ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

End of the World Movies

With all the end of the world talk, here's a list of movies to prep you for the apocalypse

By Lori Hoffman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Dec. 13, 2012

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Bruno Lawrence in 'The Quiet Earth.'

Well 12-12-12 passed and we are still here. I’m glad I didn’t quit my job and spend my last dime on a trip to Australia to await the end of the world.

Of course some doomsday experts insist that those kooky Mayans predicted the end for Dec. 21, 2012, so we have a few more days anxious days ahead.

The Web site 2012apocalypse.net notes that, “The 2012 Apocalypse is predicted by an intersection of religions, science, and prophesies. Who or what will cause the 2012 Apocalypse? Super volcanoes? Pestilence and disease? Asteroids? Comets? Antichrist? Global Warming? Nuclear war?”

As a film critic, all this "end of days" talk got me thinking about one of my favorite film genres, end-of-the-world movies. I even enjoyed parts of the silly Mayan-theory-based flick 2012, released in 2009.

Therefore, in celebration of the end, here is a list of enjoyable end-of-the-world movies. For the record, while I like zombie movies, I’ve left them off this particular list, confining my selection to more plausible, science-based scenarios.

2012 (2009) — What is most believable about this flick is that the super wealthy can buy their way on to the giant ships built to save a small percentage of the world’s population. Of course the rest of us are out of luck. John Cusack is fun as the everyman trying to save his family, and so is Woody Harrelson as a hippie doomsday radio host. Written and directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day), the modern king of the genre.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) — I can’t resist watching this movie when it shows up on TV, which it does frequently. Emmerich is again at the helm in this very human tale that blames global warning for the catastrophic weather changes that lead to a new ice age. With Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sela Ward, Emma Rossum and Ian Holm.

Knowing (2009) — This is more of a horror film with an end-of-the-world twist, but it is another film I will watch when it turns up on the tube. Nicolas Cage stars as a widower father and teacher whose son is given a strange list of numbers unearthed from a 1959 time capsule at the boy’s school.  Cage begins to decipher the numbers and sees the “end of days” coming soon, this time from solar flares.

The Quiet Earth (1985) — This little gem of a New Zealand film features the fabulous Bruno Lawrence as a man who wakes up one day to a world devoid of people. After finding two more survivors, he goes in search of answers to what happened, suspecting that a government research project he was involved in had something to do with the disappearance of everyone. Lawrence’s searing performance makes this a striking EOTW flick.

Deep Impact/Armageddon (1998) — In this battle of comet end-of-world vs. asteroid end-of-world, Deep Impact is the more serious entry and Armageddon is the full tilt action version. Honestly, I prefer the admittedly sillier Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck take on a space mission to stop the giant rock from hitting earth. Impact stars Morgan Freeman, Elijah Wood, Tea Leoni and Robert Duvall.

The Day After/ Testament/ Threads (1983, 1984) — After watching these three movies when they were first released, the former two American TV movies about life after nukes and the latter, a BBC take on the same subject, I dreamed about being at ground zero of a nuclear explosion. In the dream, I was calm and happy since death was preferable to what life would be like trying to survive in the toxic wasteland that follows. The Day After stars Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg and John Lithgow. Testament features Jane Alexander, William Devane, Lucas Haas and a relative newcomer at the time named Kevin Costner.

Speaking of Costner, I liked his two post-apocalypse movies, Waterworld (1995) and The Postman (1997) more than most, but like I said, I’m a fan of EOTW movies.

And, while I’ve never been a fan of volcano EOTW flicks, there are enjoyable moments in the 1997 competing volcano movies Dante’s Peak (the one with Pierce Brosnan) and Volcano (with Tommy Lee Jones).

So what movies would you watch to celebrate the end of the world as we know it? Post your favorites in the comment section.
 

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1. Chad K. said... on Dec 13, 2012 at 03:39PM

“Repo Man!”

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2. Shane said... on Dec 13, 2012 at 03:40PM

“"Masked & Anonymous" (2003)”

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