Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: 'World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies'


Under the shadow of the current environmental crisis, it can be tough to view apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic scenarios lightheartedly, but man, you just have to in order to keep your sanity. It’s why a movie like Dr. Strangelove was so cathartic for folks during the Cuban Missile Crisis era and why a movie like Edgar Wright’s End of the World is such a balm in our current precarious age. Most of the movies in David J. Moore’s new movie guide World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies are not of the comedic variety, but he maintains a light enough approach throughout to stave off any serious anxiety while perusing the impressive 800 films he covers.

Moore invents his own ratings system to assess each movie: “The Bomb” (it’s great), “Safe Zone” (it’s good), “Gold for Some, Useless for Others” (which can really describe every movie ever made), “Go at Your Own Risk”, and “Toxic” (it sucks). Books of reviews are always tough to review because it’s a natural inclination to dismiss them if the author does not agree with your own opinions, and I often found myself at odds with Moore. You may find yourself at odds with him too since he’s often very critical of critically lauded movies (he has little time for Dr. Strangelove, Children of Men, and The Hunger Games, for example) and defensive of critically reviled ones (the 1998 version of Godzilla, Zardoz, and Battlefield Earth, for example). In the writer’s defense, he usually does a good job of explaining why he is for or against a movie, so I can at least understand his opinions even if I don’t agree with them. He does seem overly into watching stuff blow up, though.

As always, the main point of a book like this is to turn the curious onto movies he or she has never seen before, and I have not seen a huge chunk of them. Nevertheless, Moore does miss some obvious candidates (Fail Safe, Return of the Living Dead, and El Topo are a few of the more glaring omissions), while his extensive interviews with the filmmakers behind such obscurities as The Aftermath, Bleak Future, I Am Virgin will likely only be of interest to the hardest of hardcore apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic movie fans. The design of his book—hard cover, loaded with full-color photos—will appeal to everyone. It’s a handsome presentation for a book on films that tend toward the grainy, bleak, and barren.

Get World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies on Amazon.com here:


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