Today is Earth Day. Another year, another 365 days of successful survival on this planet. If movies have taught us anything, it’s that it can all come to an end in the blink of an eye. Maybe global warming finally catches up with us. Maybe an oversized asteroid smacks into the western hemisphere. Maybe a global pandemic turns everyone into a raving beast. However the end comes, it can wipe out humanity on a global scale. Film history is filled with examples of last-minute saves, bleak moments when it looks like we’re all screwed… but the end never comes. After the jump you’ll five a collection of films in which the world is going to end, but then it doesn’t.
“I Am Legend”
A global pandemic wipes out 90% of the population. Of the remaining survivors, only a fraction are immune to the disease. The rest mutate into monstrous humanoid creatures, beings that can only venture out in the darkness. Good thing Will Smith is there to save the day. Sure, he engineered the virus in the first place and it’s not like he can raise the dead… but he can create a better life for the survivors.
Here’s an original idea: gradually, everyone in the world is struck blind. Everyone except Julianne Moore. Probably because she was in “The Big Lebowski.” The world sort of goes to crap with no one able to see anymore. And in an unusual twist, there’s no last-minute save here. Patient zero simply gets his sight back one day, giving the rest of humanity hope that the condition is not permanent. Touching, right?
“The Day After Tomorrow”
Like “I Am Legend,” humanity isn’t exactly saved in “The Day After Tomorrow.” Global warming hits disaster scenario status and much of the planet’s population is wiped out. American citizens begin breaking their way across the Mexican border, looking for the warmer weather conditions that are closer to the equator. You know what is saved though? Hope. Thanks to Dennis Quaid. That guy can fix everything; he can even find his presumed-dead son (Jake Gyllenhaal) in an iced-over New York City.
An asteroid the size of Texas is headed straight for the Earth and it’s going to hit, no question about it. Since the planet can’t exactly be shoved out of the way, the only other option is to use humanity’s awesome powers of destruction to blow the thing up. And seriously, why send astronauts, people trained to work in outer space, when you can send a team of deep-core oil drillers? Because those drillers are led by Bruce Willis. Yeah, I thought you’d see things my way.
“The Core” is remarkably similar to “Armageddon.” A team is tasked with drilling a really deep hole into a large chunk of rock floating in outer space and detonating a powerful nuclear weapon there. The difference here is that the chunk of rock in question is the planet Earth! What kind of hare-brained scientist decides that blowing up a nuclear weapon in the planet’s core is a good idea?! Not one. Three: Aaron Eckhart, Tchéky Karyo and Stanley Tucci. “There’s no way to save the planet!” they exclaim. Tucci’s reply: “…But what if we could?”