End of the World Movies
Let me tell you how I love to spend an evening alone. (Do you want to know? Well
I'll tell you anyway.) Order a large pizza with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms
and peppers; get a two-liter bottle of Squirt Citris Drink, and rent a truly
bizarre movie like The Quiet Earth, or 1984, or 12 Monkeys.
Eat the entire pizza and drink to whole bottle during the movie, then go to bed
and I guarantee you that you will have the most strange
dreams. I've listed
the production company but not the actors. Feel free to look these up on
the Internet Movie Database
- 28 Days Later (20th Century Fox, 2002) A man
has a bicycle acciedent and wakes up in a locked hospital room 28 days later,
finding an empty London. He soon finds out that shortly after he fell
into a coma a horrible virus ran through the population that turns people into
zombies. This movie starts off rock solid good, but about halfway
through falls to your typicall scary movie formulas. Still worth it
- Asteroid (Made-for-TV by NBC, 1997) Ugh...
This movie had it's strengths I'm sure, I just couldn't find them. Two large
asteroids are (I'm guessing this because you're never told how they ended up
headed toward earth.) yanked from their orbit around a comet by earths
gravity. One mostly burns up in the atmosphere (and of course the small
remainder hits smack-middle of a dam, flooding half of Kansas City) and the
second the United States destroys using high powered lasers, then completely
forgets until it's too late that destroying one big thing makes a lot of
little things, one of which hits Dallas, Texas. The creators seemed to
be trying to create a disaster movie with character development along the
lines of Independence Day.
- A Boy and His Dog (LQJaf Productions, 1975) An odd
little fun movie about the world after a nuclear holocaust, complete with a
talking dog and the young man he had raised from childhood and is attempting
to educate about prewar civilization. This is a surprisingly good movie, with
some rather macrabe humor. I recommend it.
- Damnation Alley (20th Century Fox, 1977) An
adventure movie spanning the post-nuclear United States as a group of men from
a military base on the West Coast make their way to a radiation free town on
the east coast (Even though you would think it would be the other way around
what with the heavy population in the east -- east coast to west.). A sort of
Tolkeinesque trip, with a different adventure in every town.
- The Day After (Made-for-TV, 1983) A moving picture
of the buildup and time after a limited nuclear war. Made to educate the
public about the effects and bring home the reality that it could happen. I
love the closing scene when the man returns to his home near where the Kansas
city strike hit, finds a bunch of vagrants on his property, tries to order
them off and then breaks into tears. One of the vagrants comes over to him,
puts his hand on the man's back and offers him an orange. Just
something about that snags my brain...
- The Day After Tomorrow (20th Century Fox,
2004) Too many grand disater movies start off with some guy figuring out
how to predict an earthquake or something and then getting ignored by
government. Here's one of them. In this movie it is predicted that
the next ice age is coming soon, then it happens even sooner than
expected.While entertaining, and having many decent elements, the "fortuitous
circumstances" the characters get handed seem to be a little much at times.
- Deep Impact (Paramount/Dreamworks, 1998) A comet
the size of New York City is heading for the earth. (Start spreading the
news... : ) ) The public is informed that a spaceship being sent out to
the comet to blow it to smitherines, and on the off-chance that should fail,
there has been an immense complex build in which one million people can
survive for two years. Several plot lines unfold ala Independence Day
but none really intertwine. (That's not a good point or bad with me. Just
struck me as odd.) The spaceship manages to blast the comet into two chunks
(oopsie!) one large, one smallish, both still headed for Earth.
Through a complicated series of events, the bigger of the two chunks is
destroyed and the smaller hits the Atlantic Ocean bringing the long-awaited
special effects finale. A surprisingly moving story which tries to tug at your
tears a bit too hard (Anyway, after crying at the end of Titanic I felt
kinda stupid about the prospect of crying for this one.)
- Independence Day (20th Century Fox, 1996) I laid
in wait for months for this movie to come out. I was happy when it did. I was
impressed. Though most movies are not hard-core apocalyptic, this movie adds a
new angle to the term holocaust. The aliens arrive, and are quite simply bent
on human eradication. None of the silly "Oh, hi. We're from space, pleased to
meet you, and we're going to kill you all." they just show up, sit around
looking real impressive for a few hours and then promptly start frying cities
with a mondo-cool laser. The special effects are fabulous.
