Posted by: patenttranslator | October 15, 2013

I like to watch movies about the end of the world

There are number of ways for this world to come to a sudden and unexpected end, none of them very good.

The most common dramatic device to accomplish this end in movies is a huge meteorite or asteroid. I am not quite sure what an asteroid is, probably a tiny star, which would still be much bigger than a meteorite. This is probably also the most likely way that something like that would is going to happen, sooner or later. After all, isn’t this precisely how dinosaurs became extinct?

It would be only logical for humans to become extinct in this manner next. And there is absolutely nothing that we can do about an asteroid that is aiming straight for the earth, that’s for sure.

One problem with this kind of the end of the world in movies is that you can’t film what happens once life on earth has been destroyed. That would be really interesting to watch, but trying to use computer animation to recreate the scenes of utter devastation after the end of the world would be really challenging, so film directors usually just show darkness at the end of the movie.

I personally find this very frustrating because I would love to know what it would look like.

There are obviously also many other ways to accomplish the final destruction of everything in our world.

Nuclear weapons are also a very good way to obliterate life from the face of the earth. They can go off accidentally and since we have thousands (tens of thousands?) of them, sooner or later, something like that is likely going to happen. Just yesterday I read in Washington Post about a navy admiral, commander of U.S. nuclear forces, who was relieved of duty because he had a tiny problem with alcoholism.

The good thing about an asteroid, or a whole bunch of nuclear weapons going boom, boom, boom all of a sudden, is that this would probably result in a swift and thus relatively painless demise of all living things, at least as far as ends of the world go.

Other ways to accomplish eventual destruction of life on earth would probably take quite a long time and involve a lot of horrible suffering of humans and animals alike.

Something like global warming, assuming that it is real, which it probably is, would likely take decades before most of the planet would be submerged under the ocean, rendering the earth uninhabitable unless humans figure out how to grow gills. It should be possible to tell a story like this in a film using computer animation, but so far, film directors have not told us the story of what could is going to happen once the weather goes totally crazy on us.

An outbreak of an infectious disease, for instance from genetically engineered food which we all have been eating for years, resulting in millions of zombies roaming the planet and turning a few healthy survivors into pitiful but totally disgusting zombies, is also a good way to destroy our world. The best movie dealing with this subject so far, (Zombies are dear to my heart and I wrote several posts about them), was in my opinion I Am Legend with Will Smith.

That was a really cool movie, and unlike most movies about our inevitably apocalyptic future, it had a hopeful end.

Every other movie about the end of the world that I can think of is either a dark comedy, or … the ending is despair, as Shakespeare put it in The Tempest.

In many movies about the end of the world, the people who are facing their imminent demise are either soberly and often with regrets contemplating their lives up until the present point, or having a party, getting drunk, fornicating, and generally trying to have a good time in order to forget about what is going to happen.

But no matter how hard they try to forget what is going to happen to them, and quite soon, they usually can’t forget.

Unlike fictional movie characters, people living real lives in the real world almost never think about their own inevitable demise, let alone the end of the world.

We usually only think about things like that when we watch movies on exactly this subject, partly because it feels so good to know that the world is not going suddenly come to end for us, at least not in the immediate future.

As if anybody could know something like that.



  1. “In many movies about the end of the world, the people who are facing their imminent demise are either soberly and often with regrets contemplating their lives up until the present point, or having a party, getting drunk, fornicating, and generally trying to have a good time in order to forget about what is going to happen.”

    Steve, there is a much, much better way to forget about what is going to happen. It is provided by the Opium of People: Matthew 6:25~31.

    And believe me, I like that way very, very much. Even “après moi, le déluge” could be derived from those verses.

    How many years do we have to go? One or two decads? The world ends there for us and I’d wonder that all of us could let go without regrets like this elder lady:


  2. Melancholia is for me, the best movie about the end of the world. No scenes of mass world panic, no preposterous escapes from earthquakes, volcanoes etc (I’m looking at you 2012!). Just a sense of awe and being completely overwhelmed and powerless… I watched it on a plane back to Panama and, I don’t know whether it was the altitude, or the combination of the altitude plus wine, but it seemed like the most amazing film ever. The only one by that director that I would contemplate watching by the way. But I am also partial to The Day after Tomorrow when I am in the mood for hokum. 🙂


  3. Hokum is a good word.

    But end of the world is not hokum.

    At one point, it will be coming for us, just as it did for dinosaurs.

    (Hope I brightened up your day).


  4. Translators are so romantic… No, there will be no big, dramatic, volcanic end of the world. Instead, just the slow decay we are already witnessing, s-l-o-w-l-y giving up our rights or privileges, adjusting to lower standards, learning to live with diseases, allergies, mental issues and disabilities, getting indifferent, losing hope, faith, imagination, saying good bye every day to what used to be a part of our life, another piece of unspoiled nature, another river, another food group, another bit of trust in human decency, slowly forgetting how things used to look like, taste like, work like, slowly, day after day, until our world dissolves and crumbles, not with the bang but with a whimper.
    And I am going to eat some chocolate now 🙂


  5. @ AnnaS

    If you are wrong and the whole world explodes in a huge, fiery ball, we will all be better off.

    At least it will be over with quickly and with much less pain.


  6. I constantly think about the end of the world, the zombie apocalypse, and whether or not I would have saved the world at the end of “Fifth Element” if I were Milla Jovovic (I probably wouldn’t). Have you read “The World Without Us”? It’s a strangely optimistic book in the sense that Earth will be just fine without us. I don’t think we need an asteroid; as you said, we’re doing it to ourselves. One day Fukoshima 2.0 will happen, and that’ll be that. On a lighter note, the movie “It’s a Disaster” pokes fun at how people are handling the inevitable end.


  7. My personal favorite is The Road with Viggo Mortensen. It doesn’t picture any epic destruction of our planet, it’s just a picture of father and son trying to survive in a world scorched by an unknown disaster. The movie doesn’t tell you what happened or why, you just see the result.


  8. Remember Darwin!

    Survival is a matter of adapting and we have learned to do that fast, through intelligence and technology, as opposed to genetics, which is nature’s way – because nature has all the time in the world…

    Whatever the scenario, fast (meteor) or slow (climate, etc.), PART of humanity will find a way to adapt and survive (I don’t think I’d be among those…).

    This would be true even if we are able to achieve ‘auto-extinction’ (?!)..
    The purpose of life is to keep on living… that’s all!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: