Apocalypse? Not Now

If you can read this, then apparently the world didn’t end this weekend after all. Whew! I was nervous for a minute there. I’ve still got a bunch of stuff on my DVR to watch that I haven’t caught up with yet, and I really would have been pissed if I’d missed the new episode of ‘Game of Thrones’. Of course, the other possibility is that the Rapture actually did come, but none of us were good enough to get taken up to Heaven. In either case, I bet this guy must feel like a dumbass about now. To rub salt in his wound, let’s discuss some of our favorite pop culture depictions of the apocalypse.

Are you an ‘Armageddon‘ fan, or do you prefer ‘Deep Impact‘? Maybe you found the abject stupidity of ‘2012‘ or ‘Knowing‘ really entertaining?

My favorite depiction of the world’s end comes from Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, in any of its forms from radio play, to book series, to TV show, videogame, or movie. The Earth vanishes from existence not with a bang, but with a quite underwhelming poof, and it’s gone.

I also recommend following the ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ anime series straight through to whatever the hell it is that happened in that mind-warping ‘End of Evangelion’ movie.

What are your favorite depictions of the end of times?


  1. Considering Harold Camping has made millions (in donations) off his little “end of the world” stunt, I think it’s more likely his followers feel like dumbasses more than he does.

    Besides, everyone knows the world ends on December 21, 2012!

    • Josh Zyber

      I was under the impression that Camping had actually burned through his personal fortune in order to get the word out that Judgment Day was coming and everyone should get acquainted with Jesus real quick. But then, as a rational person, I hadn’t really paid that much attention to him anyway, so I could be wrong.

      • He actually raised over $100 million for the cause from his followers in order to put up billboards all across America and overseas. Also, the people that believed him actually set up their budgets so they’d be penniless on the 21st, so they went on awesome vacations and stuff. Spent their kids’ college funds. It’s actually pretty sad. The people were stupid to believe him, but still some of them are in a pretty sad state.

      • This was my impression as well. I am sure he also got donations, but pretty sure that those went straight to spreading the message.

        He was dead-wrong, but man, did he ever stand up for what he believed! Got to admire a man for that, even if he is wrong!

  2. Pedram

    OK, I’m going to stick to the original question and say that I had a lot of fun in the cinema watching stuff blow up and get destroyed in 2012, so that would probably have to be my favourite of the ones listed.

  3. Josh, I have to disagree with you about ‘Knowing’. I know that I may be one of the only critics who liked it, but I thought it was good. It wasn’t great – the forest on fire scene and the cheesy ending really bring it down a peg or two – but, to me it felt like a movie version of the book ‘The Forge of God’. I was a fan of ‘Knowing’ and I don’t care who knows it.

    I like ‘End of Days’ though. That’s a good pending apocalypse movie. And it deals with religious stuff, which none of the movies listed above really deal with. The ones above are simply global disasters that are going to wipe out the planet.

    • Josh Zyber

      Oh man, Knowing is so bad. This is the movie where Nicolas Cage had to Google “9 11 01” because he wasn’t sure of the significance of those numbers.

  4. EM

    The first movie I thought of was one that I saw only once, when I was 11: an early Roger Corman flick entitled The Day the World Ended, which begins with “THE END”! It’s the story of a mismatched handful of survivors of a 1950s nuclear holocaust, who battle dreadful mutants and each other. When I was growing up, nuclear armageddon seemed to lurk menacingly around every corner; movies like this were (sadly) my guide to postapocalytic life. I suspect I would not like this movie if I saw it again today; there’s an excellent chance that my fondness for the film stems solely from the antics of the horror host on whose show I saw it.

    Some end-of-the-world films I actually think are worthwhile on their own merits include:
    WarGames: Although the crisis is averted, the threat of nuclear annihilation appears quite vivid, thanks to the multiple graphic projections of various strike scenarios.
    Dr. Strangelove: This film does not show the aftermath of nuclear war but does discuss an apparently probable course of life for the survivors.
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): A science-fiction horror-thriller packed with action and intelligent personality, this is film is suffused with so much hope that its nihilistic ending packs quite the punch.
    Night of the Living Dead (1968): Although the crisis seems to be largely over at the end, sequels inform us this was a premature conclusion.