2013-06-06

This Is The End – Hollywood and the Apocalypse: Not a Good Mix

by Yo Snyder

First, this review will contain spoilers, but if you can’t guess
90% of this movie, you probably aren’t the type to see it so read on…

This movie is the epitome of the human condition. In fact, I
don’t think I have seen the human condition so perfectly displayed on the big
screen in a long time.  Sadly, the movie takes
the human problem of sin and redemption to the extreme as a point of
humor.  Being that the movie is about the
apocalypse, and yes, we are talking biblical apocalypse here as opposed to the
super villain version from Marvel, this reviewer will have plenty of material
to discuss with relation to sin and redemption. 
The movie opens with our two leads, Seth Rogan and Jay Baruchel playing themselves
and doing what they do best, doing drugs and enjoying all the electronic
entertainment life can offer.  After spending
the day enjoying themselves, they head over to James Franco’s housewarming
party.  Everyone you have heard will
appear in this movie and more make an appearance at said party with only a few
other surprise cameos in later scenes. 
One item the movie did well was letting the actors point fun at each
other.  For instance, someone asked Seth
Rogan why he always plays the same character in every movie and when is he
going to do something different (irony abounds). Or, actors pointing fun at
movies they were in, like when James Franco gets called out for acting like a
green goblin. There is also some great banter similar to Seinfeld era comedy
about going gluten free.  Aside from the
gratuitous foul language and drugs, I found some of the comedy during the first
20 minute enjoyable.  But it all ends as
soon as the apocalypse starts, take the foul language and foul humor and
increase it exponentially.  Actors die
off faster than one can keep up with and we are soon left with our 6 main
actors – Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Craig Robinson and
Danny McBride (who can take raunchy humor to another level). 

As the movie progresses, we first think Aliens may be
attacking.  Later, the ground opens and
swallows people, fires burn, and our 6 main actors find themselves locked in a
home with little clue what is happening. 
As things continue to fall apart around them Jay begins to speculate
that the apocalypse is happening and everyone starts teasing him, especially
when he talks of the bible.  Later, we
see Jay reading from the bible at the dinner table and no one believes him or
that God exists.  As demons start
appearing, the crew starts buying the whole apocalypse scenario and realizes that
the blue lights earlier were in fact the rapture (where people slowly rise into
the sky like an alien abduction).  Now
the crew starts to concern themselves with the fact they were not good enough to
get to heaven, and why actors whose jobs it is to entertain people did not make
it to heaven.  This theme progresses into
a discussion where Jay informs the team that all they have to do is earn their
way to heaven by good deeds.  One of the
team comments that they just have to follow the commandments while uttering at
least 3 foul words.  Rogan starts
blaspheming the name of Christ and they have a discussion on the topic on if
Christ is God and the fault of taking his name in vain (the Trinity as the
Neapolitan God).  Hey at least someone is
standing up for the Triune God.  Soon we
find them at hope’s end confessing their hidden sins, of course in a comedic
manner.  This is the cognitive dissonance
Hollywood has with Christian themes. 
They use them in scripts but rarely present them as the bible does,
instead reinforcing our sinful fallen nature. 
Here we have our actors all living the abundance of selfish lifestyle
and doing whatever they can to party and entertain themselves and in the end,
it’s about one big bad misdeed that separates them from God.  And what does it take to fix it?  One selfless act.  Following this formula we find Craig saved by
the blue lights in a selfless act of sacrifice for the team.  The rest of the team starts trying to be
extra good and plans an excursion to Malibu where they can build up their good
deeds until God rescues them.  As one of
our actors starts his way to heaven, he gets proud and starts with the foul
language and inappropriate gestures and gets dropped back to earth to
suffer.  In the end, most make their way
to heaven where you get everything you wish for, including a reunion of Back
Street Boys singing their biggest hit.

One item this movie does well is make the apocalypse scary. Even
in the midst of comedy, I was a little amazed at how scary the demons are,
albeit with inappropriate phallic parts. With the end being so terrifying, I
had hard time enjoying any of the attempted comedy in the later part of the
movie.  It was much the same as
attempting to enjoy the South Park movie which I walked out of for its subject
matter.   So while I found humor in the
beginning, I found it hard to enjoy the rest of the movie.  I kept wondering, how far can we go to make
fun of what is the true and inevitable end of existence in such a profane
manner before it comes back to bite us?

This movie flaunts the Hollywood take on the human condition.
 We all just have to be good enough and
we can get to heaven.  Go ahead live for
yourself, it does not matter, as long as you are good enough.  While Jesus is mentioned, we get no reference
of salvation, His death, or His resurrection. 
Instead, we get His name profaned and a discussion on if he is God.  So let me attempt to do what the movie fails
to do, describe the human condition and the true answer to the problem.  No one is good enough to get to heaven.  There is no amount of good works you can do
to find yourself in God’s good grace.  (Jeremiah
17:9 Romans 3:23, Romans 4 1-5)  In our
movie, the actors all are trying to do good works so they could earn their way
to heaven.  Failing to realize there is
only one way to heaven and it’s not by our works, its by our trust and faith in
Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)   Acts 4:12
tells us that it is by the name of Jesus Christ that salvation is found and in
no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which
we must be saved.  In Jesus’ own words, “I
am the bread of life, He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who
believes in me will never be thirsty. For I have come down from heaven not to
do my will but to do the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all
that he has given me, but raise them up on the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who
looks to the son and believes in him shall have eternal life and I will raise
them up on the last day.  (John
6:35-40)  So it’s unfortunate that we
have yet another Hollywood pitch at good works earning you salvation.  It’s ironic that after one small act of
selfless sacrifice, all of our cast are right back to selfish pleasure, in
fact, that’s heaven for you.  Anything
you wish for, some drugs, and boom you have them.  I for one look forward to the real Heaven
where our satisfaction is not found in selfish ambition but in humble praise of
God where we will be in His presence forever.

A word of warning, this movie is extremely foul, for
instance, in one scene we see an implied male demon taking advantage of a male
human and resulting in a demon possession of one of our actors. 

Score 2 of 7: This Is The End had some decent comedic
moments at the start but they are quickly over shadowed by the foul and
apocalyptic last 2/3 of the movie. If you didn’t pick up on it already, there’s
really no reason at all to see this movie.