Doomsday 2012: The best of the end

Doomsday 2012: The best of the end

Jennifer Lee

With the end of the Mayan calendar arriving soon, what better way to prepare for life after Judgment Day than to have a post-apocalyptic movie marathon? Here is El Estoque’s guide to the very best of the Armageddon, as portrayed in film.

The “Mad Max” series (1979, 1981, 1985, 2013):

Summary: Perhaps the most famous post-apocalyptic story of all time, the “Mad Max” films feature Mel Gibson in his first breakout role, wandering the wasteland. Due to depleted oil reserves, modern civilization has fallen, leaving people to fend for themselves. Max must defend himself and others against savage groups of bandits and struggle to survive in a barren planet.

Why it’s great: The constant threat of Max’s psychotic enemies keeps viewers constantly guessing. The creativity in the design of their morbid, ridiculous costumes and the hunks of metal they call “cars” still influences entertainment today. It is a staple in the genre and will experience a resurgence next year as Tom Hardy (you may remember him as Bane from “The Dark Knight Returns”) assumes the role of Max in the upcoming sequel.

Sources: Village Roadshow Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures

“The Omega Man” (1971) / “I Am Legend” (2007):

Summary: Both based on the Richard Matheson classic, “I Am Legend,” these films tell the story of the last man on Earth. Played by Charlton Heston in the original and Will Smith in the remake, a scientist tries to find the cure for a catastrophic plague that has rendered the human population rabid and bloodthirsty.

Why it’s great: The original film tells a fun, yet disturbing story that is surprisingly progressive for its time, featuring one of the first ever interracial love scenes in cinematic history. The remake has a much darker, grim tone and features absolutely breathtaking set design. Entire chunks of New York were turned into desolate, decaying pieces of metropolis reclaimed by nature. Neither are perfect movies but are a good time, guaranteed. Also, unlike the original, those infected in the remake resemble rabid, sprinting zombies more than the intelligent vampires of the original.

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Dawn of the Dead” (1978) / “Dawn of the Dead” (2004):

Summary: The original zombie apocalypse and ground zero for some of your favorite horror. Both are famous for their social commentary, as the viewer realizes that the biggest threat in these movies aren’t the walking dead, but the humans.

Why it’s great: Both the original and the remake of the classic, are widely hailed by filmmakers and critics as two of the best zombie films of all time. The sense of dread and suspense build-up, as the viewer witnesses a group surrounded by constant threat and falling apart, is unparalleled. It could be argued that the remake, directed by Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”) actually matches the quality of the original by George A. Romero, an uncommon feat in the movie industry.

Sources: United Film Distribution Company and Universal Pictures

“28 Days Later” (2002):

Summary: A quintessential zombie film with a twist. Cillian Murphy of “Batman Begins” and “Inception,” stars as a man recently awoken from a coma — only to find that he has slept through the end of days. “28 Days Later” was the first film to feature the sprinting zombie, a creature that later inspired such works as “Left 4 Dead” and “Zombieland.”

Why it’s great: Much like “Dawn of the Dead,” “28 Days Later” depicts the remnants of mankind as the true horror of the movie. It will haunt any viewer just how plausible the behavior is that the surviving humans display in reaction to civilization’s destruction. The possibility of the zombie apocalypse ever happening may be unrealistic, but the depths that people will sink to and the atrocities they will inflict on each other doesn’t seem like a stretch.

Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures

“Children of Men” (2006):

Summary: While this movie actually takes place in the middle of a painfully slow apocalypse, it serves as an incredible snapshot of humanity in its death throes. Clive Owen‘s character watches as the world around him crumbles due to a pandemic of human infertility.

Why it’s great: The movie depicts a chilling headline towards the beginning of the film: “The world was stunned today by the death of Diego Ricardo, the youngest person on the planet.” It is such a simple, yet genius idea that is executed perfectly, much to the viewer’s dismay.

Source: Universal Pictures

“The Matrix” (1999):

Summary: In a dystopian future where the machines have risen and enslaved the entire human population, a small resistance of liberated humans fight back with everything they can muster. Keanu Reeves stars as the chosen one who, a prophecy foretells, will destroy the machines.

Why it’s great: Despite its two dreadful sequels, “The Matrix” remains a modern classic whose special effects stand the test of time. Watching Reeves fulfill his duty as the chosen one is still every bit as thrilling as it was when it came out in.

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991):

Summary: In another effort to kill the future hero of the human resistance, John Connor, Skynet sends the terminator, T-1000 back in time to take him out. Protected by his mother and the original Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarznegger, the movie follows their pursuit.

Why it’s great: Undoubtedly the best of the “Terminator” series, and one of the best science fiction movies of all time, “Terminator 2” is chock-full of action, suspense and robotic one-liners from the Governator himself. T-100, the liquid metal terminator sent to kill future-hero John Connor, is still just as terrifying and visually impressive as it ever was.

Source: StudioCanal Images S.A.