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Posted: 9/17/2009 1:01:27 PM EST
Apocalypse Now: Ten Best Depictions of the End
Ryan Goldberg Sep 16, 2009 12:25 pm

It's been said that cinema turns a mirror on the present time. At the worst, it's a slightly lagging indicator. And this fall, several movies will be released that imagine a dystopian near-future, one that doesn't seem altogether cuckoo given the angst-ridden time we live in today: foreign wars, economic upheaval, climate change, pandemics.

What these movies have in common, unlike past doomsday flicks (think those asteroid flicks of the ‘90s) is that they look at the world after doomsday –– the aftermath. And it isn’t just cinema either –– books and television, like the Discovery Channel, have entered the post-apocalyptic fray.

The shining example of the bunch is the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. As in the novel, what caused the apocalypse and blackened the landscape is not described. Still, the filmmakers used footage of Hurricane Katrina, the Twin Towers, Mount St. Helens and volcanic devastation in the Philippines

Another movie, 2012, which comes out in November, has the earth rip apart, fulfilling an ancient prophesy. The director, Roland Emmerich, has almost destroyed the world in past movies like Independence Day, a Godzilla remake, and The Day After Tomorrow. Emmerich is a dystopian connoisseur. “I’m really very pessimistic these days,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Although this Hollywood wave of post-apocalyptic fare is interesting in its plenitude, the topic is nothing new on the big screen. Here are 10 films that set the course for this genre.


Planet of the Apes (1968)
The finest post-apocalypse movie ever made, Charlton Heston meets a civilization in which apes enslave men. The ending in front of the Statue of Liberty is perhaps the most famous in movie history, once he realizes he is not on another planet, but Earth itself. Four sequels and a lousy 2001 remake followed, but nobody could imagine a more frightening post-apocalypse than the original.

WALL-E (2008)
A kinder look at the world after doomsday, here a robot is the last being on a trash-covered, desolate Earth. Humans had abandoned the planet 700 years ago, or some time in the 22nd century, when the leaders in charge killed it and then abandoned it rather than cleaning it up. Out of the detritus comes a touching robot love story that goes heavenward.

I Am Legend (2007)
A blockbuster remake of the “The Omega Man,” borrowing the title of Matheson’s book, now Will Smith plays Robert Neville. This time he scavenges the streets of New York City instead of Los Angeles. The empty cityscape of Manhattan, where Smith drives like a maniac during the day, is a stunning backdrop. Like Heston before him, Smith, who also starred in “Independence Day,” is a hero of the apocalypse.

The Omega Man (1971)
A remake of “The Last Man on Earth” (1964), itself based on Richard Matheson’s novella, Robert Neville (Charlton Heston) is the only uninfected survivor of a biological war. He drives the empty streets of Los Angeles scavenging for food, fuel and other supplies, while at night he fends off remaining vampire-like mutants. Its bleak new world makes it one of the darkest post-apocalyptic movies ever created.

The Terminator (1984)
Rebel robots launch a war on humans, and a two-decade-plus franchise of envisioning doomsday and beyond is launched. This is why we should be wary of technology. The franchise certainly provides the lingo for the post-apocalypse.

The Postman (1997)
Costner and the post-apocalypse again. Its world is sketched out in detail – an unspecified war laid civilization to waste, there is no standing government, a roaming militia terrorizes survivors, and the hero is a drifter who can quote and perform Shakespeare. He stumbles into a mail truck and tries to rebuild civilization by resuming postal service. There’s ingenuity the USPS could borrow.

12 Monkeys (1995)
An unknown and deadly virus has wiped out five billion people in 1997. Only a small portion of the population has survived decades later and is forced to live underground. A prisoner – Bruce Willis – volunteers to be sent back in time to attempt to stop the unleashing of that virus. Time travel, epidemics, past and future, fantasy and reality – all neat things to look forward to after doomsday.

Mad Max trilogy (1979, 1982, 1985)
The original offered a fine dystopia about a policeman (Mel Gibson) out to avenge the death of his family. Things are only beginning to fall apart in the original, so the next two films – “Mad Max 2” and “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” – nicely capture the aftermath, and its dusty highways and ruined automobiles.

