Though this has been a section at the website for a a few years, the shortcode to IMDB recently changed, breaking all the plugins and links. So I am putting all the films previously appearing on their own pages into one post. Check back often, as I will update this post when new movies come out. This is a sample, so if you think something should be included, please contact me. Also see our article Art, Media, and Climate Change for more. Most of these films deal with climate catastrophes.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence: Steven Spielberg. A post-apocalyptic/global warming setting backgrounds this story of “a highly advanced robotic boy longs to become real so that he can regain the love of his human mother.”
Annihilation: Alex Garland. A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Benh Zeitlin. I really love this film and highly recommend it. According to The Guardian, “Not classic dystopian sci-fi at all, it still has a visionary gleam in its eye, with present-day ecological concerns pressing on and constantly threatening to break through the levees of the imagination.”
Blood Glacier (The Station): Marvin Kren. Originally titled Blutgletscher, this is a sci-fi horror film with climate themes about a glacier melting blood, which affects local wildlife. Check out Hollywood Reporter for an interview with the director.
Chloe and Theo: Ezna Sands. According to Entertainment News: Spotlight Pictures says it has acquired the worldwide sales rights to Arctica Films’ environmentally conscious drama Chloe and Theo, which stars Dakota Johnson and Theo Ikummaq as the title characters–a homeless girl and the Inuit man she befriends. Theo arrives in New York on a quest from his Arctic homeland to find the leaders of the industrialized world and convince them that climate change is real before his world melts away.
Downsizing: Alexander Payne. “Paramount dropped the trailer for Downsizing Wednesday, introducing us to the cast of characters living in a not-too distant future plagued by the same climate crisis that haunts us today. But in Payne’s world, a group of scientists in Norway have just perfected a procedure to shrink humans into tiny, six-inch versions of themselves, seriously reducing their environmental footprint.” –Vice
Geostorm: Dean Devlin and Danny Cannon. When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate start to attack Earth, it’s a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone.
Hell: Tim Fehlbalm. A 10C temperature rise has made daytime excursions dangerous, and society’s remnants wander around goggled and swaddled like vampires on holiday. The film’s central band of survivors trail distant birds in search of water. –The Guardian
Interstellar: Christopher Nolan. After viewing this movie and reading more about it, it doesn’t seem to intentionally address climate change. Sure, the world is obviously bleak and we assume that climate change is one of the reasons for it, but, according to director Christopher Nolan when asked if he thought about climate change, he said: “Not consciously. The honest answer is we live in the same world, my brother and I. We work on the script, we live in the same world as everyone else so we’re sort of affected by the same things, worried about the same things, but we try not to be didactic in the writing, we try not to give any particular message or sense of things.” The movie itself is first and foremost a science fiction classic. The environmental aspects are part of the background but not central. I did, however, write a review of the film here.
Into the Storm: Steven Quale. Storm trackers, thrill-seekers, and everyday townspeople document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down in the town of Silverton. See Nature World News for scientific commentary.
Kingsman: Secret Service: Matthew Vaughn. “As a species, we’re getting a little less comfortable with our devices and all this digital connectivity. We’re also becoming paranoid about social media. Another early entry, the James Bond spy send-up “Kingsman,” imagines evil genius Samuel L. Jackson trying to solve climate change by bumping off humankind. But he doesn’t dangle a doomsday device over the planet. He gives out a free smart phone chip that promises unlimited text, data and voice plans to the billions.” –The Artery
Leave No Trace: Debra Granik. A father and his thirteen year-old daughter are living in an ideal existence in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, when a small mistake derails their lives forever.
Lost City Raiders: Jean de Segonzac. The year is 2048, and global warming has flooded much of Earth’s land areas. A father and his two sons try to salvage treasures from sunken buildings when they are given an important assignment by the New Vatican.
Ojka: Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a fascinating animal named Okja.
Ready Player One: Steven Spielberg. “Set in a future where citizens escape the impact of an energy crisis and climate change using a highly advanced virtual reality system dubbed OASIS, Cline’s Ready Player One reads as a homage to Gibson cyberpunk wrapped in layers of 80s nostalgia with a little The Last Starfighter thrown in for good measure.” –Bit-Tech
Snowpiercer: Joon-ho Bong. Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges. Highly recommended! This is also being made into a TV series.
Take Shelter: Jeff Nichols. Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself. When I first saw this movie, I did not consider that it was about climate change, per se, but this Guardian article hinted at it. This movie is very suspenseful and well-acted, with Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigam, and more. There is a feeling of an upcoming apocalyptic event throughout.
Taklub (Trap), Brillante Mendoza: After the Supertyphoon Haiyan, which changed the city of Tacloban in the Philippines into its horrendous state, the lives of Bebeth, Larry and Erwin intertwine. The survivors are left to search for the dead, while keeping their sanity intact, and protecting what little faith there may be left. A series of events continue to test their endurance.
The Colony: Jeff Renfroe. Forced underground by the next ice age, a struggling outpost of survivors must fight to preserve humanity against a threat even more savage than nature. Canadian science fiction horror movie.
The Day After Tomorrow: Roland Emmerich. Jack Hall, paleoclimatologist, must make a daring trek across America to reach his son, trapped in the cross-hairs of a sudden international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age. This sci-fi thriller imagines rapid onset climate change (not based upon current theories of climate change).
The Humanity Bureau: Rob W. King. A dystopian thriller set in the year 2030 that sees the world in a permanent state of economic recession and facing serious environmental problems as a result of global warming.
The Unseen: “…the story of a war-torn world blighted by environmental issues where people struggle to survive without basic natural resources, the movie merges a science-fiction premise and real-world concerns.” –Vogue Magazine
Waterworld: Kevin Reynolds. In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw “smokers,” and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
Young Ones: Jake Paltrow. Set in the near future when water has become the most precious and dwindling resource on the planet, one that dictates everything from the macro of political policy to the detailed micro of interpersonal family and romantic relationships. The land has withered into something wretched. The dust has settled on a lonely, barren planet. The hardened survivors of the loss of Earth’s precious resources scrape and struggle.
The featured image of Snowpiercer is by source, fair use.