To follow on from my previous post about the end of the world, I thought I’d share with you a list of my favourite apocalyptic films. I am a big film fan. No. A massive film fan. To prove this I have quite a large collection, filling up two large bookcases and ranging across genres from childrens to comedies to chick flicks to action to adventure to sci-fi.
I would include books in this list but after just checking and double checking, it turns out I have only one apocalyptic book in my collection (World War Z). This was a revelation to me but once the shock had subsided I trotted over to my film collection and plucked out my favourites, my beautiful, my precious.
- The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Need I say more?
The first two, the originals, in the Terminator series and the only two that can be taken seriously. Arnie is in his pivotal role in these classic films with lines that everyone knows. The action sequences are incredible, as are the soundtracks.
I went to see Terminator 3 at the cinema and was sorely disappointed. I waited for Terminator 4 to make it to the small screen and was filled with some hope as the focus seemed to be on Kyle Reese. I thought this was a fantastic idea; Terminator focused on Sarah Connor, Judgement day on John Connor and Salvation on Kyle Reese. Unfortunately the film was filled with plot holes so glaring that I laughed myself off the sofa. John Connor was poorly written and poorly played. This was a film filled with unmet potential.
The first two films, on the other hand, met their full potentials. If you haven’t seen them yet (or even if you have) rent/buy them, get in the chocolate/popcorn, turn off your phone and lights, pull the curtains, settle down and enjoy.
2. Shaun of the Dead
Well I could hardly leave this one off the list, could I? A true British classic, it has everything a British film should have; laughs, tears, strong characters and a good British attitude towards the living dead. No guns hiding in every house within easy grasp to blow a zombie’s head off. No, the British are much more resourceful; baseball bats and vinyl records.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, along with many other British greats, star and this is the film that made them household names. It is brilliantly written, acted and directed.
3. The Book of Eli
This one is a bit different.
Thirty years before the film is set, a war broke out. It was a religious war and culminated in all King James bibles being destroyed. All except one. Eli has been told by God to take this last bible West and so he is. God protects him on his mission resulting in some excellence action sequences. Gary Oldman plays a leader of a new town, risen from the ruins of the war. He remembers the bible and the power those words can have over people. He remembers it and he wants it. So when Eli comes through his town, he takes this only opportunity to obtain the power of those words.
This film is not for those who dislike the reality of a post-apocalyptic world. It is a brilliantly written and philosophical film that I highly recommend, but some people might want to close their eyes in certain places.
This is an excellent zombie romp. Our anal hero survivor is travelling to his hometown in this ‘zombieland’. Along the way he meets other survivors; a redneck Woody Harrelson and two con artist sisters. Together they fight, zombies and each other, and survive. They do what any sane person living in America at the time of a zombie outbreak should do; they go to celebrity houses.
This film is full of heart warming characters, laughs, fantastic zombies (what I call ‘computer game zombies’ in that they run at you with flailing arms) and, most importantly, the rules for surviving a zombie outbreak. Watch and write them down. They could become very useful at any time.
I bought this DVD on a whim and really enjoyed it. Another wonderful British film, although not quite a classic. A virus that threatens to wipe out the human race breaks out in Scotland. A large wall is built across the English/Scottish border to keep the virus inside, along with those who are infected. A little girl is rescued by a soldier and taken out of Scotland. Many years later, when the little girl has become a woman, the virus is found in London and the Government decide to send her and her group of specialists into Scotland to find the answer to a cure. The team travel through the now wasteland and ruins of Scotland, meeting the survivors and their new societies.
This is a gory, action packed, face paced film and definitely worth a look. The creator of Doomsday is the same man who gave us Dog Soldiers – a definite British classic.
Obviously there are a lot more apocalyptic films on offer but I decided to only choose the 5 that really stood out to me. I am also highly anticipating World War Z (which seems that it won’t be released in the UK until 2013 unfortunately). If you haven’t seen any of these, I highly recommend them. Naturally, I would also love to get recommendations…
EDIT: I have been reminded of one of the best British apocalyptic films I have ever seen (but is not yet in my collection); Attack The Block. A film about a gang of teenagers and the aliens that invade their block. This film is a work of pure genius. It combines a love of science fiction with the reality of politics, racism and poverty. It is now available on DVD and I cannot recommend it strongly enough. Believe it.
Check these films out at www.imdb.co.uk.