I think it’s safe to say that the past year and this one so far have been pretty much trying to survive through an apocalypse. While each of us are figuring out different ways to cope and hold it together, one of the most ironic ways has been to watch apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic movies! Weren’t you also one of the many who watched Contagion last year in March and overthought conspiracy theories? Who wouldn’t? The movie is strikingly similar to the pandemic we are in.
When our comfortable life is thrown into a spiral with an unexpected crisis like the pandemic, we can’t immediately process our emotions and need to find something relatable to make sense of what’s happening. Apocalyptic movies give us that scenario.
Also, check out the Blogchatter chat we had recently on why apocalyptic movies are liked.
Anyway, pandemic or no pandemic, this genre of movies is one that has always taken our breath away. So, here’s a list of five such movies that I absolutely loved. Get your bucket of popcorn (caramel one for me, please) and hold on tight because…
A retelling of the H.G. Wells classic, this begins like a quaint story about a father spending a lazy weekend with his kids and oh, giant aliens looking like tripods decide to say hello too. Parenting during an alien invasion threatening to wipe out humanity becomes a tad difficult and it shows in Ray’s (Tom Cruise) not so methodical packing of emergency supplies of batteries, ketchup, vinegar and mustard as they plan to run to a safe place. His son Robbie (Justin Chatwin) decides that it’s the perfect time to become patriotic and hop onto a passing army tanker to save the world. His daughter Rachel (Dakota Fanning) with her ever-fearful expressions adds terror to the whole scenario. Meanwhile the real alien behind all these gadgets is a puny little bug-eyed bat like creature. The ending, of course has them walking against a post-apocalyptic golden sky because dad saved the day.
“By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet’s infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain.”
We’re living in a time when The Dutch Boy Program, a network of satellites engineered by Jake (Gerard Butler) helps control the crumbling climate situation worldwide. If something goes wrong, the world will be threatened with extreme and unpredictable natural disasters and that is exactly what happens- something goes seriously wrong and we begin to see earthquakes, storms, and volcanoes all at once. Although the dialogues could have been better, the meteorological chaos is artistic in the least if not scientific. Apparently, a reset of the satellites with the obviously placed lever saves the planet. Gee, we sure could use a reset for our pandemic too, couldn’t we? Let’s ask Gerard Butler to do it for a cinematic effect.
“You can’t undo the past. All you can do is face what’s ahead.”
Based on the bestselling book by Max Brookes, here we have a virus that is turning humans into feral zombies and there’s Gerry (Brad Pitt) in a race against time to stop this pandemic that is on its way to destroy the world. Haven’t we all at least once imagined that the world would end in a zombie apocalypse? Pop culture has taught us that time and again. The zombies here though have a ‘type’ and don’t attack people who are sick. So all they have to do is get sick but not too sick. Err… However, this movie is not all brains brains brains, and the usual grotesqueness of zombies. It’s more about finding a way to rebuild what’s lost. The end would leave you wondering, did they find a cure?
“This isn’t the end, not even close, we bought ourselves some time. It’s given us a chance.”
The moon, the reason our planet has stability is attacked by extraterrestrials 60 years in the future, partially destroying it. Earth becomes mostly uninhabitable. Jack (Tom Cruise) is a drone repairman stationed on the empty earth before he can join his fellow survivors as they colonize Titan, or so they tell him. The spectacular visuals, the symbolism and detailing of the characters can simply not go unnoticed. This is also the only movie in which you can see a ‘broken moonlight dinner’ quite literally. You’ll think twice before booking a one-way ticket to Mars after watching Oblivion and stick to just eating Mars bars instead.
“If we have souls, they’re made of the love we share. Undimmed by time, unbound by death. I can’t shake the feeling, that earth, in spite of all that’s happened, earth is still my home.”
Another zombie outbreak, but this time the battle happens on a spine-chilling train ride with a blend of horror, humor and powerful emotions. It’s a wonderful take on which side our moral compass points to when we find ourselves needing to make ethical decisions. It is a reminder that people who suffer in a disaster are more than just numbers- they’re people. A fine exploration of the human psyche, Train to Busan is the perfect watch while we ourselves experience a pandemic and all the distress and overcoming that comes with it.
“Aloha oe, aloha oe, until we meet again…”
Images source: IMDB
Thrills aside, apocalyptic movies provide us some odd kind of solace at a sub conscious level. They make us feel how vulnerable the human race is and at the same time, how very resilient. We fall, we lose, but we also rise and win. Ever noticed? The end never comes in these movies. It’s always a new dawn.
This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon