Earthquakes! Floods! Robots! When it comes to the end of the world, Hollywood comes up with some really outlandish ideas. Some are truly outlandish (The Blob), some are just plain creepy (Night of the Living Dead) and some are just plain stupid (2012). Here are 8 of the most thoughtful, the most creative, the BEST of the end of the world movies!
1) Planet of the Apes
“Those damn, dirty apes!” After having their ship crash on a mysterious planet, two US astronauts wander across the desert plain. Thinking they are alone, the surprise comes when life forms appear, not just as mute humans but as apes. Walking, talking apes. The apes see themselves as the original beings on the planet and do anything to keep all humans locked up. Like most good science fiction, Planet of the Apes combines action, adventure, futuristic settings, and allegory into an entertaining whole. And for those who haven’t seen it, the ending is truly horrifying.
Before Avatar, before Titanic, James Cameron wrote and directed this science fiction classic, Terminator. For those who don’t know the story, a cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent from the future on a deadly mission. He has to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), a young woman whose life will have a great significance in years to come. Sarah has only one protector – Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) - also sent from the future. The future of the human race depends on which one finds her first. When Terminator first came out, I was so taken with its premise that I had to see it at least 3 times. And 20 years later, the story still holds up!
3) Independence Day
The movie that made Will Smith a SUPERSTAH! The ultimate encounter when mysterious and powerful aliens launch an all out invasion against the human race. The spectacle begins when massive spaceships appear in Earth’s skies. But wonder turns to terror as the ships blast destructive beams of fire down on cities all over the planet. Now the world’s only hope lies with a determined band of survivors, uniting for one last strike against the invaders – before it’s the end of mankind. Somehow Smith made fighting aliens look so easy and way cool!
4) The Stand
Though technically it’s not a feature film, The Stand has to be included simply because it is truly one of the best end of the world movies ever! (And also because it was written by one of the best horror writers ever, Stephen King). The premise?: after a virus escapes from a government research facility, most of mankind is wiped out. Those who are immune from the virus subsequently form into two camps. The first is lead by Mother Abigail and the second by Randall Flagg. Within a few months, it becomes apparent that those who support good will need to confront evil if they are to survive. Having read the book and seen the TV movie I would have to say that this is truly one of the best book-to-TV adaptations ever and thanks to Mr. King, one of the most thought provoking end of world movies ever made!
5) Children of Men
The world’s youngest citizen has just died at age 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction due to an infertility defect in the population. EnterTheo Faron (Clive Owen) who attempts to protect the last pregnant woman on Earth and helps to restore faith and a future for mankind. All I have to say is that if I was the last pregnant woman on Earth, having Clive Owen as my protector would not be a bad way to spend my last days! (just sayin’!).
6) 28 Days Later
Quite possibly one of the best end of the world films of all-time. The plot depicts the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a highly contagious “rage” virus and focuses upon the struggle of four survivors to cope with the end of the life they once knew. Cillian Murphy is awesome as the confused Jim, who wakes from a coma to find everyone (or almost everyone) gone or dead. The way this movie was filmed, you feel like you’re right there next to Jim experiencing everything right along with him (which is NOT a good feeling when you’re sitting in a dark theater!).
After years of pollution Earth has finally become unlivable. Humans decide to fly off into space and leave a set of robots to do the cleaning up. Wall-E however, has grown a personality during his time on earth and when he’s not compacting trash into skyscrapers he’s busy trying to figure out what all this junk was used for. With its beautiful imagery, lovely songs and Wall-E’s soulful eyes, somehow the end of the world never seemed this beautiful or romantic!
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