H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel The War of the Worlds and Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of The Third Kind and E.T. put real people in extreme circumstances to explore how they would react and handle fantastic events and people.
As we know from watching all those years of Star Trek, science fiction isn't just Romulans invading, phasers, laser beams blowing up cities, men and women fashionably dressed in futuristic unisex outfits, or strangers from the beyond saving the day. Sensitive science fiction delves into the human condition with conflict, social dilemmas and ethics. In the famous movie Forbidden Planet Robbie the Robot demonstrates “human” characteristics when he refuses to kill the "Id monster" because the robot recognizes that the creature is an alter ego/extension of Dr. Morbius. Dr. Morbius demonstrates in Forbidden Planet, Robby was programmed to obey The Three Laws of Robotics.
The Three Laws are:
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" is a new movie, perhaps not as highly evolved as the science fiction ethics in Forbidden Planet, and some might say isn't really science fiction, but the premise is there. It is "sometime in the future," there is only a hint it is placed somewhere between 6 and 10 years forward, and an asteroid is coming to Earth.
“The film begins with the last great attempt at stopping it failing in a spectacular and devastating way. Now, the world is ending. Instead of the situation room of the White House or the corridors of NASA facilities, however, this time the world ends with two simple everyday people and their journey to find some semblance of peace with just three weeks to live. The other people they encounter – friends, family, and strangers alike – help to further illustrate this surprising pair's experience while also taking their own to extremes, according to Space.com. movie review.”
The drama centers around an approaching asteroid, and between major scenes there are news reports as the asteroid gets closer to collision with the Earth as the impending crisis nears. The suspense builds as commercial planes stop flying, traffic jams, and riots pervade the cities.[Photos: Scenes from 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World']
Reviews are mixed, and here are a few for your perusal.
"The sad sack in question is Dodge, a New York insurance salesman played by Steve Carell with the air of melancholy that serves, in his big-screen roles, as the functional equivalent of a 'Don't Call Me Michael Scott' T-shirt. Mr. Carell has a penchant for wounded and wistful romantic roles. Here, as in 'Dan in Real Life' and 'Crazy, Stupid, Love,' he is a nebbishy guy so far out of the Darwinian sexual rat race that he becomes irresistible to women." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"Penny feels equally underwritten, which leaves the awkward sight of Knightley, evidently still stuck in 'A Dangerous Method' mode, straining to appear girl-next-door cute while her facial expressions scream 'mental patient.' "— Peter Debruge, Variety
"Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria (the similarly fey 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist') is over her head in her feature directing debut, unable to establish a consistent tone in a movie that flirts with black comedy, satire, romantic comedy and touchy-feely earnestness without really delivering any of them." — Lou Lumenick, New York Post
The Final Word
"What it doesn't have is a way of making sense of its comic and dramatic strains, together, in the same movie. Carell and Knightley work hard to bring life and truth to each stage of a dawning friendship. By the end, though, Dodge and Penny have had one too many affirming encounters that feel engineered, not lived." — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune