5 of the Best (Natural) Disaster Movies for Armageddon Therapy30.07.2020, 00:34
Disaster movies are always entertaining since you can remain safe in the comfort of your home while all hell is breaking loose on screen. 'Armageddon Therapy'. Maybe, it’s a bit like watching an actual disaster on the news, only films have to work harder to draw you in. You also know they’re bound to show some scenes of eye-popping CGI-driven carnage too.
Ordinary, everyday characters may suddenly become heroes while minor characters also get some emotional or memorable scenes. This is either where they get to die horribly or where they too become heroes, or find ways to redeem themselves. Trying to predict what will happen to such characters, early on, can be good fun. Some may start acting badly and get their ‘comeuppance’ when the chaos comes, while the good ones sacrifice themselves - or it’s the other way round. Then you can wonder how you would have reacted if placed in the same situation.
Be it earthquakes, storms or meteors, there’s always interest in seeing how people will measure up, either losing their wits, or keeping calm. In many cases, there’s nothing like a good catastrophe to bring people and families together again.
There are many types of disaster movie of course, from dinosaurs, aliens, killer insects or animals, but here we’ll stick to the more possible: natural ‘act of god’-style disasters.
There’s no better place to start preparing mentally for the end of the world as we know it, than with this bunch of big-budget, attention-grabbing films. They each have moments that tap straight into our primal fear.
San Andreas (2015)
Perhaps because it’s still quite a recent, big-budget one, but it ticks off the 'earthquake' box in grand style, and is great entertainment all round.
All the main characters are likeable, which makes it exciting to watch their lucky escapes, and overall development.
Deep Impact (1998)
A meteor looks set to hit the planet, so this film, featuring Robert Duvall and a younger Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood, follows the tricky decisions involved in dealing with (minimising) the potential impact. Many memorable scenes present and explore the sort of solutions that might be available, in the event we may actually face such a disaster. Not everyone will be saved.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
From the ‘Independence Day’ team, actors Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhal hold this climate change-themed movie together, with its memorable, chilly second part where the characters are held up in the New York library. You wouldn’t think that global warming could actually decrease temperature, but the possibility of extreme temperature fluctuations are what this movie - memorably - explores. It features once again, the ever-prominent theme of how difficult it can be for those in charge to listen to those ‘in the know’, until disaster strikes, and everybody starts listening. Ring any bells?
Darker and more uncomfortable than all the previous films mentioned, (in that it’s not meant for family viewing really anyway), it now has clear relevance obviously, since the real pandemic has come to pass. Indeed, it predicts many of the events and issues which actually have unfolded.
Some will recall that it was actually added to Netflix just as COVID-19 was beginning to spread, meaning that many people watched this movie again, just as it was beginning to happen. It may even have helped those people to take things more seriously. Luckily, the real virus is not quite like the (still possible) one represented, but it’s very close for - any inch - of comfort.
Fortunately, it’s also just a very well-made film from the director of the Ocean’s Eleven movie series and masterfully covers this dark subject, also making it thrilling to watch and see who survives. It implicates the viewer perhaps more than any other modern natural disaster movie manages to.
A brand new movie with Gerard Butler, this one again explores the possibility of comet fragments hitting the Earth, with the only option for survivors to reach bunkers in Greenland, since extinction is otherwise likely.
You’ll have to see whether or not he can get himself and his family to safety.
That’s it for this round-up, with other notable mentions including Deepwater Horizon (2016), The Finest Hours (2016), The Impossible (2012), Dante’s Peak (1997) and 2012 (2009). You might throw many zombie or UFO movies in there too, such as Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (2005) with Tom Cruise.
Many of these movies can fall down via their endings, especially when the scenario has been a more implausible one. We’re left with a bunch of weary characters, and just feeling weary ourselves, but it is nice when family rifts are healed or characters redeemed.
Perhaps it’s the movies which cover actual disasters, such as The Impossible (about a real tsunami), which are able to hit home a little more, paying tribute to those involved, and serving as a warning for the future. But really, they are all warnings.
An additional movie to mention would be that of Dunkirk (2017) from director Christopher Nolan. This is no natural disaster, but a World War 2 movie. However, it’s masterfully set up as one, and you can only imagine what would happen if Christopher Nolan were to make a natural disaster movie. Dunkirk is a complete lesson in escalating tension that any director of a disaster movie must now study.
This only leaves one question: who will you choose to watch the end of the world alongside, or when it comes to these movies? Hang on the ones you love, and hang on tight!
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