The Top 5 Movies of the Apocalypse

Just in time for the end of the world! Okay, not really. I'm reasonably confident that the world will be here to see the sun rise on December 22nd, so this is not the time to give away all your stuff and rampage through the streets. But it did get me thinking about how often the world has ended on the silver screen, for our, er, entertainment. So to speak. Anyway, if your neighbors are rampaging through the streets, lock yourself in and try kicking back with this list of the top five flicks that make you feel glad you're alive.

Honorable Mention: Dead Weight

Form of the Apocalypse: Zombie outbreak.

Last Words: With zombies everywhere -- though you have to be paying close attention to see them most of the time -- a young man obsessed with finding his girlfriend will stop at nothing to succeed. You won't find this one in wide release, which is why it's an honorable mention, but if you can catch it at a festival or on DVD, it's worth watching.

5. Knowing

Form of the Apocalypse: Solar flares.

Last Words: A mysterious prophecy, penned by a truly scary little girl, surfaces just in time for two people to discover that the end of the world is nigh. They run around and panic and struggle, but in the end there's nothing they can do to keep the film from deteriorating into ridiculousness. Hey, it isn't a good movie, just a good example of the end of the world movie.

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4. 2012

Form of the Apocalypse: Everything. Well, okay, it's solar flares again, but this time they make other things go horribly wrong instead of just burning up the planet like in Knowing.

Last Words: Neutrinos fly everywhere, the Earth's magnetic field does a funky dance, and people build high-tech arks to survive, as all the laws of geophysics are flouted and ignored. Again, not a good movie but a good example. The science of it makes me want to attempt a Top 5 Worst Scientific Inaccuracies list, with all five from this film.

3. Children of Men

Form of the Apocalypse: An unknown disease or force prevents humans from reproducing.

Last Words: The Earth itself is okay, but the human race is screwed. With no children, there's nothing much left to hope for, and the last one to die gets to turn out the lights. An excellent film, which I highly recommend.

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2. Cloverfield

Form of the Apocalypse: A giant rampaging Cthulhu monster. Also motion sickness.

Last Words: A group of partygoers end up running for their lives as a creepy monster stomps through the streets of New York. Perhaps partly inspired by this flick, I once had a dream that Cthulhu monsters had taken over the world, and the only way humans were managing to survive was by remaining as quiet as possible whenever one was nearby, because they had super-hearing. You also couldn't look at them directly, and as I keep pointing out to these special-effects obsessed filmmakers, not being able to get a good look at the monsters makes them infinitely scarier.

1. The Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Form of the Apocalypse: Genetic engineering gone horribly awry.

Last Words: Again, the planet is all right, but humans are heading towards endangered species status. This reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise was almost shockingly well done, and hopefully future films will be as good -- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is due out in 2014, so Hollywood isn't expecting a real apocalypse, at least.

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The Very Last Top 5 List. Y'know, unless the world doesn't end after all.

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