After listening to a recent Podcast from Geekjuicemedia.com, going through a post-apocalyptic movie retrospective, I had to watch some of the films they mentioned on the show. Lots of the films I honestly never heard of. But from the descriptions, they gave on the show, I had to risk a look. The following are some short reviews about some of the more interesting ones. Movies I can honestly recommend everyone who is interested in the genre.
This is a movie that defined the look, that a lot of post-apocalyptic movies from the 80s had. You had the barren and dusty landscapes, deserts and camps constructed from spare parts. You can clearly see, how these kinds of movies ended up with the Mad Max look, we all know today. This movie kind of started it. The movie is done after a novel by Harlan Ellison, a well known Scifi Author/Writer. As the title says, it is about a young man and his dog. The man, played by a very young Don Johnson, is a character that is able to talk to and understand his dog. Both try to survive and the dog, from time to time, tries to teach the boy some history facts. How it all went down hill. How life was before the bombs fell. Both are looking for a better place. Kind of metaphorical. Even if the title sounds like a kids movie, it clearly is not. There are some very harsh moments, and the first five minutes of the movie make that very clear. It is very good in showing how mankind slowly but surely is losing its humanity.
It isn’t necessarily a great movie, but a little hidden gem, in the mass of all kinds of post-apocalyptic films. It’s certainly worth a look, if this is a genre you are interested in.
A 7.2/10 for me.
Now this one left an impression. It’s a TV production from the UK, produced in a partly documentary style. You have a few characters you are following throughout the movie though. Every now and then the movie ends a chapter, with scientific facts and speculations, on how things would eventually turn out, in case of a nuclear strike. The first 50 minutes develop the story and characters a bit. The rest of the film shows how our characters are trying to deal with the fallout, literally. Especially the parts after the bombs fell are hard to watch. The film really tries to show, how things would end up, after such an event. In the right age, living in the early 80s and having seen this movie… I would have been scared like hell. In case of a nuclar strike, literally the best alternative you have is, to look the bomb straight in the face and die in the first blow. This movie shows that surviving such an event is not a thing to strive for.
Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in the cold war and ‘what if’ scenarios. Very scary and depressing.
8.5/10 for this one.
In this film we are watching a whole cold war situation/scenario escalate. And we do that by literally following a news broadcast. A lot of small reports, by reporters from all over the globe, move the story of the movie. Every now and then we get a few short character moments from the news host and people involved behind the camera. There is a funny detail that, in the beginning of the movie, the world is moving into a financial crisis. A slight similarity to our situation today. Much like in the movie ‘Threads’ the situation between Russia and the USA starts to crumble with a military action in the middle east. The news show brilliantly covers how one thing leads to another to finally end up with a first military nuclear strike in the middle east.
The presentation of developments within the crisis, through a news tv show, certainly is unique. And while it might sound boring, it still manages it to build up quite some tension. A nice film that rounds up the whole nuclear escalation scare genre. Reminds a bit of the movie ‘Pontypool’. There it’s a zombie invasion and a radio station.
This one gets a 7.9/10 from me.
Considering the date of release, at the end of May in 1988, this one came almost a little too late. Keeping in mind that the year 1989 marked a special time in history. The wall came down. The USSR fell apart and seized to exist they way it previously existed. Basically the cold war ended. Nonetheless it’s another movie worth mentioning. It’s a more Hollywood’ish approach and less drastic in its imagery. And, of course, it’s all about a little love story. The story is quickly explained and simple. Unfortunately some psyched out officer, who sits in one of the nuclear rocket silos, tries to call his family one night. He dialed the wrong number though. Now one of our movie’s main characters picks up the phone and first thinks it’s a prank call. The guy on the other side basically tells him that there’s roughly an hour left. Missles are underway and everything is too late. Soon enough we find out it’s true. Now we follow our characters trying to get out of LA. All sorts of things happen in that night.
Even though the movie does have a heavy romantic side to it… it still tries to ask a valid question. What would you do if you knew the world would end in roughly an hour? I personally honestly couldn’t tell. Again it’s a dated movie, since the whole look got 80s all over it. But nonetheless it’s definitely worth to check out. It contains likable characters and a good feel of how the 80s looked and felt.
A solid 7.5/10 for this movie.
All these movies do look dated. A fact no one can deny. Nonetheless these movies manage to nail all the facts that would come into play, when a world wide nuclear strike would happen. Survivors are doomed. First minute victims are the lucky ones. I grew up not knowing much about nuclear bombs or cold war. When the wall came down in 1989 I started to understand what it meant. In the mid 90s, I was old enough, to comprehend what the cold war and the nuclear scare was. Today I’m old enough, to understand that there truly would have been nothing left to live for. The cuban missle crisis, in the 1960s, really brought us close to the brink. Luckily some wise men understood when to ‘talk’ to each other, instead of just standing there and look at things.
Check out these films. Expect no happy endings! But maybe it will make you think different about the world we live in today. Especially about how good things are today. Despite all the scary financial things these days.