The world is going to end in 2012. I know it. You know it. The Mayans knew it, and George Lucas knew it all along. Rather than get all emo about it, though, why not embrace the situation? If you look harder at all the fictional apocalyptic worlds out there you will find that there are some bright sides to be found amidst all the radiated cockroach meat and oncoming zombie hordes, such as…

1. Mad Max/The Road Warrior

The world: In a dystopian future Australia, law & order has begun to break down, with crazed gangs roaming the highways, and the world's resources (including precious gasoline) all but extinguished. It has probably become quite hard to get a beer there, too.

The unexpected upside: The main character of these films drives around in a badass car, fires a sawed-off shotgun at S&M-wearing midgets, and more or less saves humanity while sporting an 80's mullet and listening to Tina Turner power-ballads. Can anyone honestly tell me that Mel Gibson wasn't enjoying himself?


2. Brave New World

The world: Production techniques are applied to human biology, leading to a society where population and social rank are determined by the state and true happiness is achieved only at enormous cost to individual freedom. Basically, just like Demolition Man if Sly and Wesley had decided to call in sick.

The unexpected upside: Two words: centrifugal bumblepuppy. No, I don't know what the hell it's supposed to do either, but with a name like that who wouldn't at least want to give it a go?


3. The Terminator

The world: Mankind hands over absolute power to a computer system known as Skynet, only for the overgrown Commodore 64 to nuke our asses and put an army of robots in charge, each with the aim of wiping out the last lingering dregs of humanity.

The unexpected upside: Robots; robots that look very much like humans. Robots that—as the second film proved—can be reprogrammed to perform complex tasks for us. Now, if a grown-up John Connor has the skills to turn Arnold's Schwarzenegger's cold-blooded killer into a surrogate father, then fine-tuning Kristina Loken's TX into a nymphomatic automaton with stripper-grade flexibility and an in-built love for making sandwiches should be a cinch.


4. 1984

The world: Winston Smith lives in a society in which Big Brother keeps a ruthless stranglehold on power through total control over the thoughts and actions of the populace. When Winston and his lover Julia defy the Thought Police and join an underground resistance movement, they soon discover the powerlessness of the individual in the face of absolute oppression (and more surveillance cameras than Paris Hilton's hotel room).

The unexpected upside: We are no longer at war with Eurasia, and I just heard that the chocolate ration is going up!


5. The Matrix

The world: A deadpan computer hacker discovers that the world around him is just a computer simulation, and that humans are really being used as battery-packs by giant machines. I won't try to explain what happens in the sequels for fear of my brain exploding.

The unexpected upside: So, it turns out the world we live in is really just a giant video game, and instead of playing Skyrim in my underpants this Valentine's Day I could have been jumping between buildings Tanooki-style or piloting massive fuck-off mechas in the "real" world. Red pill or blue pill? I dunno, just give me something!


6. War of the Worlds

The world: Martians come to Earth with tripods and giant frickin' laser beams to try and wipe humans out, regardless of whether they are scientologists or not.

The unexpected upside: Having an annoying runny nose now makes you a savior of the human race. Farting on an alien probably gets you an honorary scholarship at Harvard.


7. Planet of the Apes

The world: Apes have grown super-intelligent and risen up to overthrow humanity (we were busy, okay?). As a consequence, people have now regressed to living as mere primitives, and are used as scientific subjects in the apes' cruel experiments. So yeah, karma is kind of a bitch.

The unexpected upside: Apes have to do all the hard work while we get to skinny-dip, eat bananas and throw rancid feces at each other. I'm happy to call it a fair trade.


8. The Omega Man

The world: A deadly virus has decimated humanity, turning those left behind into Amish albino mutants wearing disco sunglasses (because, y'know, it makes a lot more sense than having vampires).

The unexpected upside: No traffic, plenty of parking, and the new guy in charge seems fairly lenient when it comes to gun control.


9. Reign of Fire

The world: A dragon egg is discovered in modern-day London, which then leads to a whole bunch of them destroying humanity and burning the Earth to a cinder. Why? Probably because it's a movie.

The unexpected upside: You get to live in a castle with Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, and a version of Matthew McConaughey who looks like he has been living on a 47-protein-shakes-per-day diet. Um, if you're into that.


10. Y: The Last Man

The world: A plague wipes out all but three male life forms on the earth, leaving Yorick Brown and his pet monkey on a planet totally controlled by women and their weird and scary menstrual cycles.

The unexpected upside: Only man left in a world. Women everywhere. Pet monkey. That kind of reads a lot less like a post-apocalyptic world and a lot more like a pubescent boy's wet dream.


11. Children of Men

The world: The year is 2027, and women can no longer give birth. The youngest inhabitant of the planet has just died at the age of 18, leaving humanity to face a barren and ultimately hopeless future, complete with Michael Caine telling oddly placed fart jokes.

The unexpected upside: Before humans disappear completely, though, you can bet that there is going to be some serious free lovin' going on! Plus: no more ugly kids on public transport, and shorter lines for waterslides.


12. The Road

The world: An unspecified disaster (hopefully more exciting than swine flu) has wiped almost all life from Earth. Those who remain are forced into a bleak existence of scavenging and drinking warm Coca-Cola to survive.

The unexpected upside: Ummmmmm… you might meet someone who looks like a hobo version of Aragorn? Okay, there is not one single piece of positivity in this story. None. Zip. Nada. A newborn baby gets eaten and Charlize Theron commits suicide. Are you happy?


13. Fahrenheit 451

The world: In a future society reading has been banned, with all books that are discovered to be burnt by specially enlisted firemen, most of whom fail to see any irony whatsoever in their job description.

The unexpected upside: See that big pile of ashes next to your feet? They used to be Twilight.

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