV mini-series wasn’t too bad, although King’s book was masterful.

  13. And for anyone interested here’s a cool Vanity Fair interview with Lawrence Kasdan in which he hints that although Lando won’t show up in “The Force Awakens” he still may have a future in the franchise. Some of the production photos in the short slideshow at the bottom of the page are really exciting too.

  14. Everyone,

    Sorry for the delay in the new episode. Josh has worked tirelessly to get it edited but we were up against signal issues, lots of small edits and there is a lot (many hours) of content to get through. This is all on top of Josh’s duties with HMP, other podcasts and his own work which is due soon. So he’s busy!

    But the episode is due asap. Thanks for your patience. Another episode is being recorded this week about Madmax so I hope we can get to it soon.

    • Cool story, bro! Nah just kidding, Matt. Of course we all understand that the episodes don’t magically materialize themselves and there’s a lot of hard work behind each one of the episodes. Quality over quantity I always say and you guys deliver on that. Keep it up! That’s what she said 😉

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