The Day After (1983), starring Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams and Steve Guttenberg, directed by Nicholas Meyer. I admit this was a TV movie, not a blockbuster. A war is breaking out, but no one believes it will escalate into the modern world's worst nightmare - a nuclear war between superpowers. The most chilling moment of the film is when people in a small town in America are standing in line for the movies, discussing the possible war, when they feel the rumble of the ground as nearby nuclear missiles take off. I don't think I will ever forget that scene.
Our planet has been destroyed again and again in movies, whether by a zombie plague (I Am Legend), an asteroid (Armageddon) or apes (Planet of the Apes). One of the most visually startling theatrical disasters comes from the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow. Fist-sized hailstones pummel Tokyo, tornadoes rip through Los Angeles, tsunamis consume New York, and the Statue of Liberty becomes an ice queen. Everything freezes as a new ice age arrives. And this gives me the chills every time!
I absolutely refuse to watch apocalyptic films - well, almost. They unnecessarily scare-monger, and I just end up upset. On my 18th birthday (also the last day of my A-levels), my schoolmates and I trekked to the cinema to watch Deep Impact (1998) - obviously not my choice. It was terrible (a ridiculous premise, total overacting) and I left the cinema utterly depressed - on my birthday! So I avoid these films like the plague. There is one exception: Shaun of the Dead is so mocking and tongue-in-cheek and deliberately ridiculous that I can't help but love it.
I generally don't like apocalyptic films, simply because the genre is depressing, but the Resident Evil series wasn't too bad. Based on the Resident Evil game, the film is set in Raccoon City, where a genetically engineered T-virus created by the Umbrella Corporation causes anyone infected to become contagious zombies. This results in a zombie apocalypse. While I find most zombies scary, the ones in Resident Evil are actually all right! They just groan and chase you at walking pace, which is what I probably look like when I wake up in the morning!
Since my lovely colleague has taken my artistic pick, Melancholia, I guess I'll go for something completely different. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) is heart-warming but funny. The story is about the world coming to an end. Dodge Petersen (Steve Carell) meets British girl Penny (Keira Knightley), who just went through a harsh break-up. Dodge decides to help Penny find a plane they can pilot so that she can fly home to Britain to see her parents. But the pair end up bonding very well. Will Penny forgo her newfound friendship once she gets on the plane? Or will she stay with her socially awkward companion? Watch the movie to find out!
Melancholia (2011), starring two of my favourite actresses - Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg - and directed by Lars von Trier. The story revolves around two sisters while an approaching rogue planet is about to collide with Earth. The film offers a wonderfully realistic mood that is different from the usual over-the-top, chaotic, scare-you-to-death kind of scenes in most Hollywood blockbusters. I remember watching it and feeling the tension slowly building up in me as the planet approaches Earth gradually.
The Evangelion movie series is a famous animation featuring teenagers controlling a giant cyborg called Evangelion, who fights monstrous beings known as Angels. Unlike other end-of-the-world movies, where people unite to fight against aliens wanting to conquer Earth, the characters in Evangelion are divided. One group wants the world to end, while the other does everything possible to make sure this doesn't happen.
Independence Day (1996) has so much to like - action from plane battles, comedy from Jeff Goldblum's character, horror from the scary-looking aliens. Every time I watch it, I look forward to seeing the group effort and triumph that it took to finally defeat the aliens, the iconic shot of the White House being blown to bits by a laser from the sky, and the inspirational speech given by the US president (Bill Pullman).