As is often seems, disaster and end-of-the-world films are quite popular among filmmakers. After all, it gives them a chance to destruct, blow stuff up and all while getting really loud. Throw in a few choice actors, and they’ve suddenly got themselves an almost sure hit on their hands. Or so they think. For every film that scores with audiences, such as Independence Day and the recent hyped up film, San Andreas (staring The Rock Dwayne Johnson), there comes a howler that makes people wonder what the filmmakers spent their huge multi-million dollar budget on and why. While the true awfulness of the following list of films can be argued left, right and center, there is no denying that all of them contain at least one aspect that makes them truly cringe worthy. Here are 10 of the worst ‘end of world’ movies ever made.
Don’t get us wrong; 2012 was a decent popcorn flick that was filled with heart-pounding action sequences and a nifty Adam Lambert tune. In fact, the John Cusack led film probably shouldn’t be on this list if it wasn’t for one scene that totally ruined the whole movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, skip onto the next section, because a major spoiler is ahead. Sure, the movie practically telegraphed that John Cusack and Amanda Peet were going to get back together and become a family once again with their children; we get that a happy ending was needed. But did they really have to kill off Peet’s current boyfriend Gordon (Thomas McCarthy) in such a horrible way, then have Cusack and Peet kissing five minutes later? Gordon helped fly everyone to safety, and he doesn’t even get a “Damn, he’s gone.” That just put a bad taste over the whole movie, and earned 2012 the number 10 spot.
Okay, so it might be wrong to pick on movies for just one scene, cause just like 2012, Armageddon had a lot going for it. It had a pretty decent cast (Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thornton), cool special effects for the time, and a memorable Aerosmith song. It was also loud, which is a disaster movie requirement. But, and this is a big one, why oh why did that animal cracker scene have to exist? Like 2012, that one whole scene nearly destroys the movie, sending it onto a level that cannot be described. Then again, maybe we can describe it, since it did end up on this list.
One would think that if a volcano suddenly found itself erupting and causing havoc, that people would put aside class differences and just run for their lives. Not so in Pompeii, which aims to recreate the last days before the famous city would be forever immortalized in ash. Okay, so love stories can typically work for disaster films, with Titanic being the prime example. But unlike Pompeii, Titanic still resonates with audiences, while Pompeii simply fades from memory. If the filmmakers, who were behind the Resident Evil films, went a different route, the movie might have been saved.
7. The Happening
M. Night Shyamalan had already begun to lower his quality with each movie after Signs, and while not necessarily the worst he has ever done, The Happening does rank as one of the most awful end of the world movies ever. Oh, where to begin. First of all, for a movie called The Happening, nothing really happens. The premise of nature turning humans into suicidal robots is an intriguing idea, and one that could have really sparked some interest. But the execution simply didn’t follow through, and instead of terror, what audiences got was a finale that had the main characters running from the wind. Was this really the same person that made The Sixth Sense?
6. The Matrix Revolutions
Okay, hear us out on this one. Yes, this is technically not an end of the world movie, but when you think about it, those robots were set to annihilate Zion, so in a way, the end of the world for those characters was almost a given. The reason why the third chapter in one of the most mind-blowing trilogies in recent years made it to this list is because it simply couldn’t deliver on all the promises the first two movies had previously set up. Simply put, this was the first time the ideas were pushed to the back and the special effects were the main focus. Maybe we are being too harsh once again, but sometimes we as film audiences are given so much promise, that it truly hurts when those promises aren’t kept. But, on the plus side, we’ll always have the first two movies.
5. The Reaping
Biblical plagues signifying the end world can result in a truly terrifying movie; however, The Reaping just wasn’t the one that people were hoping for. The plot sounds cliché enough: a young scientist (Hilary Swank) who lost her faith early on devotes her entire career to debunking religious miracles, and finally finds something even she can’t explain. Those “miracles” are recreations of Biblical plagues that have suddenly popped up in small community. Even with Academy Award Winner Hilary Swank in the lead role, the writing and special effects pretty much helped make this one a dud. All the explanations are literally saved till the very end, and by the time we get to the surprise twist, we are too bored out of our minds to care.
4. The Day the Earth Stood Still
We will save the jokes about Keanu Reeves being perfect for the role of an emotionless being sent to judge the Earth, since there are probably enough of those out there. What we will focus on is why this movie made the list. Sure, trying to update a classic film isn’t always easy, and comparisons from die-hard fans are inevitable. But while the effects may be updated, what should remain is a sense of apocalyptic dread that is sorely missing, and any type of ideas on how humans are handling the Earth take a backseat to standard action movie clichés. It’s a wasted opportunity that truly hurts.
3. The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
Is it fair to put a documentary on this list? Well, when it turns a rather fascinating subject and bores its viewers to tears with it, then yeah, it is completely fair. The Man Who Saw Tomorrow centers on the predictions of Nostradamus, who once upon a time many people believed was quite accurate in almost everything he said would happen. Perhaps the film would have been better if Orson Welles, who narrated, actually believed in the subject; then we might have swallowed some of the tonal shifts that makes this film a dull and confusing affair, instead of the thought-provoking film it intended to be.
2. A Sound of Thunder
One would think that it would be hard to screw up a short story by Ray Bradbury, but that is exactly what A Sound of Thunder did. Playing on the please don’t touch anything while you time travel troupe, this movie not only has some of the worst special effects ever, it simply exists as an excuse to make the “monsters” worse each minute something happens on screen. While even we will admit those enhanced gorillas (or whatever they were) were actually kind of scary, why on Earth would the filmmakers drop the original story-line. That would have been far more interesting than the horrifying mess that we ultimately got.
1. Disaster Movie
From the same wonder boys that brought you such classics as Date Movie and Meet the Spartans, comes Disaster Movie; a spoof of disaster movies that cares more about naming celebrities than actually spoofing disaster films. This, like all other Jason Friedberg-Aaron Seltzer classics, simply takes other movie scenes trailers and recreates them into one long, semi-laugh free movie. What on Earth does Kung-Fu Panda, Enchanted or even Wanted shave to do with the end of the world? Absolutely nothing, which Friedberg and Seltzer probably know, yet ignore for the chance to say “Hannah Montana is really Miley Cyrus.” That’s some lazy stuff right there. But even we have to admit that Crista Flannigan’s Juno impression is pretty spot on.
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