Escape from New York (1981)
9 Civil unrest and crime sweeps the United States, and Manhattan is the now largest prison in the world. Air Force One is hijacked and the president evacuates and lands there. New to the prison colony, Snake Plisskin, played by Kurt Russell, is an ex-war hero who hates the government but can go free if he rescues the president. Today, other American cities seem more apt for a prison colony.

Waterworld (1995)
The polar ice caps have melted, the earth is covered by water, and drifters sail the sea salvaging what is left of civilization. Enter Kevin Costner, playing an outlaw and mutant called “The Mariner,” who is hell-bent on finding a place called “Dryland” with a woman and her daughter. They flee pirates who make today’s Somali ones seem altogether friendly. Climate change doubters should consider a life being chased by them.

http://www.minyanville.com/articles/Apocalypse/index/a/24506

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:02:32 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:03:11 PM EST
NO RED DAWN?
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:04:11 PM EST
Waterworld is terrible, and Wall-E is one of Pixar's worst movies.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:04:36 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:05:27 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:05:29 PM EST
Kostner = SUCKS
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:05:35 PM EST
WALL-E? didnt even realise that was a post-apocalyptic movie
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:05:53 PM EST
Originally Posted By cornface:
Wall-E is one of Pixar's worst movies.



you are fucking crazy

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:08:04 PM EST
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Kostner = SUCKS


^This

I'd like to see Mel Gibson play star in an apocolyptic movie- closest thing that I can remember would be "Patriot" but that was more about just the USA and not so much apololypse......so i'm basically just typing and waisting my time with that comparison there.......
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:10:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 1:10:55 PM EST by Jonny712]
Originally Posted By sterinn:
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Kostner = SUCKS


^This

I'd like to see Mel Gibson play star in an apocolyptic movie- closest thing that I can remember would be "Patriot" but that was more about just the USA and not so much apololypse......so i'm basically just typing and waisting my time with that comparison there.......


you mean a movie like Mad Max?
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:11:06 PM EST
Dawn of the Dead 2004 should have been included.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:11:12 PM EST
Waterworld? Really? Holy fuck, that movie is just ass.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:13:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By jmzd4:
Originally Posted By cornface:
Wall-E is one of Pixar's worst movies.



you are fucking crazy



seriously, wall-e was fantastic
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:13:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By Jonny712:
Originally Posted By sterinn:
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Kostner = SUCKS


^This

I'd like to see Mel Gibson play star in an apocolyptic movie- closest thing that I can remember would be "Patriot" but that was more about just the USA and not so much apololypse......so i'm basically just typing and waisting my time with that comparison there.......


you mean a movie like Mad Max?


well big oversight there on my part- but what I mean is a new movie on the lines of "The Road" that's coming out or something like that.....
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:14:29 PM EST
a boy and his dog
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:15:37 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:16:28 PM EST

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
I don't "Waterworld" and "Escape from New York" really belong on that list, since there are definitely better post-apolcalypic movies than that.


I can agree with "Waterworld" but "Escape from NY" is a classic.

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:16:50 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:17:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
Originally Posted By snakes19:
Originally Posted By jmzd4:
Originally Posted By cornface:
Wall-E is one of Pixar's worst movies.



you are fucking crazy



seriously, wall-e was fantastic


It was absolutely awful.


you are absolutely wrong
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:17:20 PM EST
+2 A Boy And His Dog.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:19:02 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:19:22 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:19:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By snakes19:
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
Originally Posted By snakes19:
Originally Posted By jmzd4:
Originally Posted By cornface:
Wall-E is one of Pixar's worst movies.



you are fucking crazy



seriously, wall-e was fantastic


It was absolutely awful.


you are absolutely wrong



but you are right about Waterworld, that movie sucked dead goat balls from a dead horses ass

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:20:47 PM EST
Waterworld. Seriously?

Heck, I thought Tank Girl was a better movie.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:28:38 PM EST

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
Originally Posted By FMJshooter:

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
I don't "Waterworld" and "Escape from New York" really belong on that list, since there are definitely better post-apolcalypic movies than that.


I can agree with "Waterworld" but "Escape from NY" is a classic.



It is a great movie, but it's NOT a post-apocalyptic movie - that's why I don't think it belongs.

