Seemingly straight out of a post-apocalyptic movie, 2020 has proved to be quite a hectic year. The almost palpable fear that accompanies the unknown is to blame for this. However, in the face of uncertainty, one must endeavor to look on the bright side. Some of the after-effects of the current pandemic exemplify this. Things like record-breaking pollution cuts and the clearing of Venice’s canals are good situations occurring amidst havoc. Nevertheless, if the world still feels like its ending, you can watch the following films to remind you that it’s not.

Going Down The Post-Apocalyptic Road

One of the best post-apocalyptic films inspired by a book is The Road, written by Cormac McCarthy. What highlights this movie from the others in its genre is the ability it possesses to warp a pre-existing ideology. The Road is about a man and his son, heading for the coast in a desperate attempt for survival. On their journey, they encounter the gruesome reality of a post-apocalyptic world.

A man and his son, walking down a road with a shopping cart that is filled with what they need to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
Credit: The Road; 2929 Productions, 2009.

The genius behind this film is that it forces us to re-evaluate what we consider good and evil. The premise of The Road is that in a post-apocalyptic world, survivors are either good or bad. The supposed “bad characters” propagate this theory. Throughout the film, we learn that the bad guys are extremists, willing to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. However, the world is not black and white and the road is riddled with grays. This is the harsh reality the father must confront, can he stay on the path of goodness he so desperately wants his son to follow?

The Day After Tomorrow

When climate change takes a turn for the worse, the impossible happens. The Day After Tomorrow is a post-apocalyptic film that explores the possibility of northern countries freezing over. Jack Hall is a climatologist that warns the government of an impending disaster due to global warming. Unfortunately, his efforts are in vain until it is too late and most of the world freezes over.

Jack and his friend, searching for his son in the frozen public library.
Credit: The Day After Tomorrow; Centropolis Entertainment, 2004.

However, in a heroic turn of events, Jack must cross the icy lands in an effort to save his son. Jack’s son and his friends find themselves trapped in a public library in New York. Temperatures are rapidly decreasing and they must use their wits to stay alive long enough to be rescued. This post-apocalyptic movie embodies the strength and perseverance of humanity. It is a testament to the will of survival we possess and that above all, hope is the last thing we should allow ourselves to lose.

Zombie Apocalypse

If you’re stuck in a post-apocalyptic film, Gerry Lane is who you want by your side. Saving humanity in one fell swoop, he bravely dives into the unknown in order to keep those he loves safe. Although slightly unrealistic, World War Z explores what would occur if a zombie outbreak took over the world. World War Z has an amazing soundtrack and an even better plot. The way the film is narrated feels very much like an investigative tale in which Lane searches for patient zero and how to save humanity.

Gerry Lane and his family, running away from something while stuck in a crowd.
Credit: World War Z; Skydance Productions, 2013.

Unlike other zombie movies, this post-apocalyptic film has developed a second weakness for zombies, other than shooting them in the head. It is a peculiar film because it provides a different perspective on the disease. Here, being sick is the only way to ensure your survival and as such, it is what the main character does in order to triumph.

A Legendary Post-Apocalyptic Movie

How would you cope believing you were the only person for miles on end? Set in a post-apocalyptic world, I Am Legend is about one man’s struggle against solitude and ravenous creatures of darkness. The film is about a man and his loyal dog as they survive in New York following a plague that transforms humans into monsters.

The last surviving man in post-apocalyptic New York and his dog on the street.
Credit: I Am Legend; Village Roadshow Pictures, 2007.

Luckily these horrific creatures are confined to darkness. Nevertheless, they are smart and ruthless and it is not long before the man finds himself in danger. Whilst dealing with these problems, the man meets a young girl and her sibling. Together they attempt to save humanity without getting themselves killed. This post-apocalyptic movie has remarkable character development. Proving that the end of the world isn’t enough to detach us from our humanity.

WALL-E

Not all post-apocalyptic movies follow the doom and gloom narrative. Undoubtedly one of the best Pixar movies, WALL-E is the story of a cute robot, that has been left behind on Earth after the planet was no longer habitable. On one of his expeditions, WALL-E (the robot) meets Eve, another robot sent by humans to search planet Earth for life. Upon acquiring a plant in a boot, both robots journey to outer-space to show the human’s residing in a space-ship that life on Earth is possible.

The robot WALL-E holding a rubik's cube.
Credit: WALL-E; Walt Disney Animations, 2008.

Unfortunately, like any good post-apocalyptic film, a nefarious force intervenes. This force comes in the form of an A.I. WALL-E is unique because even though it deals with topics like the consequences of global warming, the end of the world and the reckoning of technological advances, it is still a children’s film. The animation is beautiful and the various heartwarming things that occur throughout the movie will have your heart fluttering madly within your chest.

Why The World Isn’t Ending

Although the world may seem to be going crazy, it is nothing compared to the disasters we would be confronting in a post-apocalyptic world. However, if you enjoy witnessing the decadence that comes with the end of the world, these films are for you. Whether it is controlling A.I. or Mother Nature’s fury, humanity has been able to survive and persevere in the face of adversity. These films are not only narratives of doom, but they are also stories of the endurance of love, loyalty, and friendship.