Apocalypse you say? Then armageddon outta here. Whether it's war, pestilence or one of the other Four Horsemen, the end of civilization as we know it has been a recurring theme since the beginning of science fiction cinema. This Friday sees the release of Knowing, a film in which a looming global cataclysm plays a major role -- so let's take a look back at seven films with different versions of how it will all end.

I Am Legend (2007)
Let's start with one that's still fresh in everyone's mind. In this film based on the Richard Matheson novel, Will Smith plays Robert Neville who, at the start of the film anyway, appears to be the last man on Earth thanks to his immunity to the virus that has stricken everyone else. The majority of the population has died from the disease, while the remainder have been mutated into animalistic rage-driven creatures who fear the daylight. Neville is a virologist and spends his days looking for a cure and his nights locked away in the safety of his Manhattan home.

It's interesting that this is one of the few such films where the end of civilization is not brought on by an act of aggression, but by a noble cause: a man-made virus intended to cure cancer that goes horribly wrong. The film is entertaining, but personally I find the CGI Darkseekers distractingly unconvincing. They leap around as if they have no weight and when they shriek their jaws distend like an anaconda swallowing a pig. Also, the film's original ending, which you can see on the DVD, made a lot more sense to me. Of the previous adaptations of the novel, The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price remains my favorite. Charlton Heston's The Omega Man has its moments but hasn't aged well and starts to run out of steam early on.
categories Cinematical