Post-Apocalyptic Movie Bracket Game: Children of Men Vs. The Road
It’s the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine. In celebration of Mad Max: Fury Road, we’re getting post-apocalyptic. So get ready to fight off zombies, scavenge for goods and run for your life! And maybe spend some quality time in an abandoned mall or Bill Murray’s house. We’re looking at what happens in movies when society crumbles. Are we replaced by apes or pod people? Is Kevin Costner a fish person or a postman? Our dystopian future is up to you.
Our zom-com bracket was another tight race. But the power of Bill Murray and Twinkies was enough to give Zombieland the win over Shaun of the Dead. So Zombieland will advance to the second round where it will face the granddaddy of the modern zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead. Until then, we’ll be moving on from the zombie apocalypse to look at other ways the world could end.
Today, we’re getting literary with two movies based on novels. There’s actually a surprising number of adaptations in this bracket game. Apart from the four zombie movies and two Mad Maxes, Waterworld is the only movie in the game that isn’t at least loosely based on a novel. Our adaptations today are Children of Men and The Road.
Children of Men was based on the 1992 novel of the same name. The movie takes place in the year 2027. Humanity is in danger of extinction because women have mysteriously become infertile. Most of the world governments have collapsed with only the United Kingdom remaining stable. Clive Owen played a former activist who reluctantly agrees to protect the first pregnant woman in 18 years.
Despite critical acclaim, Alfonso Cuarón’s thoughtful thriller failed to catch on with audiences. It opened in first place in the UK. But it bombed in the US. Even with the worldwide grosses, Children of Men failed to recoup its $76 million dollar production costs. At the time, Owen was considered a rising star. But box office failures like Children of Men caused his career to cool off quickly.
The Road is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 novel of the same name. The movie is set in an unspecified future where life is not sustainable. No explanation is given, but most plants and animals have died. Food is scarce and the few humans who are left have to fight for survival.
Viggo Mortensen starred as a man who tries to take his son to the sea in hopes of finding a better life. The Road is bleak! Along the way, Mortensen frequently considers killing his son to spare him from a fate worse than death. Whereas Children of Men is about hope and faith, The Road is about a world in which those ideas are practically meaningless.
Reviews were mostly positive, but The Road also bombed at the box office. It opened in 10th place and grossed under $10 million dollars. Counting worldwide grosses, it barely earned back its $25 million dollar production costs. Although neither movie was a hit at the box office, they have both developed cult followings on video.
Which adaptation do you prefer? Clive Owen protecting the world’s only pregnant woman from radicals or Viggo Mortensen protecting his son from cannibals?