7 Underrated Post-Apocalyptic Movies To Prepare You for Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is on the precipice of dominating the box office and the national movie conversation (at least for the week before Tomorrowland comes out). George Miller's return to Mad Max's dystopian world is grabbing universal rave reviews, and anticipation is at a fever pitch.
But the post-apocalyptic genre has been around for decades, including Miller's original Mad Max trilogy. Can't get out to see Fury Road right away? Here are seven post-apocalyptic films, maybe some you never heard of, to get you primed and ready to take on a world of despair and destruction...
7. The Road
Cormac McCarthy's The Road serves as the source material for director John Hillcoat's bleak and admirable adaptation. The novel itself is a hypnotizing masterpiece, and while the film doesn't quite reach those heights, it does the best job possible. Viggo Mortensen stars as the "Man," with Kodi Smit-McPhee co-starring as his son. The two must navigate an ash-gray world in which society has collapsed various factions of dangerous clans. Bleak and unforgiving, The Road is a challenging film, but a worthy one.
This 2002 sci-fi action thriller was overlooked in the onslaught of Matrix wannabes, but it is actually quite an intriguing post-apocalyptic film. Society has all but fallen apart, and feelings are outlawed. Yes, feelings. Christian Bale plays John Preston, a man who fights to overthrow this new totalitarian system. The action is stylish and while the film itself may feel slight, there is plenty to enjoy at its core.
5. A Boy and His Dog
Here is a post-apocalyptic story that slipped through the cracks of 70's Hollywood, when bigger pictures and new visionaries stole the show. Don Johnson stars as the boy, who communicates telepathically with his dog as they scavenge across a wasteland and eventually stumble upon a society that intends to use the boy for reproduction purposes. A Boy And His Dog is a small, intimate film, and definitely worth seeking out.
4. The Last Man on Earth
No, this is not the new FOX show starring Will Forte, this is the horror/sci-fi film starring Vincent Price as, you guessed it, the last man on the planet, who survived a disease that turns society into the undead. If this sounds familiar, it is because the film is based on Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend, which was once again adapted with Will Smith in 2007. But if you want to see the same intriguing story without a nauseating overabundance of CGI, seek out this original version.
3. The Omega Man
Speaking of adaptations of I Am Legend, here is The Omega Man. The story is virtually the same as The Last Man on Earth: a virus turns society into the living dead, leaving one doctor behind to try and find a cure. This particular adaptation stars Charlton Heston in the title role, and despite the presence of Vincent Price in the aforementioned film, this adaptation is slightly stronger and more robust as a film. Both are better than the Will Smith adaptation.
2. Logan's Run
Much like Equilibrium, Logan's Run is not necessarily about the end of the world so much as it is about totalitarian rule that is in danger of destroying a free society. In this film, the future is an idyllic setting, until people turn 30 and are required to submit to state-enforced execution. Naturally, people try to "run" when they near their 30th birthday, only to be hunted down by the Sandmen. Logan's Run is a time capsule of 70's paranoia, and an excellent film for anyone wanting to take a look at a flawed future world.
1. The Road Warrior
Of course, The Road Warrior is not one of these unsung post-apocalyptic films I mentioned at the outset. But it is a must-see for anyone gearing up for Fury Road. The Road Warrior, also known as Mad Max 2, is the definitive post-apocalyptic film, a pure action story about Max and his crusade to save a peaceful society from the assault of crazed nomads. Mel Gibson defines his career here, and the chase sequence near the end of the film still stands above all other chase sequences in all other films. That is, maybe, until this weekend.