It's the end of the world as we know it. It's the end of the world as we know it. It's the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine. Well, 2012 is right around the corner and it promises to end the world in fine style with all the spectacle and over-the-top ridiculousness we've come to expect from director Roland Emmerich. Floods, fire from the sky -- all manner of apocalyptic special effects seem to be coming out to play. And it makes us think of other movies that ended the world just as spectacularly -- if not with state-of-the-art CG.
12 Monkeys. Bruce Willis is sent back in time to save the world from a crazed Brad Pitt with a creepy wandering eye. How it all ends: Monkey Virus. Carried by monkeys, this experimental virus wipes out 99% of the population, leaving only 1% left to rebuild society. Unfortunately for them, the 1% immune appear to be people afflicted with schizophrenia, leaving a bizarre future run entirely by the insane.
The Road. Viggo Mortensen walks across a dying United States trying desperately to reach the coast in hopes of finding civilization. How it all ends: Nuclear Winter. While the cause is unknown, the after effects are clearly what ends the world. The event is described as seven loud concussions that threw ash or dust into the sky and choked out the sun, killing plants and thus animals, leaving the human race starving as the last land species on the planet. The wet, raining, grey atomosphere of the film sets it wildly apart from most other post-apocalyptic films.
The Cold Hour (La Hora Fria). This overlooked Spanish horror film (released in the UK as The Dark Hour) is about an 8-year-old boy living in a shelter with the last members of humanity. How it all ends: Scientific Cold War gone hot. When conventional weapons aren't enough, we turn to science to make monsters to fight for us. Filled with all manner of murderous zombie alien-like creatures, viruses, and cataclysmic bombs, we really did a number on ourselves in ways you have yet to imagine.
Planet of the Apes. Charlton Heston gets lost in space only to return to an Earth run by monkeys. How it all ends: Apes. After breeding apes to have intelligence, they get smart enough to realize that they are much stronger than us and can kick the crap out of us. So they do. Humans become a slave race to the new dominant species.
The Terminator. A resistance fighter from the future is sent back in time to prevent a robot assassin from killing the mother of a successful rebel. How it all ends: Robots. When the military builds an artificially intelligent computer designed to run its weaponry, the computer soon realizes that man is the world's greatest threat and sets out to annihilate it. It may or may not succeed, depending on which Terminator-niverse you believe in.
When Worlds Collide. On the brink of destruction, the world builds a number of space arks to repopulate a rapidly approaching moon. How it all ends: Giant gas planet named Bellus is on a collision course with Earth and will ... collide ... with us. Forget the laws of physics, somehow we're supposed to believe that a wandering rogue moon is habitable, despite having spent untold eons without direct sunlight. So we want to go there. As a result of earthquakes, tidal waves, and powerful storms, the Earth is being torn apart by Bellus' gravity even before the planet arrives.
Reign of Fire. Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey fight dragons in the future. How it all ends: Dragons. Long-slumbering creatures asleep beneath the Earth are released and burn down the world to eat the ash left behind.
Children of Men. Clive Owen must escort the world's last pregnant woman to the safety of a scientific research station. How it all ends: Infertility. Women stop getting pregnant, and the world falls apart as it stands on the brink of extinction. Social unrest leads to general anarchy, and the last few civilized places in the world are overrun with immigrants fleeing for safety.
The Stand. All the remaining good guys collect in one camp and do battle with all the evil people who collected in another. How it all ends: The Flu. A military super-flu nicknamed Captain Trips is released into the general population and kills almost everyone. General mischief and scrounging for resources kill the rest.
In the Mouth of Madness. Sam Neill is an insurance investigator trying to unveil fraud in the disappearance of a famous author who stumbles into an alternate reality populated by Lovecraftian creatures and demons. How it all ends: A book drives everyone insane, causing complete social collapse. Sutter Kane's final masterpiece was inspired by dark things from another realm and written to drive people to madness. They kill everyone who hasn't read the book or seen the movie.