EDITORIAL: Movies for Doomsday preparations

(Image: www.wevegotitcovered.com)

In writing for the Chicago edition of Examiner.com concurrently with my site here, I am frequently presented with interesting and quirky "editorial initiatives."  As a news website, most of the topics aren't exactly "cinema-centered."  I always take it upon myself to take their fun ideas and give them a movie slant.  Those of you who followed and got a kick out of my piece on the "Strange Collections" initiative with my list of the best movie "hoarders" will get a kick out of this new one.  In honor (or is it dishonor) of the one-year anniversary of the Japanese tsunami disaster and with the Mayan prophecy hanging over the calendar year of 2012, I've been presented with the editorial initiative entitled "Doomsday Preparations."  Yup, that's so not movie-centered, but therein lies the challenge.  In line with my hook of showing how all movies over life lessons, I began to brainstorm what movies can teach us a few things about getting ready for "doomsday," in whatever shape it come in.  Here are my findings and my thoughts on the preposterous topic of "Doomsday Preparations."  Enjoy!


Take Shelter-- This is a perfect start.  From just last year in 2011, Michael Shannon plays a troubled man who begin to build a fallout shelter in his backyard, much to the chagrin of his wife played by Jessica Chastain, after seeing visions of disaster.  Just watch and learn how crazy works.  Oh, and have a little spot set aside in the backyard.  (trailer)

Blast from the Past-- In a much kookier concept thanTake Shelter, Christopher Walken leads his 1962 family underground during the Cold War and his naive grown son (Brendan Fraser) emerges to rejoin the world in 1999.  All you need to survive is a baseball card collection, black-and-white films, Kinescope television shows, some retro dance moves, and a nerdy dad to teach you everything.  (trailer)

Left Behind-- If you want to get Biblical about the end of the world, look no further than the surprise Christian film success of the Left Behind series, begun in 2000 with TV stars Kirk Cameron and Brad Johnson, and the questions it evokes of who will survive, who won't, and why.  (trailer)

2012 and The Day After Tomorrow-- These two Roland Emmerich disaster flicks go hand in hand.  Both show the potential destruction of the world (one preposterously linked to the Mayan prophecy and one less-preposterously linked to global climate change).  Learn to pack light, don't live near major cities, and always have an out, as in a cheesy screenwriter than can keep coming up with more things to go wrong around you.  (trailer and trailer)

The Road-- The genre of post-apocalyptic movies give us some perspectives of what could be expected if society were to break down following a doomsday-level event.  Few post-apocalyptic movies are as dark as John Hillcoat's adaptation of this Cormac McCarthy novel starring Viggo Mortensen teaching his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) how to survive (also starring Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall).  (trailer)

The Book of Eli-- Denzel Washington partakes a similiar post-apocalyptic road in this return from the Hughes Brothers (From Hell).  I cannot reveal the big twists involving Denzel's abilities or what the "book" is, but let's just say there's a power to history and education that could bring a balance and a control to a world devoid of both.  (trailer)

The Postman-- Known as Kevin Costner's second big budget flop in as many years (combined with 1995's Waterworld), this multiple Razzie winner does demonstrate (even if heroically contrived) that a little bardish culture, in the form of recited Shakespeare, and the domestic comforting hope of written communication can bring sanity and pride to a glum setting.  (trailer)

Mad Max-- Our current plight with gas prices doesn't hold a candle this 1979 Australian glimpse into a dystopian struggle for precious gas.  Launching the career of a then-unknown Mel Gibson, this film spoke volumes to our obsession with fuel and cars and spawned two sequels.  (trailer)

Children of Men-- Director Alfonso Cuaron's brilliant 2006 science-fiction film takes place in 2027 where two decades of infertility within human females has broken civilized society and threatens extinction within a generation.  The themes of hope and faith, common to post-apocalyptic movies, are up for grabs and also interpretation in this film.  (trailer)

Reign of Fire-- Dude, what happens if dragons show up after doomsday?!  It could happen...  (trailer)

Zombieland-- To many end-of-the-world fans, the fictitious fantasy of "zombies," thanks to AMC's popular TV series The Walking Dead, has become the trendy doomsday scenario of choice with audiences.  While George Romero has been cult zombie hits for 40+ years, it's Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland, with its hilarious-yet-plausible "rules," that provides the clearest and best doomsday preparation tips of the genre.  (trailer)

28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead-- While we're talking about zombies and doomsday preparations, these two great choices deserve mention alongside Zombieland.  Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later reinvented the genre, while Zack Synder's Dawn of the Dead remake was a modern homage.  (trailer and trailer

I Am Legend-- Mixing a little bit of the disease/pandemic idea with a zombie/vampire amalgam, the Will Smith vehicle I Am Legend (a remake of Charleton Heston's The Omega Man from the same novel) sported an outstanding well-planned, guarded, and accessorized Manhattan Greenwich Village brownstone that would be the envy of every doomsday character on this list.  It could spawn a new TV show entitled American Post-Doomsday Pickers.  Nice pad, Fresh Prince!  (trailer)

Alive-- When everything else has been tried and when every survival attempt has been exhausted, the last resort is a very different item of food for your doomsday menu.  Those of you who've seen this Ethan Hawke 1993 film about plane crash survivors in the South American Andes Mountains know exactly what I'm talking about.  Hey, you've gotta do what you gotta do...  (extended trailer)