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Apocalypse when?: Doomsday dates on film

Got plans for Dec. 21? Cancel ‘em!

With the end of their calendar, the Mayans laid claim to Dec. 21 as the possible end of the world -- or our interpretataion of the calendar’s end. According to Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping of the Family Radio organization, Oct. 21 was the final, absolute, this-is-really-it, end-of-the-world doomsday.

Of course, many people don’t take predictions like this very seriously. Maybe it’s because they’ve grown up watching the end of the world predicted every other year on film. It’s not so long ago that Judgment Day was going to happen on Aug. 29, 1997. (As predicted by that prophet James Cameron in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”). That date was later revised to July 25, 2004, in “Terminator 3,” and finally to April 21, 2011, in “Terminator: Salvation.”

None of these Judgment Days has happened. Here are some other cinematic Judgment Days that didn’t make the translation to reality.

--Patrick Kevin Day, Jevon Phillips and Noelene Clark  (Warner Bros.)
‘Deep Impact’
The end is coming: Circa May 10, 1999

Who called it: A teenage amateur astronomer sees it first and alerts a professional, who dies before he can spread the word. One year later, an intrepid reporter twists the truth out of the U.S. government.

What’s going to get us: A comet 7 miles wide on a collision course with Earth will cause a mass extinction.

What can save us: The brave U.S. and Russian crew of spacecraft Messiah, who will destroy the comet with on-board nuclear weapons. And if that doesn’t work, missile-borne nuclear weapons. And if that doesn’t work, a kamikaze mission by the Messiah crew. Unless you live on the Atlantic coast, in which case you’re out of luck. (Myles Aronowitz / Paramount Pictures)
ET-Scene -- Photo shows a street breaking scene from the disaster movie, 2012 staring John Cusack.  (Columbia TriStar Marketing Group)
The ‘Terminator’ films
The end is coming: Aug. 29, 1997, or July 25, 2004, or April 21, 2011, depending on the movie

Who called it: Anyone from the future: Kyle Reese, played by Michael Biehn. Or the T-850, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or even Cameron the Terminator, played by Summer Glau.

What’s going to get us: A giant super-smart defense computer called Skynet and all the mean robots it creates.

What can save us: Explosions! Computers may be super-smart and robots may be super-tough, but there’s usually a way to blow them up. (Warner Bros.)
‘Omen III: The Final Conflict’
The end is coming: March 24, 1982

Who called it: Though astronomers were the ones to observe the alignment of stars in the night sky that created a bright “superstar,” it’s the Antichrist himself, Damian Thorn, played by Sam Neill, who realizes this date as the one that heralds the Second Coming of Jesus and the beginning of the end of the world.

What’s going to get us: Nothing scary. In this interpretation of the end of the world, it’s all peace and love. It’s the non-end-of-the-worlders we have to worry about.

What can save us: The ancient seven daggers of Megiddo, which are the only earthly objects that can harm the Antichrist. (Twentieth Century Fox)
NICOLAS CAGE stars in the movie KNOWING, a Summit Entertainment release.  (Vince Valitutti / Summit Entertainment)
‘The X-Files’
The end is coming: Dec. 22, 2012

Who called it: The cigarette-smoking man. Also, Fox Mulder discovers a super-secret file marked “End Game” and the date after sneaking into an intelligence station at the Mt. Weather military complex.

What’s going to get us: Extraterrestrial beings. The aliens, who have been visiting Earth for at least nine seasons, will colonize the world.

What can save us: Not even Fox Mulder and Dana Scully can save us. Fans hoped that the supernatural sleuths would have a crack at it in a rumored 2012 film, but after the second “X-Files” movie flopped, there’s not much hope for a third. Or for the human race. (Fox)
‘End of Days’
The end is coming: Last hour of New Year’s Eve 1999

Who called it: A group of Satanists who want Satan’s son to be reborn

What’s going to get us: Satan, and the catastrophe that he brings.

What can save us: Arnold Schwarzenegger (as a cop named Jericho) , of course, and having faith. With Satan possessing everyone around him, he could only depend on himself in his fight. A fallen statue of the angel Michael to impale himself on also helps out. (Zade Rosenthal / Universal Pictures)
‘Children of Men’
The end is coming: In around 2127, give or take a few years

Who called it: Nature. With all women infertile, everyone alive will just live out their lives until there’s no one left. (The story starts in 2027, so give them around 100 years.)

What’s going to get us: No one. We just become extinct.

What can save us: A faithless Theo Faron (Clive Owen) has to help Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) to safety. Kee is the first pregnant female to deliver a healthy child in a long while. (Double Negative / Universal Pictures)
‘The Seventh Sign’
The end is coming: 1988

Who called it: The Bible. Never too specific with a date for his return, it was pretty clear that when Jesus did come back, the judgment would happen

What’s going to get us: Jesus will choose, but it’s sin and not following his commandments that’s going to get us. Plus plagues, floods and biblical destruction.

What can save us: Jesus (as well) along with help from Abby Quinn (Demi Moore), a pregnant woman about to give birth, who will sacrifice herself to save her child. (TriStar Pictures)
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’
The end is coming: Circa May 20, 2003 (and roughly 20 other dates in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, if you include “Angel” doomsdays)

Who called it: Recurring dream visions -- experienced by Buffy and others, ominously stating, “From beneath you, it devours” -- warned about the inevitable opening of the Hellmouth portal between dimensions.

What’s going to get us: This time, it’s the First Evil, a being that can assume the form of anyone who has died and use psychological manipulation to control its minions, including devoted demons and deadly uber-vamps. Other Buffy-pocalypse bringers include the master of all vampires who will open the Hellmouth, a banished god who wants to split the seams between dimensions, and a good-witch-gone-bad who gets strung out on magic and tries to drain the Earth’s life energy through an effigy of a demon.

What can save us: Nobody does an apocalypse better than Buffy and her gang of demon-fighting “Scoobies.” However, to fight the First Evil at the Battle of the Hellmouth, Buffy and company need an army of “potentials” -- girls who were born to be slayers whose strength lies dormant until they are chosen -- as well as a witch-turned-goddess and a smart-talking vampire with a soul. (James Sorenson / Warner Bros.)
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