Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice, wrote Robert Frost. But this week, two new movie teasers present their own takes on Earth's eventual demise. One says the world will end with Will Smith's son running though abandoned jungles, chased by monkeys, one says it will end with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman hiding out under a devastated Earth's surface.
Columbia Pictures, Universal
Will Smith and his 14-year-old son Jaden star in "After Earth," due out June 7. Famed twistmaster M. Night Shyamalan directs. In the film, the Smiths crash-land on a hostile Earth 1000 years after humans have bailed on it.
"Son, this is not training. This is a Class 1 quarantined planet," Will Smith's character, an injured general, warns his son. "Everything on this planet has evolved to kill humans."
The Earth of "After Earth" looks a lot like ours now, only jungly and wild, and the Smiths have brought some kind of flying suits that allow them to dive off cliffs and soar like hanggliders.
Apparently, the film follows Jaden Smith's character as he sets out to find the rescue beacon that could save his dying father. Sure, "Karate Kid" was one thing, but one wonders if fans of Will Smith will be satisfied if his teen son ends up dominating the movie.
Still, as one YouTube viewer wrote, "If Will Smith is in it, then I'm watching it!
Tom Cruise's "Oblivion," opening April 12, features a similar devastated Earth, but a different approach, based on director Joseph Kosinski's graphic novel.
Cruise plays Jack Harper (not Jack Reacher, that one opens Dec. 21). Harper repairs the drone satellites that patrol an almost-empty Earth, hunting down the surviving aliens who attacked the planet decades before.
"The last Super Bowl was played right here," he says, standing in a crumbled stadium that looks more like a volcanic crater than an arena. "Sixty years ago, Earth was attached. We won the war, but they destroyed half the planet. Everyone's been evacuated. Nothing human remains."
Of course, we know that can't be true. Cruise meets up with Morgan Freeman, discovers there are surviving humans on the planet, and locks and loads.
Both Smith and Cruise have dealt with the end of Earth before -- Cruise in "War of the Worlds" and Smith in "I Am Legend." Now, in 2013, moviegoers can compare the two stars' approaches.
Tom Cruise or Will Smith -- which post-apocalyptic hero would you want on your side? Tell us on Facebook.