- The Mad Max Sequels Apocalyptic fiction? Technically. The Mad Max
series are the creme-de-le-creme of cheesy holocaust stories. They use a
post-apocalypse background for stories about a protagonist who goes around
killing people, sort of like the way a romance novel series uses the same sort
of characters to tell the same story. I try to avoid this sort of
literature/cinema if I can, though some is actually quite good and
entertaining to my tastes, such as Mad Max.
- Mad Max (Mad Max PTY, 1979) Sort of
pre-apocalypse breakdown-of-society movie. Not bad; not to good, either.
Story of a cop whose wife and child are killed by a ruthless gang, who he
sets out and kills. Dubbed in American English in the false belief that
Americans wouldn't like the Australian accents. The beginning of a trio of
films that get better as you go.
- Mad Max: Road Warrior (Kennedy Miller
Entertainment, 1981) A nuclear war has happened, and the cop from the first
movie is now a wanderer in the barren deserts of Australia. Fuel has become
a scarce commodity. He comes across a enclave of people who have managed to
drill a well and need his help to move to a safer land.
- Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (Kennedy Miller
Productions, 1985) Hoo, boy! This one is a bit of a toughie to explain. The
wanderer finds a large town, gets thrown out, and meets a group of kids who
worship the long-gone pilot who flew their parents to safety in the nuclear
war. A very well done movie.
- Night of the Comet (Atlantic 9000/Film Development
Fund, 1984) A comet passes the earth. The earth swings through its tail, and
anyone who is not surrounded by steel is either turned into calcium dust or
turned into a zombie. A very 80's film (big hairdos, designer jeans, going to
the mall even though everyone you know just died, etc.). This film is not too
horribly shabby, though the evil scientists in an underground steel-plated lab
are turning into zombies because they left the ventilation shafts open, one of
the main characters doesn't turn into one even though she spent the
night in a toolshed.
- The Postman (1997) For me, the three hours for
Titanic went quick. Three hours for The Godfather, no prob.
Saving Private Ryan, the three hours are get a little long, but still
tolerable. This movie stunk. This movie made three hours feel like
twelve. It loosely follows the story line of the book for 45 minutes and the
decides to wander off on a "Costner Tangent". Now in movies you really do have
to shuffle around a little. Some ideas and settings that work great on paper
don't hold up well on screen. Sometimes, even entire characters need to be
written out, consolidated, or split. More often than not scenes, sections and
sub-plots need to be trimmed off or out to fit the movie into an acceptable
amount of time. This movie insulted me by doing all that, but still telling
the watered down story in the same amount of time it would have took to tell
it all as it was. When it comes down to the line, this movie didn't have to be
three hours long. If you have not read the book, see this movie
first. If you have read the book, watch this movie with one finger on
fast-forward -- and trust me, toward the middle you will need it. Kevin
Costner was far more interesting as the body in The Big Chill.
- The Quiet Earth (Cinepro/Pilsbury, 1985) See
this movie. A man wakes up to find everyone gone. He stumbles around
stunned for a few days, then decides to make the most of it, then goes insane
for a while. Finally he settles down, and comes across a woman. They begin to
look for others and find one man, a seemingly dark but kind survivalist. The
original man discovers that an attempt to build an electrical grid around the
planet has not only failed and zapped everyone away, but it will zap again.
This movie is very realistic, and the acting is very good, though the ending
does leave you with a hefty case of the "Huh?"s.
- The Stand (Made-for-TV, 1994) This movie follows
to book of the same name by Stephen King. It's a pretty accurate portrayal,
and was very well done. In some ways this story really came out better for the
little screen, but there are some parts of the book which had to stay behind
for time purposes, sadly.
- Waterworld (MCA/Universal, 1995) Set in a
future where the ice caps have melted leaving the human race to struggle, this
movie isn't bad despite it's trampling facts. It hasn't been
that long since the loss of the ice caps, yet the island which is the
goal of the characters has a nice, sandy beach. Not to mention the fact
that there's not all that much water in the ice caps. But
still, Costner isn't bad in this film, the ideas are interesting, and the bad
guys are great.
Oh, dear... so
many movies, and so little time to watch them.
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