10 Awesome Movies About the End of the World

End of the world movies are by design kind of depressing and even horrifying seeing as how they, well, predict how the world is going to end. In alien-based movies humanity never seems to get the upper hand until the last second. In post-apocalyptic movies humanity tears each other apart, sometimes literally when talking about zombie movies. Then there are movies where the machines take over because of a human flaw in their programming, and even movies where humanity has little if any real decision as to how their planet is going to end. There are a million ways that the world could end, but no matter how it does, it seems to offer an outstanding chance for entertainment.

Here are 10 great movies about the end of the world:

10. The Road (2009)

Set in a dim, dismal post-apocalyptic setting, this film is absolutely depressing, not to mention filled with danger of the sort that could seem all too real should the world ever really end. A father and son make their way through a battered and torn landscape seeking refuge and finding only danger and deceit at every turn. The hopelessness in this film is so palpable that you almost leave the theater feeling somehow diminished for the onscreen struggle.

9. War of the Worlds (2005)

This is a remake of an old classic, and in truth the original broadcast that went out over the radio almost incited a nationwide panic. Consider though, at the time it was released, that people had no idea what to believe and no picture to follow the action with. Over the radio a realistic sounding broadcast might just be enough to scare anyone into thinking that an alien race was laying waste to humanity. The remake was kind of a flop, but it definitely highlighted a few interesting points from the original, namely the fact that the aliens were undone by the very thing that humanity had learned to live with since their rise to dominance.

8. 2012 (2009)

When the world ends it is a matter of how, not always who did what or which alien species is about to take over. In this film the world is being subjected to more and more abuse as the eventual outcome is that its poles reverse, entire nations flood or are consumed in massive earthquakes, and John Cusack of course becomes a center figure for a plot that unfortunately couldn’t challenge the creative imaginings of an elementary student. The feel of the movie is powerful, but even with top-notch talent behind the wheel of this big budget film it was just barely able to tread water.

7. Deep Impact (1998)

The late 1990s were a popular time for disaster films. Not only were asteroids the going thing, but other movies concerning the end of the world were starting to get hot too. In this low-budget, feel-good film the story revolves around several individuals that are given the explicit knowledge that the world is about to end. Of course once the news is considered to be secret it is leaked immediately and the world begins to panic. And then, on cue, a mission is formulated to send the most advanced human-powered rocket into space to destroy the killer asteroid. The most unfortunate part of this film is that it was choreographed every step of the way and left little if anything to the imagination.

6. Armageddon (1998)

A killer soundtrack and a killer asteroid weren’t enough, this movie had to have a star-studded cast to back it up in order to keep it relevant and bound for box office glory. Thankfully, it worked. Bruce Willis vs. the killer asteroid was a matchup that went over quite well, especially considering that this time the guys sent to the asteroid weren’t specialists or even astronauts. They were oil rig drillers that just happened to possess a rare set of skills among them that could help to penetrate and detonate an asteroid the size of Texas that could wipe out every living thing on earth from the impact alone. It made for one great story at least, but the movie could have easily ended only ten minutes after the final explosion.

5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

So your best friend, spouse, or acquaintance is acting a little off. What’s to worry about, right? Well if you saw this movie or any of its eventual remakes you’d be looking at the person next to you a little differently after that. They look like us, they walk like us, they just don’t act like us. The entire premise of this film is flat out creepy considering how simple it is and how eerily it portrays an alien race that can completely take over another species in such a simple but devious way.

4. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

There have been many zombie movies that have come and gone, but this one perhaps got people’s attention. If you can recall any of the zombie movies of before, you might notice that the undead couldn’t really gather up a good head of steam when they were coming at you. If you could run fast and far you might be okay for a little while. Not in this film. Once you take note of the first zombie, a little girl in her nightshirt, you will likely jump back and take note that she gets up and runs. As if zombies weren’t bad enough for wanting to eat brains, flesh, and anything else they can get their grubby hands on, now they’ve got speed on their side as well.

3. Legion (2010)

Sometimes the end of the world comes in a most biblical way. This movie is a very raw, almost cynical look at how the world could end at the hands of its creator. God is royally miffed at His people and sends a plague unlike anything that’s ever been discussed in the bible before, at least not on this scale. The Hounds of Heaven, at phrase you don’t normally hear, are being sent to earth to possess the living, and as a result are not only seeking their wayward leader, the archangel Michael, but are gradually exterminating humankind using their human forms as crude but efficient battering rams to hammer humanity into submission. At such a point it might seem like prayer would be a good idea, but it might be a little tough to pray with a shark-toothed maniac possessed by an angel trying to snuff your lights out.

2. Children of Men (2006)

As end of the world movies go this one is a bit different in regards to how the world will really end. Imagine the sudden cessation of births in the world. The mortality rate remains, but there are no more children, no live births to speak of, and as a result the human race begins to die out slowly but surely. One man discovers that somewhere, somehow, a woman has been gifted with the wondrous miracle of a child that is well and alive in her womb. She has in effect become the most important woman in the world, and despite the need to survive, there are still those that would gladly snuff her out. If that woman and her child die, the human race might go with them. This is a much more cerebral film than most, and as such is much harder to follow, but very worth it if you can.

1. The Terminator (1984)

Back to the good old formula of mankind doing the most damage to itself by misadventure and misplaced arrogance mixed with a healthy dose of ignorance. While humans don’t generally need a lot of help to wipe themselves out, this film introduces an AI element that has absolutely no compunctions about killing humans and seeks to supplant them as the dominant species in the world. It even goes so far as to send one of its minions back in time to eradicate the only real threat it can divine before he is even born. The timeline was bound to erupt with new ideas and sequels once this classic hit the big screen.

Conclusion

Maybe R.E.M. said it best when they sang “it’s the end of the world and we know it, and I feel fine”. After all, humans know at one point that the entire mess we’ve made must end, the only question is how it’s going to come. In this light it is easy to see end of the world films as a pleasing attempt at satire concerning the coming future and our own eventual demise. Sometimes it’s better to laugh at death than stand in fear of it.

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