There’s truly no ending to the number of films featuring one extinction event or another, or even films looking at what humanity will do to itself when desperate to survive, but here we’ll look at the five films where humanity loses, and there are some heavy entries…
5. Don’t Look Up (2021)
The first entry of five films where humanity loses, and it’s the most recent. Not too well received upon release by the majority, Don’t Look Up is unfortunately a scarily accurate representation of how the general public and the media specifically ignore and spin major crises. Not a particularly subtle vehicle for a discussion on global warming, the main characters’ discovery of an Earth-destroying asteroid is at first treated as a joke, then potential money-making opportunity, and lastly a very real threat. By that time it’s too late, and we get to see the consequences of this, with Earth being destroyed and life being wiped out, in quite a spectacular fashion.
4. Life (2017)
In terms of humanity losing, this film is definitely the prologue in that particular story. A group of astronauts makes contact with confirmed alien life, and in their haste to understand it, they end up angering it and suffering the pain and wrath of a far superior being. Why does humanity lose? In the end, it’s revealed that the alien life form has made its way to Earth, and as it gets bigger from its murderous rampage against humans, it’s unlikely anything could have stopped it. It survived in the vacuum of space, high temperatures, and more, so I like to think Earth succumbed pretty quickly.
3. Melancholia (2013)
Lars Von Trier is a pretty divisive director, it’s fair to say. Seemingly introducing violence and nudity in a way to shock his audience into paying attention, Melancholia is one of his few films that’s a little softer, albeit with some serious content. The end of the world is hinted at the start of the film, and in a particularly horrifying and beautiful scene, we get to see the outcome of one planetary body hitting our own, and the inevitability of it being something no one can escape.
2. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
The oldest film of the five films where humanity loses, Stanley Kubrick’s film was released shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the film is a lesson in how the egos of men could bring us to the brink of extinction at the push of a button, and that at the whim of certain individuals we may end up closer to the world of Fallout than we might want to be. Oh, and also we could end up sex slaves with the job of repopulating the now irradiated wasteland we call home.
1. The Road (2009)
The last entry on this list of five films where humanity loses, if you’re ever in need of seeing the utter hopelessness and terror in the human race when presented with unbelievably dire situations, then watch The Road. A film more so about the after-effects of a world-ending event compared to the event itself, we get to see the worst in humanity, as cannibals chase the father and son main characters, and the lengths people will go to in a bid to save their loved ones, even if it means they themselves die. Humanity is lost throughout this film, rather than just in one particular moment, and unfortunately, mirrors all too well the nature of humans when faced with the need to be selfish.