Okay, so I'm trying to get back into writing things on a somewhat regular basis, so it makes sense to revisit the Thursday Movie Picks Meme, something I used to participate in all the time. I can't make any promises on how frequently I'll be joining in, but I would like to do at least a few of them this year. The theme of this particular week is Post-Apocalyptic World. This one is a bit trickier because there is the catch that we can only use post-apocalyptic films, as opposed to movies that depict an apocalyptic event. For some reason, the end of the world has long been a source of interest for storytellers, and so I should be able to come up with a few options for post-apocalyptic films.
Silent Running (1971)
Okay, so it's somewhat debatable whether this truly counts as an apocalypse since some semblance of social order still appears to exist. However, the environment has pretty much been destroyed so it might as well be as far as the protagonist is concerned. Silent Running is hardly an optimistic view of the future. It's a world where the natural environment is gone, reduced to a handful of spaceships containing the last remaining specimens, run by people who don't really care. As far as the film is concerned, it might as well be the end of the world if nothing is going to be done to replenish the old forests.
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1995)
The original Mad Max was more of a dystopian film that tried to show a decaying society, but the sequels quickly went into the realm of the post-apocalyptic. I'm in the minority of people who would argue that Beyond Thunderdome is actually a much better film than The Road Warrior, but it is also a great example of the post-apocalyptic tone of the films. This is a world in which society has collapsed, and the world is reduced to people killing each other for fuel. We even see the vanishing memories of the old world in the form of a colony of children who only understand an extremely distorted account of what happened.
The Road (2008)
I know I used this one previously when discussing father-son relationships, but it was just too perfect to omit from this list. We might not ever find out precisely what caused the apocalypse, but it hardly matters. There are few movies that manage to convey the very essence of a post-apocalyptic world quite like this bleak drama of a father and son as they struggle to hold on to what is left of themselves even when all hope is lost. This might just be one of the most depressing visions of the apocalypse that has been shown on film, given that it offers next to nothing in the way of hope for the future beyond a few isolated occurrences, and instead seems to suggest that humanity is slowly dying out. When it comes to post-apocalyptic worlds, few can match this one.