The entire movie takes place on a prison island (former Manhattan), but as far as I can tell from the movie, the rest of the country (and world) is NOT some destroyed wasteland or post-nuclear war world.

Ah good point.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:29:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By dorobuta:
a boy and his dog


"Fist full of raw hide"

Peaches, can't you read?
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:31:10 PM EST
My only input on WALL-E is that Best Buy had it running on Blu-Ray on a Samsung 46" Samsung LED yesterday afternoon when I was in there, and the picture quality made the front of my pants move.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:34:14 PM EST
Planet of the Apes (1968) - Yeah, I can agree on this one. Still one of my favorite films after 40 years.

WALL-E (2008) - Umm, no. Cute, but really not even up to Pixar standards for an entertainment film, much less post-apoc goodness.
I Am Legend (2007) - Awww HELL naah. Really dont care for this film. Mostly because of the lead actor, who I really find to be one of the most overrated actors out there.
The Omega Man (1971) - Yes indeed. I mgith have liked it more if it followed the original book more closely, but it was an entertaining film with an interesting vision of a dark future.
The Terminator (1984) - Yes, very good
The Postman (1997) - Honestly I agree on this one. While nowhere near as good as the book, it was VASTLY better than a lot of the reviewers would have you beleive. I really think a lot of folks didnt give this movie a chance after being deluged with the comments from professional and amateur critics. Costner is hammy but it had a very nice scope of vision in this film.
12 Monkeys (1995) - Vyer weird yet very good.
Mad Max trilogy (1979, 1982, 1985) - Yes, though the third movie was pretty poor. Still definitely post-apoc goodness.
Escape from New York (1981) - Love this film. Not totally sure I would call it post-apocalypse though. More of a Dystopian Future film.
Waterworld (1995) - No. THIS is the movie Costner should be reviled for, not The Postman.

So of the 10, I thought 3 were crap, and one was good but not post-apocalyptic. To replace those and get us back to 10, I would add:
On the Beach (1959) - Depressing but good story, with a host of very good actors.
Red Dawn (1984) - How could this NOT be on the list?
Six String Samurai (1998) - King Elvis of Vegas, a Red Army out of bullets, samurai sword-weilding Buddy Holly, and more. If you have not seen this film, RENT IT TONIGHT
Panic in Year Zero (1962) - Amazingly frank movie about the breakdown of civilzation after a limited nuclear strike on the United States.

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:35:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 1:36:19 PM EST by ArmyInfantryVet]
I can't believe Waterworld & Postman were put on that list.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:36:33 PM EST
Night of the Comet.

Maximum Overdrive(Kinda-sorta)
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:37:14 PM EST
Whoa!! Forgot one.
Matrix
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:37:58 PM EST
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
Originally Posted By snakes19:
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
Originally Posted By snakes19:
Originally Posted By jmzd4:
Originally Posted By cornface:
Wall-E is one of Pixar's worst movies.



you are fucking crazy



seriously, wall-e was fantastic


It was absolutely awful.


you are absolutely wrong


I'm rubber and you're glue!


2 grown men fighting over a movie ?

Wall-e sucked now get over it
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:38:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By AzSteven:
Planet of the Apes (1968) - Yeah, I can agree on this one. Still one of my favorite films after 40 years.

WALL-E (2008) - Umm, no. Cute, but really not even up to Pixar standards for an entertainment film, much less post-apoc goodness.
I Am Legend (2007) - Awww HELL naah. Really dont care for this film. Mostly because of the lead actor, who I really find to be one of the most overrated actors out there.
The Omega Man (1971) - Yes indeed. I mgith have liked it more if it followed the original book more closely, but it was an entertaining film with an interesting vision of a dark future.
The Terminator (1984) - Yes, very good
The Postman (1997) - Honestly I agree on this one. While nowhere near as good as the book, it was VASTLY better than a lot of the reviewers would have you beleive. I really think a lot of folks didnt give this movie a chance after being deluged with the comments from professional and amateur critics. Costner is hammy but it had a very nice scope of vision in this film.
12 Monkeys (1995) - Vyer weird yet very good.
Mad Max trilogy (1979, 1982, 1985) - Yes, though the third movie was pretty poor. Still definitely post-apoc goodness.
Escape from New York (1981) - Love this film. Not totally sure I would call it post-apocalypse though. More of a Dystopian Future film.
Waterworld (1995) - No. THIS is the movie Costner should be reviled for, not The Postman.

