Good Movie, Bad World
So apparently, according these people, the long-rumored Rapture is happening tomorrow. Clearly, these are false prophets and doofuses (doofusi?) that worship their own expectations and bad time management, but it certainly has gotten the collective subconscious dishing, hasn’t it? Just to be safe, though, there is a realization that’s come to convict me pretty strongly recently. Here’s some truth that will make people more uncomfortable than Lars Von Trier without his meds:
Jesus is God, and every good thing you’ve ever done or said or thought is a miracle of God.
Now, I’m perceived as wrong an awful lot around here. (Crystal Skull = A) That’s because I’m a damn, dirty human, and am incomplete. I am not God, you are not God, the planet is not God, we are not God. So, I can be wrong all I want, but God can’t be. He’s not allowed, so there you go. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
Let’s say I AM wrong about the false prophets, though. What is humanity in for?
Honestly? They might be part of an awesome movie, despite terrible living conditions. I’ve never been a big fan of post-apocalyptic movies, but I have to admit there have been some classics. Below are my favorite movies that take place in either an ending or having-had-ended Earth.
But first, a question. As I mentioned, I’m not incredibly well-versed in post-apocalyptic cinema. A few years ago, some awesome guys made a post-apocalyptic movie in our neck of the woods, featuring Hump Day‘s Josh Leonard. You can check it out here. Besides the following films, I’m wondering if I’m missing out on a genre I’ve purposely ignored for a long time. I know The Road and The Book of Eli have gotten some praise in the past few years. Should I check them out? I also have trouble categorizing the genre. I left a few movies off my list because I wasn’t sure they would count. If they do count, throw ’em on there as runners-up: They Live, Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, The Last Man on Earth (not a question, just a runner-up).
1.) Children of Men – It’s only been a few years since Alfonso Cuaron released his masterfully messy story about the potential twilight of man, but it continues to crawl up list of my favorite movies of all time. Despite taking place in a bleak Dystopia, the film works like an amazing piece of music, driving all of its anxiety and tension towards one transcendent moment. The fallout of that moment is as harrowing as the rest of the film. A fact that has been highly publicized is that much of the horror in the movie is captured in floating long takes, a visual motif Cuaron carried over from his other road movie, Y tu mama tambien. Despite its incredible cinematography, production design, and visual effects, Children of Men just would not work without Clive Owen’s lead performance. His Theo has been beaten up by life, and Owen wears that in his hangdog expression. It’s the kind of down-and-out movie star performance that reminds me of Dean Martin’s Dude in Rio Bravo. Not only is the film certifiable bad-ass cinema, it’s also a pretty great argument for total depravity.
2.) Wall-E – Possibly the most cuddly post-apocalyptic movie ever, this robot love story is something you can put on and watch it any situation. Quite possibly my favorite Pixar film, Andrew Stanton really went all-out making sure that the romance works here, and that we really believe in Wall-E’s isolation. Not only is it a fantastic movie about life after the end of the world, but it’s also an incredible movie about loneliness.
3.) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – Philip Kaufman’s creepy and hard-hitting remake of Don Siegel’s original 50’s horror classic is just plain amazing. The build-up to the end of it all is sickeningly tense, as we are introduced to a close-knit group of characters, then watch them evade sleep as the rest of civilization succumbs to the subversive invaders. Not only does Invasion ’78 feature one of the great movie endings (don’t ruin it for yourself by watching it on YouTube) it also boasts another one of those fantastic mustachioed Donald Sutherland performances (see: Don’t Look Now). What bowled me over on my first watch was Kaufman’s ability to plant seeds of tension early on, as we get the strong feeling that background characters and extras have already turned, long before the main characters realize what’s going on.
4.) Planet of the Apes – Just having this film on the list seems like a spoiler, but let’s be honest. The movie’s been out for over forty years, and the spoiler image is on the DVD cover, not to mention referenced in one of the great Simpsons episodes (“Protect the Queen!” “Which ones the Queen?” “I am.” “No, you’re not.”) Based on Pierre Boulle’s fantastic novel, this 60’s classic trades in the novel’s modernity for an almost Ben-Hur approach, understandably.
5.) Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior – I’ll be frank. I’m not a fan of George Miller’s Mad Max. I have no real connection to Mel Gibson’s character. I find a lot of the eccentricities of the Mad Max universe to be kind of annoying, along with some of the performances. I can’t call this a perfect movie, or even one of my all-time favorites. I can, however, admit that its aesthetics, plot, and action scenes are just plain incredible. I bought the film on blu-ray just so I can experience the film’s climactic tanker chase in the best possible fashion. If you haven’t seen The Road Warrior, and enjoy the endorphin release of a well-constructed, adrenaline-pumping car chase, you’re seriously missing out. The fact that this is post-apocalyptic is probably irrelevant.
Just like most conversations in my life, a theological musing has led to a car wreck. Go back to my earlier questions, though- Post your favorite post-apocalyptic movies, fill me in on the genre specifics, and above all- on Sunday morning, do NOT trust Chiwetel Ejiofor.