There seems to be no end to “end of the world” movies and TV shows recently. A twist in the plot here or there but they all share similar DNA. Whether it’s an individual (“only you can save the world!”) or a group of survivors just trying to make it to the end of that night’s episode alive— they all explore how we might react under the harshest of conditions.
The director M. Night Shyamalan has a new movie out, Knock at the Cabin that updates the biblical End of the World story. I haven’t seen the movie yet, and this isn’t really a movie review, but it’s premise and themes are oddly tracking with a show that I am watching, The Last of Us, over on HBO. While the one is about ushering in or preventing the Apocalypse, the television series is about living in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world structured around a quest narrative. Love, loss, sacrifice, vengeance, judgment, and hope are some of the big themes both shows work through in varying ways.
However, before we compare and contrast these two shows, I want to take a side trip. For the past several months I have been reading and hearing ALOT about AI and ChatGPT. So in the interests of trying something new I thought I would interview the bot and let it (he/she/them?) write my blogpost today. The results were very…interesting. My questions below in bold type, the Chat’s answers follow.
I asked the Chatbot to write a paragraph describing the similarities in the apocalyptic worldview of the movie “Knock at the Cabin” and the HBO series “The Last of Us” and the presence, or lack thereof, of hope.
Both “Knock at the Cabin” and “The Last of Us” present a bleak and devastating world, post-apocalyptic and characterized by the collapse of human society due to a catastrophic event. The movies depict a world where survival is the main priority and people are struggling to make ends meet while facing various obstacles and threats, including mutated creatures and hostile human factions. Despite the grim reality, there is still a glimmer of hope in both stories, as the main characters work towards rebuilding and preserving what’s left of humanity. However, this hope is often fragile and uncertain, constantly tested by the harsh realities of the new world.
Overall, both works present a similar bleak worldview of a post-apocalyptic world but with a nuanced portrayal of the presence of hope.
“Knock at the Cabin” portrays the four figures of the Apocalypse demanding a sacrifice. How does this subvert our normal reading of the Four Horsemen?
“Knock at the Cabin” portrays the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as demanding a sacrifice, which subverts the typical interpretation of the Four Horsemen as symbols of destruction and judgement in the book of Revelation in the Bible. In the movie, the Horsemen are not just passive symbols of the end of the world, but active agents who require a sacrifice to be made in order to bring about the end. This shift in the role of the Horsemen adds a new layer of meaning to the story, as it emphasizes the idea that the end of the world is not just a inevitable outcome, but something that can be actively brought about through the actions of human beings.
By presenting the Horsemen as demanding a sacrifice, “Knock at the Cabin” challenges our conventional understanding of the Four Horsemen and their role in the end of the world, suggesting that the end is not just a matter of fate but also a result of human agency.
Are there any biblical themes in “The Last of Us” show on HBO?
Yes, “The Last of Us” series on HBO draws on various biblical themes. For example, the story of a father-daughter relationship and the theme of sacrifice, can be seen as references to the story of Abraham and Isaac from the Bible. The concept of a pandemic bringing about the end of the world can also be interpreted as a commentary on the biblical notion of judgement and the end times. Additionally, the idea of a chosen one or messiah figure, who must sacrifice themselves for the greater good, is also a recurring biblical theme that appears in the show. These themes add depth to the story and bring a spiritual dimension to the post-apocalyptic world portrayed in “The Last of Us.”
If the character of Ellie in “The Last of Us” is portrayed as a messiah figure, what would be her likely future?
If Ellie in “The Last of Us” is portrayed as a messiah figure, her future would likely involve her making significant sacrifices and facing significant challenges in her quest to save humanity and bring about a better future. In such a portrayal, Ellie would be seen as a symbol of hope, who brings about change and redemption in the bleak and desolate world of the post-apocalyptic setting.
However, her journey would also likely be fraught with difficulties, as she would face resistance from those who are unwilling to change, as well as the harsh realities of the post-apocalyptic world, such as the threat of infected creatures and hostile human factions.
Ultimately, the future of Ellie as a messiah figure would be shaped by the choices she makes and the sacrifices she is willing to make in the pursuit of a better future. Whether she succeeds in bringing about a new dawn or not, her journey as a messiah figure would likely be one of struggle, sacrifice, and ultimate redemption.
If the character of Ellie in “the last of us” is accurately portrayed as being immune from the cordyceps infection, how would her condition be exploited by the ruling authorities?
In a world where the majority of the population is affected by the cordyceps infection, a person who is immune would be considered a valuable asset. For example, the ruling authorities might try to use Ellie as a source of information and research to better understand the nature of the infection and find a cure. They may also try to use her as a weapon, forcing her to venture into infected areas to gather information or carry out dangerous missions.
Additionally, the ruling authorities may try to use Ellie’s immunity as a means of maintaining control over the population. By exploiting her condition, they could manipulate the public into following their rules and regulations, or even use her as a propaganda tool to promote their own interests.
Overall, if Ellie is portrayed as being immune from the cordyceps infection, her condition would likely be exploited by the ruling authorities in a variety of ways, as they would see her as a valuable asset in their attempts to maintain control over the world and find a cure for the infection.
If the cordyceps infection controls the victims brain, and if Ellie is immune, would examining her brain likely reveal clues to her immunity?
Yes, if the cordyceps infection is portrayed as controlling the victim’s brain and Ellie is immune, examining her brain would likely reveal clues to her immunity. As the cordyceps infection takes over the victim’s brain, it would likely leave its mark on the brain’s structure and function. By comparing Ellie’s brain to the brains of infected individuals, researchers could potentially identify the differences that confer her immunity and gain insights into the mechanism of the cordyceps infection.
This information could be crucial in developing a cure for the infection, as understanding the basis of Ellie’s immunity could provide a starting point for developing a vaccine or other treatment. Additionally, by examining Ellie’s brain, researchers could gain a better understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying the control of the cordyceps infection, which could be applied to developing more effective therapies.
Overall, examining Ellie’s brain would likely be a valuable tool in gaining insights into the cordyceps infection and developing a cure for those affected.
So a likely scenario would be the sacrifice of Ellie, her resulting death, in order to save the rest of the population?
It is possible that a scenario could emerge in which Ellie’s death is seen as necessary in order to save the rest of the population. If her immunity is crucial to understanding the cordyceps infection and developing a cure, the ruling authorities or scientific community might believe that the only way to obtain this information is to sacrifice Ellie through dissection of her brain or other means.
Such a scenario would likely be a difficult and controversial decision, as it raises ethical questions about the value of one life versus the potential to save many others. It would also likely have a profound impact on the characters and the world of the story, as the decision to sacrifice Ellie would be a significant turning point in the narrative.
Ultimately, the outcome would depend on the specific details of the story and the motivations of the characters involved. While a sacrifice scenario is possible, it is not guaranteed and could be challenged or avoided altogether by the characters in the story.
My interaction with ChatGPT raised a number of ideas regarding both the movie and the TV show that I had not considered initially. The amount of agency and control over their individual destinies the characters exhibit and how their decisions could possibly affect the outcome of the scenarios was very intriguing to me. Both shows present similar End of the World viewpoints. However “The Last of Us”, perhaps because it seems more grounded in real-world (recent?) or plausible events, holds out a hope for the future that I was not expecting, especially from an adaptation of a video game. What do you think? Is there hope at the End of the World?
Images copyright their respective copyright holders, taken from their websites.