In response to John Lyden's paper, "To Commend or Critique? The Question of Religion and Film Studies," (JR & F vol. 1, no. 2) this paper explores how contemporary popular culture and traditional religion interact. I argue that films and other popular cultural forms can both commend and critique social and religious norms when they themselves function religiously. To illustrate this, I turn to the apocalyptic imagination as it is appropriated in two popular, American films, Waterworld and Twelve Monkeys. With these two films, we can see that popular culture has taken a traditional religious concept (the apocalypse) and secularized it for a contemporary, popular audience. That these films find the idea of the apocalypse somehow meaningful suggests that they are functioning religiously.
Ostwalt, Conrad E.
"Visions of the End: Secular Apocalypse in Recent Hollywood Film,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 2
, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol2/iss1/4