12/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Planet Hollywood

A common theme runs through several films slated to hit theaters soon: the earth and its fate. "Take heed," the filmmakers seem to be saying, "or these will be our struggles."

James Cameron's much-hyped Avatar (Dec. 18) has a future-set plot that unfolds in 3-D on an exotic planet called Pandora and that revolves around the human urge to mine pristine newfound lands and exploit native beings.

Though the animated Planet 51 (Nov. 20) takes a more lighthearted look at people as aliens, it also throws darts at the blundering presumptiveness of our species.

2012 (Nov. 13) from disaster master Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow), is a visually arresting "what if?" about the Mayan end-of-the-world prophecy.

And The Road (Oct. 16), based on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, is a devastating father-son journey through a landscape ravaged by nuclear winter and populated by scavenging cannibals. In the words of McCarthy's nameless protagonist: "Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it."