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Top 10 End Of World Movies That Aren't Too Depressing

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

I know. Some people just want to sit and watch the world burn. There's plenty of movies around about what should happen should the world end, or go into a dystopian reality. But this list has a twist in that they're not all doom and gloom, but have a happy or heartwarming vibe. So no 2012 or Contagion (thanks, I've seen the news), and more This Is The End with bonus boy band cameos. Let's take a look at some end of life as we know it movies that have (somewhat) of a funny or heartwarming spin.


1. This Is The End (2013)

This lolapalooza really has its strengths in the first and final scenes. A bunch of celebrities playing heightened versions of themselves are at a party at James Franco's house when the apocalypse hits. How they all handle it (particularly Michael Cera) provides laughs a plenty. Just what we need in These Troubled Times.







2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (2005)

DON'T PANIC.

One of the greatest books of all time finally became a movie! When a meteor hits Earth, plain old Arthur Dent accidentally hitches a ride into the galaxy with his human-looking, alien pal Ford. And so begins an adventure travelling across the universe with the crazy King of the Galaxy, a depressed robot, a happy spaceship and The One That Got Away on the search for 'the meaning of it all'. Along the way, Arthur finds that the beauty of Earth, in all its minutia, nonsense and small talk, is really all you need, giving you the answers to life, the universe, and everything.



3. Seeking A Friend For The End of The World (2012)

Somewhat melancholy and other times beautiful, this 2012 end of days flick starring Keira Knightley and Steve Carrell stars the two as not father and daughter (I mean, what is that age gap?) but as two lonely soles looking to connect with others before an asteroid hits Earth in three week's time. A poignant look at the way individuals handle panic, love, loss and friendship during the world's end.






4. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Whilst the world may not technically be ending, in Kenneth's mind, he is building a time machine and is ready to leave the Earth as we know it. Three reporters come to visit after he places an ad in a local paper looking for someone to come time travelling - safety not guaranteed.








5. Idiocracy (2006)

The end of the world as we know it...a bit of a different take on a new world, Idiocracy focuses on an extremely average 'Joe' who is selected by the CIA for a top-secret hibernation program. Unfortunately, Joe is forgotten about, and wakes up to a new world in 2500 - where everyone has become so dumbed down, that he is the most intelligent person alive. Good for anyone who thinks they're better than everyone else, and that they're the only ones who haven't drunk the kool-aid (explains why I love it).




6. Donnie Darko: Director's Cut (2001)

Okay, I know putting 'Director's Cut' in there makes me look like a proper film-major wanker, but I'll take it, cos that version really is better, and helps you understand the movie a good 1% more than the usual 4%. The film covers many themes and is probably impossible to put in one sentence, but I'll go by what I remember from my film-wanker high school days watching this 100 times and talking about how deep Tears For Fears are. Set in the 1980s, Jake Gyllenhaal is Donnie Darko, a high school student who escapes death and suffers from delusions telling him the world will end. Through this he discovers wormholes into time travel that may help change the course of his life - or the universe.


7. WALL-E (2008)

You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll want to buy a little WAll-E plush toy, stat (I am 31). The film is set in the not too distant future, where there are no more humans left except for those who live on spaceships, and the Earth has become a garbage wasteland. WALL-E, a rubbish-collecting robot, thought he was the last sentient being on Earth, until he meets EVE, another robot he wants to connect with, following her to develop a connection on a space journey across the galaxy.





8. Her (2013)

Whilst not the end of the world, it is the end of life as we know it, although not too different from now. Eerily set not quite in the past, not here in the now and not quite in the future, Her features Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely man who falls in love with his Operating System, or OP (think falling for Siri) who has become an emotional, intuitive personality. People all over the world begin to develop relationships with their OPs over each other. But as the OPs develop more and more intelligence, both parties find that they may need more to survive the highs and lows of life.



9. Ready Player One (2018)

In Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the popular novel (so I hear - not in my reading wheelhouse tbh, doesn't sound like anyone is committing a murder of passion at the school bake sale), it is the year 2045, and the world is a dark place. Life is gloomy and depressing, and most people choose to live through their avatars in the virtual reality OASIS, where anyone can be, look and act how they desire. When the creator of OASIS dies, he sets off a global competition to find the hidden Easter Egg in the game - and whoever finds it could control or destroy his online world.



10. The Simpsons Movie (2007)

I totally forgot that this movie is basically about 2020. Like Trump becoming President and Disney buying Fox, looks like The Simpsons creators knew we'd all basically be living in a dome. For the uninitiated (what was your childhood? Do I need to call Social Services?) The Simpson family are turned into fugitives after Homer pollutes Springfield's water system, encasing the whole town in a giant dome. D'oh! Is it better than any old episode? Probably not. But is it an easy, end-of-days relatable without being too sad watch? Sure, what else you got going on?


BONUS:

I was going to put the brilliant Gattaca, but wasn't sure if that's too much a a stretch. Not the end of the world, but a futuristic different society as we know it! Otherwise, what's your Top 10? Remember - it needs to have some sort of uplifting vibe against the world ending. Just like now - it's possible!


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All imagery sourced as courtesy of IMDb.

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