It’s the End of the World As We Know It (So Let’s Watch Films)

Apologies for the terrible REM-based pun there.

Yes, as I’m sure you’re all aware, the end of the year is fast approaching, and with it we draw ever closer to December 21, 2012 – the supposed end of the world. If you’re a moron.

Still, to get in the spirit of things, I thought I’d don my best tin-foil hat (to keep the CIA from reading my thoughts) and have a look at five of the greatest apocalypse movies of all time. Just a warning: this post WILL contain spoilers. But if you read them, it’s not the end of the world… sorry.


2012 (Roland Emmerich, 2009)

It would be foolish to mention the 2012 Apocalypse Theory and not mention the movie that actually sees it through to the end. Roland Emmerich’s huge-scale disaster movie sees John Cusack take his estranged family on a road trip to find the secret boats the world’s governments are making to keep everyone alive. Or at least those rich enough to buy a ticket. The plot may be dumber than a bag of hammers, but the special effects sequences are suitably epic and Woody Harrelson makes a hilarious appearance as a conspiracy nut living in Yellowstone National Park.


Armageddon (Michael Bay, 1998)


This was actually one of two movies released in that year that involved a giant asteroid headed on a collision course with Earth: Deep Impact was pretty much the same, but more serious. Which was better? Well, that one had Morgan Freeman as the President of the United States. This one has a very Aerosmith-heavy soundtrack. So it’s about even. In all seriousness, this is probably the least awful film Michael Bay has ever made – some may call it good, even. He got a great cast, including Bruce Willis and Liv Tyler, and used them all brilliantly. Still, it’s a shame that they actually stop the asteroid in time. Otherwise, Bay might have died in the aftermath, and the Transformers films would just be a horrible nightmare.


Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer, 2009)


Zombies seem to be the cultural apocalypse du jour at the moment, but Ruben Fleischer’s hilarious 2009 comedy proved that they aren’t quite done with just yet. Jesse Eisenberg is great as a shy, awkward introvert with a shotgun and a list of rules as long as his arm, and Emma Stone makes a great femme fatale, but it’s Woody Harrelson who steals the show as a redneck whose two great obsessions in life are Bill Murray films and Twinkees. Shame that Hostess has gone under; now he’ll never get them. Even though he does actually miss a box of them sitting on a shelf in the supermarket scene. Seriously.


The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2011)

The Cabin in the Woods

Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s genre-bending horror movie had even more tricks up its sleeve than anybody realised. We all grumbled when the trailer basically revealed that the cabin was *spolier alert* being controlled by a shady, high-tech organisation like some ghastly version of The Truman Show,  but no-one could have predicted that it was actually being done *spoiler alert* to placate a god-like creature called The Ancient One, who would destroy the Earth if he wasn’t placated. And then the Earth gets destroyed. The final shot of a huge hand bursting out of the Earth to destroy the eponymous cabin was the bravest one of 2012, and it worked perfectly.


WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)


Since this feature’s getting a tad depressing, let’s end on a light note – a love story with robots! Awww, look at the cute little robots… Frolicking in a dry wasteland that used to be Earth. Because we turned it into a toxic wasteland with our hyper-consumerism and general lack of care… I’m sad again now. All joking aside though, WALL-E‘s environmental message is actually portrayed in a very subtle, intelligent manner, and it manages to be a fable whilst simultaneously being one of the most believable and affecting love stories ever in the history of cinema. But most importantly, it’s a story about hope. And that’s what makes it the best of all the apocalypse movies out there.

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