July 13, 2014

Apocalypse faceoff

The film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” opened this weekend, the latest in a long line of “Planet of the Apes” films that began in 1968.

I haven’t seen this one yet, but the original gave me the most vivid nightmares of my childhood, and I’ve seen every other sequel, prequel and remake, plus every episode of the short-lived TV series, so I feel pretty sure that I know what’s coming.

Smart and strong apes will continue their inexorable rise to the top of the food chain, which will eventually all but end the human race; essentially, the Monkey Apocalypse.

(Yes, I know, apes and monkeys are different, but Monkey Apocalypse sounds funnier than Ape Apocalypse.)

This follows a growing doomsday theme in American literature, film and television. When apes aren’t putting us down, there’s the Zombie Apocalypse to worry about. If that wasn’t enough, there’s the Robot Apocalypse, where our own computers turn on us, and, of course, the Alien Apocalypse, where a distant race of malevolent creatures overcomes our planet with their superior weapons and intellect.

Pop culture also includes numerous instances of the Vampire Apocalypse (thumbs up to the book “The Passage”), while humanity has also been devastated by the Giant Asteroid Apocalypse, the Nuclear Apocalypse, the Deadly Germ Apocalypse and the Slow-Moving Plant Apocalypse (thanks, “Day of the Triffids”).

Essentially, humankind is doomed; it’s merely a question of how. As a human, I’ve got a stake in this, and I’ve been wondering a lot about it lately. Which apocalypse is more likely? Which would be the most agonizing?

More interestingly, if the various purveyors of human destruction somehow collided — via an unexplained rift between alternate universes —and faced off in an earth-sized arena, who would come out on top?

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