So Dawn of the Planet of the Apes eh? What an absolute ape fuelled Bobby Dazzler of a film it is! If you haven't seen it yet I fear that you are even now beyond saving. Seriously!? What are you doing with your life!? Go and watch DotPotA (as it shall from now catchily be known) now! Don't just sit there, basking in the sun, breathing in all that fresh air. Sheesh! You're wasting your life away! I'd heard mutterings in dark corners of seedy, dank establishments that this film was a corker, and by gum, they were right, as it is truly brimming with, er, cork. Initially, I have to admit that I was a little concerned as the original version of The Planet of the Apes is one of my all time favourites with one of the most brain twistingly, chilling endings of all time. How could they possibly compete with that shit! But then I saw a clip from the movie that featured an ape riding bareback on a horse whilst holding two machine guns aloft (a prerequisite in any great movie) and I knew that everything was going to be just fine. Now I'm sure I'm not the only one who bloody loves apocalyptic, end of the world themed movies (except for Melancholia which was a load of pretentious old testicles). But what are the top ten best apocalyptic movies of all time I hear you roar. Well funny you should ask...
10. Edge of Tomorrow
I've been having an internal debate about whether or not to award Edge of Tomorrow, Dawn of the Dead or Take Shelter with tenth place on this auspicious list, but in the end I've plumped for Edge of Tomorrow. I saw this just over a week ago on the IMAX screen at the Empire, Leicester Square and it is an absolute corker! Imagine the love child of Groundhog Day, Starship Troopers, Groundhog Day the opening twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan and Groundhog Day (ahem). Well that's Edge of Tomorrow. I think it's Tom Cruise's best film for more than a decade so if it's still showing in your local cinema get your cheeky little arse down there pronto!
9. I Am Legend
This film was much maligned by some critics, but those critics are clearly half-man, half-buffoon as this is enormously enjoyable and thought provoking. Will Smith stars as the apparent sole survivor in New York after an absolute bitch of a plague has turned the rest of the world in to peculiar monsters.
8. 28 Days Later
Basically I Am Legend, but set in London, directed by Danny Boyle and with Cillian Murphy replacing Will Smith in the apparent sole survivor role. It's just a wee bit better than I Am Legend (GB! GB! GB!), and is worth seeing just for the shots of a deserted London if nothing else. Also, heed my advice. If a monster transforming plague ever does hit London, go private. Based on my recent experience of the NHS and an ingrowing toenail, they would struggle.
7. The Road
Bleak. Very, very bleak. In fact this film is almost as bleak as a weekend camping holiday in Rhyl. It's also an adaptation of an equally bleak book by Cormac McCarthy, The Road sees Viggo Mortensen and his son struggling to get by after the world has been decimated by an unspecified cataclysmic disaster. The only survivors appear to be violent bastards, thieves or cannibals. Basically imagine a world populated by packs of feral Luis Suarezes. The book is a haunting favourite of mine and I thought the film was a decent attempt at doing it justice.
6. Children of Men
This was Alfonso Cuarón's last film before Gravity and it's a cracker at that. Another post apocalyptic film based in Britain. All women across the Earth have become infertile for some unknown reason and the youngest person on Earth, aged 18, has just died. Against all the odds a woman has become pregnant and Clive Owen agrees to escort her to safety before her pregnancy is discovered. Original, dark and brilliant.
5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Ignore the inferior remake featuring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig and watch this Donald Sutherland led classic instead. A group of people in San Francisco discover that humans are secretly being replaced with alien replicas and naturally, do all they can to stop this eerie epidemic from taking over the world. The end is both wonderful and chilling in equal measures.
4. The Terminator/Terminator 2
I'm going to cheat here slightly and lump The Terminator and Terminator 2 together as I love them both. It would be akin to being asked to pick your favourite child when neither of them is ginger. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a cyborg, killing machine sent from the future in the role that launched him to superstardom (no disrespect meant to Hercules in New York). I sometimes get the urge to call up random people named Sarah Conner and speak in a monotone Austrian accent to them, but I won't as I don't fancy getting arrested.
3. Twelve Monkeys
If I lived in a world decimated by disease, I'm fairly confident that I would solve the issue by sending Bruce Willis back in time to sort it out, and this is exactly what happens here in Terry Gilliam's time travelling masterpiece. Brad Pitt also pops up as an unhinged mental patient. I have a soft spot for brain befuddling time travel movies and this is one of the best.
2. The Planet of the Apes (1968)
Tim Burton's Marky Mark led remake in 2001 was a let down, Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011 was a surprising success, but the original from 1968 is still the best. I saw this as a child and found the ending to be staggering even at a young age. It's an ape costum fuelled classic. "Get your stinkin' paws off me you damn, dirty ape!"
1. The Matrix
Okay, so the sequels were such a crushing let down that I was nearly tempted to do a dirty protest at the cinema to show my displeasure, but try to wipe those bitter memories from your brain and look at the first instalment as the original masterpiece that it clearly is. This knocked the stuffing out of me when I saw it in the cinema and remains one of only a handful of movies that I've seen twice at the big screen (the others are Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Fight Club and...er...Final Destination). This film had a profound affect on sci-fi movie making and I'd probably place it in a top ten all-time movie list (but that's a battle for another day).
So there it is. The definitive top ten apocalyptic/end of the world movies of all time. Let me know if you disagree with my list or can think of any notable absentees. Feel free to take the afternoon off now by the way.