It's just the law of apocalypses: You can't feature the destruction of all (or most) life on Earth, without throwing in a gloomy monologue explaining exactly how we blew it all to hell. It's the way things work around here. Typically, these monologues include scenes of devastation as well as a droning voice talking about viruses or bombs or people not washing their hands. Here are some of the greatest:
Terminator 2: Judgment Day:
Sarah Connor herself decides to explain the first movie, and the background of the second movie to us, while robots slaughter people and her scarred son scowls at us. (That glimpse of Future John packs more punch than five hours of Bale, incidentally.)
An all-time classic movie, this Joe Haldeman/Stuart Gordon joint starts out with a gruff voiceover packing everything we need to know about robotic single combat into one speech. With rubble.
This opening monologue from Steve Lisberger's followup to Tron almost belongs in the "what the hell are you talking about" category. What the Hell? Earthquakes, okay. And then they "merged civilizations together?" But then there's a wind that ate everything. And someone is traveling it. Wha?
This one wins extra points for having the synthesizery blues score, and the guy in the trenchcoat pretending that the synthesizer is actually his trumpet. Twenty years after the bombs fell, New York is still a shithole. Sorry.
This actually isn't the entire opening voiceover of this film, because it continues after about five minutes of people being shot by riot cops. Scotland gets turned into a scabby plague sore, and those sensible Brits wall it off. Which works out perfectly, of course.
Can I just say, I love it when a voiceover comes with a text crawl, in case you need to follow along at home? Most movies do one or the other, but only a truly great movie has a text crawl and a voiceover. The U.S. has gone to mega-shit with Megacities, and a new breed of law enforcer rises up.
The movie's entire backstory is compressed into a couple of minutes. Global disaster, underground city, box of instructions... box gets lost. Oh noes.
The Road Warrior:
Thanks to John Hazard for finding this online. Still the greatest post-apocalyptic movie opening of all time.