So of the 10, I thought 3 were crap, and one was good but not post-apocalyptic. To replace those and get us back to 10, I would add:
On the Beach (1959) - Depressing but good story, with a host of very good actors.
Red Dawn (1984) - How could this NOT be on the list?
Six String Samurai (1998) - King Elvis of Vegas, a Red Army out of bullets, samurai sword-weilding Buddy Holly, and more. If you have not seen this film, RENT IT TONIGHT
Panic in Year Zero (1962) - Amazingly frank movie about the breakdown of civilzation after a limited nuclear strike on the United States.



not really post-apocalyptic
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:38:02 PM EST
this is definitely a tag
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:39:18 PM EST
I Am Legend/Omega Man....but no Last Man on Earth? That was a much better movie than either of the other two.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:39:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 1:41:08 PM EST by YFC]
I am Legend should have been on this list (and flame-suit on) Mad Max was boring as fuck. The sequels were good, though.

Originally Posted By DemonicLemming:
I Am Legend/Omega Man....but no Last Man on Earth? That was a much better movie than either of the other two.


Definitely, although I give Omega Man props, because I was entertained.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:39:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 1:39:39 PM EST by GonzoAR15-1]
The STAND.

'Nuff said.




Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:40:30 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 1:40:53 PM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:40:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 1:41:52 PM EST by 10mmPatriot]
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
I don't "Waterworld" and "Escape from New York" really belong on that list, since there are definitely better post-apolcalypic movies than that.



Agree 100% on "Escape from New York".

I don't consider "Escape from New York" a post-apolcalypic film in the first place. More like a dystopian future, as most of the world appears to be intact and functioning.

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:41:25 PM EST


Maybe the first half.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:45:28 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 1:47:26 PM EST by Ronnoc]
The Best, well, I pretty much like all apocalyptic movies:

Red Dawn
Neon City
Children of Men
Day of the Triffids
Damnation Alley
Def-Con 4
Jeremiah (Showtime series)
Mad Max Trilogy
The Postman
Equilibrium
Day of the Wolf
12 Monkeys
I Am Legend
Omega Man
Soylent Green
A Boy and His Dog
Dawn of the Dead (original)
Jericho TV series
Planet of the Apes (original, the remake sucked)
Logan's Run, movie and series
Left Behind movies
The Seventh Sign
The Stand
Doomsday
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:46:07 PM EST
Originally Posted By Tango7:
Kind of surprised "Children of Men" wasn't on that list.


Me too.

Maybe the most underrated movie of the last ten years.

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:49:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By YFC:


Originally Posted By DemonicLemming:
I Am Legend/Omega Man....but no Last Man on Earth? That was a much better movie than either of the other two.


Definitely, although I give Omega Man props, because I was entertained.

It was good, just didn't have the gray-washed "The world is fucked" tone that Last Man on Earth did. That, and I'm a huge Vincent Price fan.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:54:43 PM EST
in for more movie suggestions..
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:56:47 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 1:59:58 PM EST
Originally Posted By Tango7:
Kind of surprised "Children of Men" wasn't on that list.




What a stupid movie.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 2:01:26 PM EST
Originally Posted By Tango7:
Kind of surprised "Children of Men" wasn't on that list.

Yup.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 2:01:53 PM EST
Stalker should be on there.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 2:02:53 PM EST
Originally Posted By Threecurl:
My only input on WALL-E is that Best Buy had it running on Blu-Ray on a Samsung 46" Samsung LED yesterday afternoon when I was in there, and the picture quality made the front of my pants move.



The only thing worse than a grown man watching Wall-E without children present is.... a grown man purchasing Wall-E on Blu-Ray for himself.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 2:03:51 PM EST
Originally Posted By CSeaBass:
Stalker should be on there.


I'm a huge fan of independent horror films, but really? It was very silly, and wasn't even post-apocalyptic. It was like David Lynch without a budget.
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