Chris Gore is in Austin, Texas for the SXSW Film Festival, so there's no DVDuesday today, but if there were one, it would probably feature a bunch of new movie releases about the Apocalypse. So, without further ado, here's a glance at some of the greatest movies about the end of life as we know it.
Independence Day - Although films like The Dark Knight have since eclipsed its box office draw, there has yet to be a movie in the past ten years that has overshadowed the excitement created by the first trailer for Independence Day. It was the first time that we all realized that special effects had no limit. While current popcorn flicks like Cloverfield fail to impress jaded audiences, this one left them dazzled and still does, if you look back at it. Plus, it cemented Will Smith's role as a Hollywood leading man. If it weren't for ID4, he wouldn't have gone on to such triumphs as
Wild, Wild West, I Am Legend, Hancock, the first Men in Black.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (Original) - It's one of the few movies featuring an advanced race of extraterrestrials in which Earth doesn't get its ass kicked for two thirds of the film. The plot's basically the same as the remake's if you've seen it, only it relied more on suspense than special effects. An alien comes to earth representing a galactic federation who wants us to change our warring ways or face destruction. Of course, humanity, being the brutal species that it is, can't and nearly gets destroyed until one human shows the alien that we have the potential to evolve beyond the petty simians we are. It might sound like a cliche premise to you, but this was made in the 50s, so calling it trite is like calling Shakespeare unoriginal after enjoying all of the crappy books, shows and movies you've enjoyed based on his work. It's not fast paced and the dialogues a little cheesy, but it's still a classic and should be respected as such. Klaatu barada nikto.
Falling Down - Michael Douglas gives a riveting performance as William Foster, a man who has gotten fed up with society; the lying politicians, the crime, the crappy service at fast food joints, the stuff that makes us all want to pick up an Uzi and starting blasting a-holes. It's really about the end of one angry man's world, but since Douglas plays a relatable, though insane, everyman, it's like the end of everyone's world. How's that for a twist on a theme?
Deep Impact - It was a decent precursor to Armageddon as Dante's Inferno was to Volcano. However, I do believe that this movie, and Morgan Freeman's powerful turn as the black President who leads America through the worst crisis imaginable, helped get Obama elected. Whether you think that's a good thing or not is beside the point. It's still a pretty damn impressive feat for a movie. Not since 1953's Tropic Zone, starring now deceased President, Ronald Reagan has a film had this much real world political impact.