“Some say the world will end in fire,” Robert Frost wrote, “Some say in ice.” And some say it will end in radioactive fallout. Or in an asteroid collision. Or in climate change brought on by global warming. Or in zombies resulting from a viral pandemic. In fact, the movies seem to have imagined countless end-of-the-world scenarios.
Oblivion, in which custodian Tom Cruise is left behind on Earth like a human WALL-E after an invasion by a race called the Scavengers has led to our planet’s evacuation, is only the latest film to imagine that the world will end with both a bang and a whimper.
But for all of Hollywood’s apocalyptic dreaming, there are really only a handful of ways to destroy the world; screenwriters have used most of them many times over. So cue up that R.E.M. song, read on to learn Hollywood’s formulas for how to end civilization, and you’ll feel fine.
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