How we’ve learned to love the end of the world

Remember when the world was supposed to end this past summer, but didn’t?

Of course the end of the world has been trumpeted many times, yet we’re still here (for better or worse), and it doesn’t look like the end’s coming any time soon, no matter how much we might feel it is.

So it’s no wonder the L.A. Times recently reported that Harold Camping, who’s famously been predicting the end of the world for years now, is going to retire at last.

Whether we prevent the end of the world like in ID4 or Armageddon, or whether the end truly comes, like in Planet of the Apes, apocalyptic stories still fascinate us. 

I enjoy them a great deal myself, going back to reading When Worlds Collide in junior high, which would make a great movie today as well. Imagine the world’s coming to an end, only so many people can go to another planet, and what kind of social wars this would cause between the rich and the poor, the have and have nots, etc.


So once again as well, The L.A. Times took a look back, not because the end is nigh, but because there’s more end of the world stories hitting theaters, including Melancholia, with Kirsten Dunst, and Take Shelter, starring future General Zod Michael Shannon.

The Times also listed Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life as one of these kinds of films because as writer Dennis Lim puts it, it’s a movie about “ultimate beginnings and ends.”


And of course, in celebrating the end of the world, the Times looked up a number of cinematic armageddon dates when the world was supposed to close up shop for good. 

The Terminator movies had several end of the world dates, including August 29, 1997 in Terminator 2, then it got moved to July 25, 2004, and April 21, 2011 for Terminator: Salvation. 2012? December 21. Omen III? March 24, 1982. X-Files? December 22, 2012. Children of Men? 2127 or so. The Seventh Sign? 1988. 

To quote the ominous tagline  for The Omen, you have been warned…