I fucking LOVE apocalyptic movies!
Death! Disaster! Mayhem! Whoo hoo!
And if they’re religiously themed? Even better.
Now, I define apocalyptic broadly, to encompass existential ends, partial ends (of countries, cities) as well as the mere possibility of world’s end.
Oo, world’s end—let’s see, Childhood’s End, an Aldous Huxley (Arthur C. Clarke—h/t C.) novel about—yep—the end of the world. Read that one (the, uh, first time) in high school.
So let’s extend the love for all things apocalyptic to novels, as well.
It should go without saying that these movies/novels are often awful. Children of Men was a very good movie (and so-so novel), but that, I think, was an exception.
Terminator 2 was pretty good, but really, really, really long.
Terminator 3? Okay. (I missed Linda Hamilton.)
Terminator 4? Umm, is that on Hulu? Maybe if I ever sign up for Netflix. . . .
Goofy apocalyptic is good, like Independence Day. Or what was that movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche about the volcano in Los Angeles? Goofy is what it was!
And certainly better than the Pierce Brosnan volcano flick—which, while it had Linda Hamilton, did not have Sarah Connor.
So, too, with Deep Impact Armageddon (Bruce Willis/Ben Affleck comet movie) and the Morgan Freeman/Tea Leoni comet movie (Deep Impact). You’d think the Freeman/Leoni duo would kick Willis & Affleck’s asses, but, no: Deep Impact Armageddon wins by goofiness.
Prophecy, with Virginia Madsen and Christopher Walken—really, you have to ask? Christopher Walken! And bonus with angels and Satan and stuff!
Much better than End of Days, with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Too stodgy.
The Ninth Gate? Not really world-ending, but really fucking weird. And Satan and stuff.
Stigmata? Not really at all, but it had visions and angels and stuff. And Gabriel Byrne.
Waterworld? Nuh. Kevin Costner, not in his lovable-crank personna (Bull Durham, Tin Cup), but just annoying crank. But Dennis Hopper was fun.
Day After Tomorrow? Please. (And while I’m certainly willing to watch bad bad-end movies, I’m not willing to pay 12 bucks to do so: 2012 will have to wait.)
War of the Worlds? I have the Tom Cruise version stamped on my brain. Too muted. And Tom Cruise. . . .
Oh, and On the Beach. Odd, but great. The first half is a bit of a caper flick, with Fred Astair and Ava Gardner (man!) and stiff-and-honorable Gregory Peck, but still (SPOILER), no relief: everybody dies.
The Day After played on t.v. in the 1980s, to much hue and cry. I saw it again a year or two ago, and while it was mighty cheesy, still.
Testament was not cheesy. I still (mis?)remember the scene in which Jane Alexander is sitting in next to sun-filled window, sewing, her face determined. It’s only in the voiceover do we learn that this is a shroud for her daughter.
28 Days Later gave me nightmares for a week—then terrified me out of sleep six months later.
Didn’t see 28 Months Later, however—tho’ if it streams on Netflix (if I ever. . .) then, maybe.
I should catch up with all the old George Romero flixs. While I’m not a big horror fan, zombies work.
World War Z, by Max Brooks. Have you read it? A fine bit of reportage. Sparked an unfinished bit of writing from me, on the ethics of zombie-killing and -experimentation.
Margaret Atwood has written a number of apocalyptic novels, although these tend toward collapse-apocalypse as opposed to war/violence-apocalypse. Oryx & Crake was hilarious and cold—just right; her new book elaborates on the O&C theme and is, according to a number of critics, better than the original. Hmpf.
And then, of course, The Handmaid’s Tale—I’m currently using that in one of my pol sci classes. When I polled the class on when/whether they would try to escape the totalitarian Republic of Gilead, most of them were of the I’d-wait-it-out variety. Really? I all-but-yelped. Only one student was with me: as soon as we lost our jobs or our money, if not sooner, we’d be gone.
Turn me into an Unwoman—no suh!
Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway. What? You still haven’t read it? Honestly, what’s your excuse?
There’s more, of course. Fahrenheit 451. Don DeLillo. The Plot Against America. Walker Percy. Peter Hoeg. Jose Saramago. 1984. A couple of Marge Piercy’s. A couple of Mary Doria Russell’s. William Gibson.
Science fiction? Speculative fiction? Whatever. If the earth is in peril/ends, it’s in.
C. was going to start an apocalyptic book club at the bookstore, but a necessary manager bailed. Still, I’d expect that she’d have even more to offer.
And, again, quality is not really the point, here. Even the books or movies I slagged I’d still (re)read or watch (again).
The point is that they are 1) fiction; 2) fun! and/or terrifying!; and 3) the world ends!
Should I mention that a number of us have made plans to see The Road Christmas night?
The director had better not make it ‘inspiring’. . . .