* The headline became too unwieldy, but, just so you know, my original title was: "The Top Ten Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Flicks With Dogs, Hot Chicks, Robots, or Zombies." Please consider the following list accordingly!

In these difficult economic times, it's encouraging to see that hundreds of people found gainful employment destroying the world (again). Roland Emmerich's 2012 opens tomorrow and apparently employed every living soul who knows how to create havoc on the big screen. The trailer promises large-scale destruction of well-known landmarks, a prescient, disheveled, very concerned parent / ex-husband (John Cusack), and last-second narrow escapes. That doesn't sound too familiar, does it?

Meanwhile, The Road, which finally opens November 25, stars Viggo Mortensen in an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's bleak, devastating novel about a father and son trudging through a post-apocalyptic world with nary a glimmer of hope. Between those two extremes -- popcorn and pessimism -- lie my favorite kind of post-disaster flick: reasonable possibilities in a world forever changed -- but still with dogs, hot chicks, robots, or zombies.

1. Mad Max 2 (AKA The Road Warrior)

George Miller pushed Max (Mel Gibson) to the edge in the first film; in the sequel, Max well illustrated the changes wrought upon ordinary people by extraordinary circumstances, as the family man was transformed into the ultimate loner, an action hero for the new millenium. Thrills, chills, and missing heartbeats play out amidst the carnage of last-chance heroes and the bewildered affection of a feral child. At least Max had his dog.

categories Sci-Fi