Nicholas Barber's the Watch List: Post-apocalyptic films
Sunday 24 November 2013
Film fans have two post-apocalyptic dystopias to choose from at the moment, courtesy of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in cinemas, and The World’s End on DVD.
And, in recent years, we’ve been offered countless other trips to a ruined Earth, from The Road to How We Live Now, plus a dozen zombie movies, competing to be the most doom-laden. We have to go back to the Cold War to find such a bounteous selection of radioactive wastelands. The most magical of that period’s post-apocalyptic films was When The Wind Blows (1986), a gorgeously animated cartoon of Raymond Briggs’s graphic novel. John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft provide the voices of Jim and Hilda, two naive, mild-mannered pensioners who bustle about just before and after a nuclear strike. Warm, sweet, and utterly shattering, it may be even more powerful than Briggs’s book – and that’s saying something.
The Bed-Sitting Room (1969) presents another, more whimsical view of Britain after a “nuclear misunderstanding”. Richard Lester’s film version of a plotless play by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus bulges with Milliganesque surrealism and the cast is stuffed with comedy greats, including Marty Feldman, Arthur Lowe, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The satire and pathos derive from the way the stiff-upper-lipped Brits soldier on as if nothing has happened. But the ashy slag heap they inhabit is genuinely disturbing.
Cheer yourself up with Zardoz (1974), John Boorman’s trippy and wonderfully awful splicing of The Prisoner and Planet of the Apes, featuring Sean Connery with a ponytail, a red mankini and thigh-high boots. It’s probably not what the studio had in mind from the director of Deliverance and the star of Goldfinger.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
The last decade has produced just four UK festival headline acts
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture