I’m going to make the – I think – correct assumption that no wants the world to end. Personally, it would be a huge kick in the balls because I have plenty of plans for this little life of mine (plus I really want to see Looper again). But if the universe, or even some greater power (if that’s your sort of thing), decided to wipe this little world from existence then I would take – at the very least – a little comfort from my impending doom if I could look up at my cause of death, which would be hurtling towards me, and think ‘Oh well, at least it looks pretty’.
Just me? Ok, then.
So, with Hollywood being the home of the grand and the gorgeous, I thought I’d compile this short list of my Top 5 Beautiful apocalypses that, to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded being a part of.
**Obviously guys, this contains spoilers**
5. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Out of the gate, this is a little exception to the rule – how dare I, I know – as the world isn’t completely destroyed (only a measly five billion people died or something like that, I may be a little out, but what’s a million here or there when you’re talking about an apocalypse) but the reason it’s on the list is that it actually shocked me when I watched it. I don’t know why – it’s in the title of the movie for Christ’s sake – but actually witnessing Judgement Day, as spoke about in the first two installments, made me emotional and, in a way, saved Terminator 3 from being a horrible smudge on the franchise to being the film that had the balls to follow through.
And here’s a statement no one thought they’d be reading today, but Jonathan Mostow directed it beautifully. A fantastic blend of music and imagery, as the nuclear weapons rise in front of the idyllic American Blue sky and then crash back to earth, raining destruction onto the unknowing public then, as he pulls back to see the onslaught from the stratosphere we see the true impact of Judgement Day. And it’s all just very attractively captured.
Nic Cage setting aside his beliefs and his complicated relationship with his father as he embraces him, and the rest of his family, just as the world ends – awwwww. That’s enough to get those tear ducts a little moist, yes? Well I don’t give a monkey’s about that. What I’m interested in is the crazy solar flare that burns the earth into something that can only be described as my attempt to cook a meatball on a barbeque.
Seeing a tidal wave of fire boil the sea and decimate any structure that stands before it should make you feel sad, but what Alex Proyas created just looked and sounded amazing. All that was missing was a giant Jesus surfing on the wave of fire screaming ‘You don’t believe in me Nic Cage!? They pinned me to a goddamn cross. This is payback fucker!’
Now THAT would’ve been a great end to a movie.
3. The Rapture
Talking about Jesus, how about death by Christian beliefs? In The Rapture the world ends with, erm… The Rapture, and like you’d think, it’s just as bat-shit insane as it was described in the once worldwide bestseller. In all its revelation glory, we see death riding his pale green horse and we see Will Patton’s expression as he see’s death riding his pale green horse (I’ll let you make up your mind which one is more impressive) but jokes aside, it’s actually quite interesting to see this depicted on screen.
I’m not religious in any way but the idea of religion does fascinate me, so seeing Mimi Rogers face her judgment and question God’s motivations is quite a unique way to end a movie.
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and some kid no one cares about sit under a weird stick tepee… That really should be the first line of a joke but Lars Von Trier being Lars Von Trier, in all his genius (yes, I said genius), layers the scene with so much emotional weight that the end of the world is only way to feel release. The director is anything if not raw and although it may not have the same impact out of context, as a lot of the power comes from having to sit through the previous two and a bit hours of captivating pain and confusion, Von Trier shoots it’s so poignantly and intimately that when we see the mysterious planet about to collide with earth, taking up the entire skyline, you feel a great sense of… well, Melancholia… Ah, now I get it!!
1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Of course, Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy classic takes the top spot. A masterpiece from start to finish, after we get the slapstick hilarity of Slim Pickens riding the ‘Hi, there!’ bomb to his death (and the start of nuclear war) Kubrick follows it up with this montage of nuclear explosions, one after the other, endless and unforgiving, all with Vera Lynn’s – in my eyes ironically used – We’ll Meet Again playing over it.
It’s just plain old fashioned perfection, and testament that you don’t need all the modern special effects and shiny colours to leave a mark. And in all honesty, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Kubrick.
So what about you? Any personal favourites?