The best and worst apocalyptic movies imagine the end of the world, whether it be caused by human destruction or natural occurrences beyond our control. The imaginations of humanity have run wild on this topic for centuries. The Mayan civilization of Mexico predicted 2012 would be the end of an era. In 95 AD Saint John wrote the book of Revelations, prophesying a bloody end to man. However what I love most about the best and worst apocalyptic movies is they teach us the skills needed to survive when the beginning of the end does arrive.
Taking into account religion, science fiction, Hollywood movies and common sense, the end of the world is most likely to be caused by one of the following:
- Zombie Invasion
- Natural Disaster
- Spread of disease
- Nuclear War
How do we know when the end of the world will begin? Firstly you will notice that all the birds start to fly away. Other animals as well will begin fleeing or dying, including bees, fish, insects and reptiles. Pay attention to nature as it may give other signals such as weird lightening flashes, unusual currents in the water or earth tremors. Secondly people will start getting sick en mass, whether it be by the common flu or something more serious. In the case of nuclear war, unless you are privy to government intelligence, you will probably only find out when it’s too late. Ballistic rockets fly faster than the speed of sound, so only after the missiles land will you hear an alarm.
The end of the world is all about the survival of the fittest. Taking into account the above scenarios, when it is the end of the world follow these steps to ensure your survival:
- Get out of the city ASAP. Pillage, looting and rape happen in the big cities, you want to get out of there
- Leave Europe and America and fly to a remote area in the Southern Hemisphere
- Assemble a team of 6 people to join you in survival, ensuring you check off the following skills within the team:
- Medical/first aid training
- Weapons and/or combat training
- Cooking, and ability to find sources of food in the wild
- Critical thinking and good judgment skills
- People who are of age to procreate
- Find at least two four wheel drives and one boat for your groups transport
- Stock up on weapons, antibiotics, knives, matches/lighters, warm blankets and clothes
- Stay fit, train daily in weights and combat tactics
- Be prepared to kill anyone who looks suspicious and could threaten the safety of the group
- Find a suitable remote location that has water access, strong defences and where you can build a farm and live indefinitely
Of course the above strategy works best for a zombie invasion or epidemic. This is only a brief introduction to apocalyptic survival. Please read on to enjoy my list of best and worst apocalyptic movies.
BEST APOCALYPTIC MOVIES
This is the best apocalyptic movie ever. Based loosely on the portends from the book of Revelations (the interpretation where God has had enough of mankind and has decided to damn us all) first comes the plague, second is the darkness, finally the fire… Only the Archangel Michael dares to stand up. Is he strong enough to save humanity? The film is largely set in a dirty, old gas station and combined cafeteria that is well off the beaten track in the USA. The desolate location and general sense of despair and loathing about the place (even without God’s damnation) set the scene for one of the scariest head-fuck movies you’ll ever watch. It is well worth it though, to see Paul Bettany’s bulging muscles as he fights evil… well actually, as he fights God. It also stars Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black and Tyrese Gibson.
This film by Barry Hines is shot in documentary style and it is very realistic. It is set in the British town of Sheffield and explores the aftermath of a nuclear attack on both the city and the survivors – from radiation fall-out and rationing of supplies, to nuclear winter and outcomes for future generations, it covers everything. There are no heroes in this movie and everyone is a victim in the devastation of a nuclear attack. Although the film is resonate of Cold War fears, it is still very relevant today as rogue states continue to be in possession of nuclear arms despite anti-proliferation treaties.
The Stand (1994)
Another movie based on the Revelations (however the version where God still loves us), evil is bought to humanity by the rider of the apocalypse. First he brings plague, second is darkness, finally the fire… An elderly black woman represents the goodness of God, and gives the good people of the world the strength to stand against the evil. This is a very dated mini-series from the 90s, based on Stephen King’s book by the same name and featuring a strong cast including Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinise. Not nearly as graphic or intense as the book, however a great story that gets you thinking about the various interpretations of religious prophesies, and gives hope for the triumph of good over evil. This movie would be much better if they cut out the hilarious scene of patriotism, where 90% of the world has died and yet the minority surviving stands up with hand-on-heart to sing the American anthem… is there any hope for the new world?
It is credited by many for being the end of Kevin Costner’s career. I put Waterworld in the list of best Apocalyptic movies purely for its concept. Like so many of this genre, the idea was brilliant but badly executed. Imagine it is the year 2500, the polar icecaps have melted and we now live in a world purely of water. Communities are built on floating boats and rafts. Dirt is exchanged as a rare commodity. A new breed of mutant human emerges, that looks and acts like person, except they have webbed toes and gills to breathe underwater. The downfall of the movie is that dry land does exist, somewhere, and the plot of the movie is focused on the search to find it.
Knowing is a combined psychological thriller and apocalyptic adventure. A school class are asked to draw a picture of the future to put into a time capsule for students 50 years later to open. One unordinary little girl scrawls row after row of numbers… Fast-forward 50 years later, and these numbers are interpreted by an astrophysicist lecturer at MIT to be the dates and coordinates of every world disaster listed in order. Nicholas Cage is captivating as a soulful widower and teacher, who is too smart for his own good. This movie teaches us that human compassion and goodness still mean something at the end of the world.
Walking Dead (2010-present)
Whilst this is a TV show, not a movie, it has taught me so much about survival tactics during a national crisis including the number one rule – don’t trust anyone and always be armed and ready. The Walking Dead is currently details life in mid-west America after a zombie invasion. A zombie just needs to bite or scratch you, and you also become infected with the virus and will begin to turn. The world is heaving with these “walking dead” however the other surviving humans can sometimes be just as dangerous, and the stupidity and selfishness of humans can be even more deadly than those zombie fangs.
This is one of the most realistic apocalyptic movies. The world as we know it is coming to an end because the Earth’s plates are starting to shift, caused by solar flares that are rapidly increasing the temperature of the Earth’s core. Massive tsunamis will wipe out all of the landmass. International leaders have built 40 gigantic arks to preserve humanity, unfortunately there is not enough room for everyone and unless you have connections or enough millions to buy yourself a place on the boat, you’re not invited. This is an edge-of-your-seat thrilling ride with awesome special effects. Even when it is the end of the world, money still talks whilst bullshit walks. However there is also a little room in the hearts of leaders for some old fashioned human compassion. 2012 features a stellar cast including John Cusack and Thandie Newton, and written by Harald Kloser and Roland Emmerich.
WORST APOCALYPTIC MOVIES
Take Shelter (2011)
Take Shelter is a sluggish look through the eyes of a typical blue collar worker in mid-west USA, who believes the end is near. It begins when he first notices a series of unusual natural phenomena; brownish-yellow coloured rain drops, the sound of thunder clapping in broad daylight, and eerie lightening bolts that strike repeatedly and which only he can see. Is it really the end of the world, or is it all in his mind? Either way, the viewer learns nothing about survival but may enjoy a nice nap during the long boring bits of the film.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Although this is a highly philosophical movie, it makes the worst list because of its trite rhetoric: “Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future”. The movie looks at six different stories throughout the ages that are intertwined and connected in the plights and challenges of its characters. This movie teaches us of the stupidity of humanity who can never learn from its mistakes. Its meaningful insights into the future are that it will be a different date, same shit.
Technically this is a post-apocalyptic movie, but this is so bad I had to mention it. After watching the DVD at home I explained: Thank god I didn’t watch this at the cinema, I would have been so pissed off to waste my money on it! Oblivion is supposedly a homage to all the 70s science-fiction films, according to director Kosinski, however the little plot there is, is suspiciously akin to the short story Second Variety by Philip K. Dick. Oblivion is synonymous with the current career and love life of its leading actor, Tom Cruise: a big fat flop!
Deep Impact (1998)
This film is a load of American crap and is one of the worst apocalyptic movies. It’s no surprise it has an all star cast including Tea Leoni, Morgan Freeman, Elijah Wood, Robert Duvall and Leelee Sobieski. The end of the world is coming and only the President of the United States can possibly save us. A large comet is on a trajectory to collide with planet Earth. America develops a special space shuttle called the Messiah, with accompanying space team (that includes one token Russian person amid four Americans) who are on a mission to destroy the comet before it kills us all. The tale is told through the eyes of a career-focused Washington journalist, who apparently gives up her life for that of a little girl and mother at the end of the movie. Please pass me the tissues… so I can throw-up! This movie teaches us that living in Australia will save us from the apocalypse.