Well, if it really is the end of the world, we can’t tell you how humbled we are that you’ve chosen to spend the last few minutes of existence reading this post. So, we’ll try and keep it short and entertaining. It’s the least we can do. And we don’t think you’ll mind if there are spoilers, since there’s no time left to watch these. On the upside, if the world isn’t ending today, add these movies to your queue and think about just how fortunate we are that we didn’t have to face one of these grisly ends.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
It’s the only movie on this list where the world really does end. The alien Vogon race needs to clear way the construction of an intergalactic highway. Hey, the requisition was on file for years and nobody here seemed to care enough to file an appeal, so stop yer blubberin’ already. Oh, also: Mos Def.
Honorable mention: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
TECHNOLOGY IS THE DEVIL
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
After two prequels trying to stop Judgment Day, the inevitable happens and Skynet does finally launch the attack to wipe out mankind. Meanwhile, Clare Danes makes does a whole lot of screaming.
The Matrix (1999)
To be fair, we’re still not entirely sure when everything went belly-up, but the end result is a race of sentient machines who use all mankind as fuel for their existence, which means a lot of pasty people in pods. A small band of rebels led by Laurence Fishburne finds Keanu Reeves and frees him because, duh, he’s the messiah. Yup. Keanu Reeves is going to save mankind.
AWW CRAP! ZOMBIES!
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Zombies. ZOMBIES. DEAR GOD NOT THE ZOMBIES. George Romero’s treatise on the evils of the American consumer culture drops a small band of survivors in a mall and leaves them to their devices, not the least of which is launching a cult phenomena that is now a billion-dollar industry.
I Am Legend (2003)
It’s kind of like a zombie movie in that some kind of virus turns mankind into a new race of rage-filled beasts. On the upside, they’re nocturnal, so you’re mostly safe in the daylight. On the downside, they can think. On the other upside, Will Smith is immune to the disease and he’s a scientist working on a cure. On another downside, the monsters turned his dog into a monster. Damn. We loved that dog.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Despite the fact that Orson Welles first go-around on the topic was a radio show that actually incited mass hysteria, Steven Spielberg took another crack a few decades later, reminding everyone that Tom Cruise can still helm a blockbuster.
Mars Attacks (1996)
“We come in peace… “ Mars is inhabited by a race of ugly, skull-faced little monsters who have a warped sense of humor, and they’ve decided it’s time to invade Earth. The only thing standing in their way is a cast of A-list Hollywood stars (Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Benning and Natalie Portman) and the music of Slim Whitman. It’s a Tim Burton movie through and through. But in a good way.
MOTHER NATURE: THIS TIME, IT’S PERSONAL
Solar flares are like zombie hordes in sunlight form—wreaking havoc on everything in their path. In 2012, said flares heat up the Earth’s core, triggering an apocalyptic event that pretty much hoarks civilization as we know it. All we’re left with is Jon Cusack and Amanda Peete and a couple of really big boats.
You’re led to think aliens are the bad guys in this one… but then, maybe not. Nicholas Cage isn’t stoked to find out his son is hearing voices and being followed by some men-in-blackish weirdos. Turns out, his son is one of the chosen children who are going to be saved by an alien race when an insanely huge solar flare cooks the planet and everyone on it.
Honorable Mention: The Day After Tomorrow
THE APOCALYPSE ALREADY HAPPENED AND NOW EVERYTHING IS ALL DUSTY AND VIOLENT
The Book of Eli
Think Mad Max except better in just about every way (except for the kid with the boomerang blade thingie). Denzel Washington is a sword-wielding loner on a mission to deliver a very special book to a very special place where it can help restart civilization. One snag: Gary Oldman. He wants that book, and he’s willing to do anything to get it. Annoyingly preachy Christian undercurrent aside, it’s the best of this saturated genre.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Astronaut Charlton Heston crash lands on a planet where man is an enslaved creature. The slave masters? Rubbery-faced apes. But here’s the thing. It’s not just any planet Heston landed on. It’s the EARTH OF THE FUTURE! NOOOOOOOOooooo!
IT’S A GIANT SPACE ROCK! EVERYBODY PANIC!
Deep Impact (1998)
What starts as an apparent political scandal erupts into a full-blown Extinction Level Event, uncovered by everyone’s favorite budding investigative broadcast reporter, Tea Leoni. Morgan Freeman also proves Morgan Freeman would make an awesome President.
Honorable mention: Armageddon