Film Features

What Happened to Disaster Movies? Oh, We're Living in One

Disaster movies used to be common, from Gwyneth Paltrow dying horrifically from an epidemic virus to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson witnessing the fall of Los Angeles. But the appeal of the disaster movie is dead now that we're living in a dystopian reality.

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Remember when we found natural disasters entertaining?

Movies about devastating earthquakes, endemic viruses, and mega-storms used to be thrilling in their hypothetical danger. And I don't mean zombie apocalypses or villainous aliens in superhero franchises; I mean good old '90s films about global blackouts, earthquakes, and twisters; 2015's San Andreas and The Wave; and even 2009's laughably bad 2012, in which global catastrophes spell the end of mankind.

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Warner Bros.

Three days into 2020 and we're already on the brink of World War 3.

If that's not proof we're living in the darkest timeline, I don't know what is. Luckily, considering nuclear warfare is the logical conclusion of this failed experiment called "human civilization," our species has already conceived plenty of potential guidelines for life in a deadly wasteland. These guides, better known as "post-apocalyptic movies," can help us prepare for the worst and, quite frankly, the most deserved end-times scenarios.

Snowpiercer

CJ Entertainment

Bong Joon-ho's pre-Parasite take on class warfare sees the struggle between rich and poor play out aboard a never-stopping train that carries the last surviving remnants of humanity. In Snowpiercer, the world entered a second Ice Age due to failed climate engineering to combat global warming, but thankfully, we'll probably get blown up before global warming gets the chance to kill us. Minus the cold, though, Snowpiercer teaches us to move to the front of the train and overthrow the bourgeoisie the first chance we get. Otherwise, they'll do really awful stuff to our arms.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road

Warner Bros.

Probably the most accurate post-apocalyptic roadmap for the future of the global West, Mad Max: Fury Road conceives a desert wasteland dominated by rabid, drugged out white men. Then it'll be up to one really beefed up dude, but actually mostly a bunch of badass warrior women, to reclaim the scraps of society from the same people who most likely ruined it in the first place.

The Day After Tomorrow

the day after tomorrow

20th Century Fox

The Day After Tomorrow, an overwhelmingly scientifically inaccurate disaster movie that depicts cataclysmic weather events due to global cooling, probably doesn't have many lessons for our end-times (considering most of us will be piles of ash or smudges on the wall). But it does present an alternative that might make us thankful for the way we're going to go when Donald Trump triggers nuclear holocaust. At least we won't be cold!

Waterworld

Waterworld

Universal Pictures

The vast number of post-apocalyptic fantasies based around weather-related phenomena suggests to me that even the most creative people couldn't actually imagine a US president being dumb enough to try to start a nuclear war. But here we are, and Donald Trump's supporters are just as eager as ever to send their grandchildren to their deaths. Anyways, Waterworld isn't going to be happen, but it would still be cool to drink filtered pee as a source of nutrients.

Children of Men

Children of Men

Universal Studios

Anti-immigrant police state? Check. Abortion bans and restrictions on reproductive rights? Also check. The post-apocalyptic future conceived in Alfonso Cuaron's children of men might actually be the future a lot of modern Trump supporters crave (or at least the ones who survive the nuclear blast). As such, this might be one of the better sources to study to ensure your future survival. So here's a juicy tip. If guns are going to be everywhere anyways, we might as well start training.

Zombieland

Zombieland

Sony Pictures Releasing

I'm not sure that the nuclear fallout will turn everyone into actual zombies, but zombie-killing techniques aren't necessarily the core takeaway from Zombieland. Rather, the key lesson is make rules for yourself and always follow them. That's what college-aged survivor Columbus does, proving that a solid set of rules can ensure that even a scrawny dude built like Jesse Eisenberg can traverse the apocalypse using his brains.

Rollerball

Rollerball

United Artists

Okay, Rollerball might not exactly be "post-apocalyptic," but if we're going to live in a post-apocalyptic society anyways, I'd prefer it to be one where I can play Rollerball. If I'm not nuked right off the bat, I'd prefer to die during a gladiatorial rollerskating battle. Is that too much to ask?