Showing the continuing popularity of the genre, 2014 saw a number of new post-apocalyptic films being released (and 2015 looks set to have a few more, including the eagerly awaited new Mad Max film, Fury Road). Here’s a few of the most popular films of last year that contain post-apocalyptic or dystopian themes (yet to be added to the film archive on this site), in case you missed them:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
A blockbuster of action and special effects, picking up where the prequel tale of Rise of the Planet of the Apes left off, Dawn sees the world destroyed by a virus and only handfuls of humans struggling to survive. Again set in San Francisco, the humans struggle to live alongside the intelligent apes, who have built their own, new society. Generating human emotions in animals and a political plot, it’s got character and action. Although, perhaps, all a little predictable.
The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1
Impossible to miss, the anticipated 3rd film in the series brought back familiar characters and the familiar dystopian setting of District 13. Not necessarily post-apocalyptic, but with all the usual tenets of survival and discord you’d expect. This film was big, and popular, but is really only half there, setting the scene for a grand finale next year. A feature-length set-up.
The Maze Runner
A survival game in the tradition of a group waking up not knowing where they are, except that it’s a hostile environment. A teen adventure, with gripping action and sinister enemies, this sci-fi romp sets out to entertain with no pretensions. The first of a 3 part saga.
Impressive performances from a primarily unknown cast make this tale of survival in a waterless land stand out. Something subtle and a little different to the above blockbuster fare, although sadly never quite reaching the potential of its story.
My personal pick of this list, The Rover is a brooding, dark tale in a grim and unforgiving land. It’s brutal and affecting at the same time, as a lone wanderer does whatever it takes to hunt the men who stole his car. Whether considered dystopian or post-apocalytpic, this film captures exactly the lonely lawlessness we come to expect from the genre, with fine performances from the leads.