Honorable Mention: Asteroid heading for Earth
Michael Bay’s Armageddon receives this Honorable Mention because it’s stupid. I hate it and it deserves every ounce of hate I shed for it. Michael Bay, why? There is a cutaway in Family Guy where Stephen King is pitching yet another book. It’s obvious he’s stretching for ideas when he decides a couple is going to get attacked by a lamp monster. I see the pitch to Armageddon the same way. “Uhh. Alright Michael. I like the title of the movie, but what’s it about?” “Get this. There’s an ASTEROID the size of TEXAS headed for Earth. So NASA sends the world’s best DRILLERS into space to drill and plant a NUKE!” “That’s retarded.” “Bruce Willis is in it.” “Here’s $140 million dollars.”
If there really is an asteroid headed for Earth, the last thing NASA (which employs some of the smartest engineers and scientists in the f-ing world) would do is send a bunch of billy goat men into space to save human kind. Even President Obama, when announcing our plan to save all existence, wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face. And that guy has an infinite supply of charisma. When the President doesn’t believe what he’s saying, all bets are off. (I don’t understand that saying. What moron would be betting on the end of the world? It’s not like you’ll be getting your money anyway.)
The thought of the world almost imploding in on itself is more of a playful thought. Which is why I think Director Roland Emmerich might be an awesome guy to get a drink with. He has a career of disaster movies. 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow are two of them. Granted, not the best movies in the world…but a fun premise to toss around. I see Earth as a top spinning and spinning. This end of the world scenario means it’s just time for the spin to come to a destructive halt. A top’s edges will eventually wobble and touch the floor throwing the balance to hell. That’s basically what this scenario entails. So really there’s nothing you can do about it. In psychology, we call that “Learned Helplessness”. You’re screwed, so you accept your fate and sit through it waiting for the end.
As depressing as that sounds, I still play with the idea in my head. You’re doomed right? Forget your stressed out demise and go with a laugh. I’d probably go get changed into some shorts and head out to the pool. As soon as Earth’s crust opens up, I’m doing a cannonball. I want it to go on record somewhere that I made the largest center-of-the-earth-liquid-hot-magma cannonball splash.
Okay, not everyone died in The Day After Tomorrow. But that’s still the annihilation of existence as you know it. And by the way, I doubt a snack machine and a fireplace will keep you alive through sub-arctic temperatures. However, I support Emmerich’s decision because I would refuse to live in an apocalyptic world without Emmy Rossum.
It’s a recycled plot. Technologically advanced beings from the reaches of space come here to shoot guns and lasers. The funny part is I could have worded that plot summary more dramatically and set up a segue into Independence Day (another Emmerich movie). But I went with the comedic summary to set up a favorite movie of mine in this genre: Mars Attacks! Tim Burton, you successfully defined absurd with this cinematic creation. I highly suggest this movie to those of you whose humor knows no bounds. But for the rest of you, Independence Day is not a bad alternative. It’s patriotic. It’s action filled. It’s Will Smith. But…they are all essentially rewritten stories of a classic. In 1898, H.G. Wells released a novel entitled War of the Worlds. The story turned into a historic radio show frightening millions in 1938. And from there turned to the silver screen several times, the most recent by Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise (although Dakota Fanning was the real star of the movie).
I’m not really sure what I’d do if Earth were to be invaded. You would have to assume they’re at least as smart as you although most likely smarter. Meaning a retreat would be thwarted. Any resemblance of your old life will be forgotten in history. It sounds like a pretty miserable time. The entertaining apocalypse scenarios are those in which you can fight back…even though humans always win in these movies. We must be the luckiest living organisms in this entire galaxy. It’s ridiculous.
Why do aliens attack and threaten all human life? I’d personally like to meet some aliens. Why not? They could be friendly. Or…they could be murderous bastards who happen to die from a glass of water and a baseball bat. *Sigh* M. Night Shyamalan! You have had some tremendous career highlights! What happened to you?!
3. Machine Uprising
It could happen. We see glimpses of this potential future every day. Sure they might start out as brilliantly designed and expensive sex dolls, but someone is going to figure out how to weaponize them. Then they’ll be the sexiest enemies ever.
For now I’m going to stick to a Matrix or Terminator fashioned holocaust. If you haven’t seen these movies, the machines have arguably won. Sure, John Conner and Neo are still around fighting the good fight…but they’re fighting in a post-apocalyptic world. The human race has lost. They’re mostly fighting to survive, not to retake the world. And if you’re going to argue with me about the Terminator movies, as long as you believe that time is cyclical you’ll understand that even though Judgment Day hasn’t happened yet…it will. So in essence they are fighting in a post-apocalyptic world even though the apocalypse hasn’t happened yet. Trippy right?
I think the best hope we have for avoiding this future is our wonderful ability for human error. There is not one machine in the world that works on its own without maintenance or supervision. Therefore, I’m not very giddy about a machine takeover scenario. Just not one of my favorites.
2. Society as the Villain
Society as WHAT?!? Think about it. The Road? Children of Men? WALL-E? And to some extent The Day After Tomorrow? We’re bringing this upon ourselves. It’s our fault. What can you really do or fix when it’s our own intangible creation that brings us to our knees? The Road is a great movie depicting a dying father’s struggle to keep his son alive in an unworthy world. We don’t know what catastrophe pushed them to that point, but we thoroughly explored where that point is. Children of Men is a world in panic and complete despair. No one is giving birth anymore. The only solution feasible is something we did to ourselves. And WALL-E? Have you seen it? Pixar lays that one on thick.
To suck the drama out of this, here are two movies blaming society while pushing an agenda (which only makes me laugh at their efforts): The Day After Tomorrow and Birdemic: Shock and Terror. The Day After Tomorrow, behind all the flashy CG (and Emmy Rossum’s smile), they’re exaggerating what our actions have done to our planet. Seriously? Global warming will bring a new ice age? But wait! Birdemic is worse! I’m not even going to describe this movie. What you need to know is that they’re very blunt with their political agenda. And if you have even the slightest interest in surviving through this “movie” you’ll need a group of friends and alcohol. That’s how I did it. And what a great night that was. You’ve been warned!
Rampant zombies are by far the most day dreamed scenario. NO CONTEST! I have had numerous conversations about where we would meet up if such an occasion arose and what strategies we would have to defend that location. If you’ve never talked about this nor have any rough draft of a plan in effect, try watching a few zombie flicks. 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead (2004), Zombieland, and Shaun of the Dead are just a few. To branch into different medias, there’s Walking Dead on AMC, The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks once featured on New York Times Best Seller’s list, and the very popular Left 4 Dead game series on Xbox 360 and both Mac and Windows computers.
This is serious. In the ever evolving world of bacteria and viruses, anything is possible. There is also a lot of talk nowadays about super bugs. The idea is that with the growing health craze, we are too much into cleaning and killing germs. Almost like a hypochondriac society. But what we forget is that germs evolve. The more we kill the more they fight to grow. Is it that far of a reach to believe that something similar to a zombie virus could happen? (I say similar because realistically zombies are as fictional as vampires. Although Max Brooks can get you close to believing…)
There are two things men dream about in today’s world that most will never get to experience: The joy of being a Hero and the respect of being a Warrior. A zombie cataclysm would hand over such opportunities. I, and all men, would love a life of fighting an undeniable villain while coming home to a beautiful woman. This apocalypse would fill every male’s primal desires. And imagine coming home to an actual home. In a terrible and sadistic way, this would be a dream come true.