5 Disaster Movies That Aren’t a…Disaster
With this weekend’s release of Pompeii, I got thinking: are there any truly good disaster movies? At first, movies like Armageddon came to mind, making me assume: no, there aren’t. However, upon some deeper thinking, I believe there are a few disaster-themed movies that I’m content with championing.
As for rules, I decided to disqualify disaster movies that have to do with alien invasions or epidemics (such as reanimation). I consider those more of apocalypse movies than anything else. Therefore, all the movies eligible deal with natural disasters, including (but not limited to) tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, avalanches, and space objects (asteroids, meteors, and etc.).
I understand that some of these movies aren’t exactly critical darlings, but I also don’t consider them utter disasters (pun intended).
Although Dante’s Peak would definitely be considered a critical disaster (it is currently sitting at a not-so-pretty 27% on Rotten Tomatoes), I still think the movie is decent. Like a couple movies on this list, it is sort of a biased pick. I like Dante’s Peak because it depicts a volcanic disaster in my old stomping grounds, the Pacific Northwest. The 1997 release, I think, does a good job showing the chaos of an entire town that is scrambling to survive. The graphics aren’t the best, but once the disaster hits, it sure gets intense.
One of the most popular disaster-themed movies is 1998’s Armageddon. In one of the most infamous cases of movie doppelgängers, Deep Impact also released that year. However, I think the latter, which actually released a few months before Armageddon, is the superior movie. It is far more cinematic than the other space disaster movie on the list (more to come), but I still appreciate the overall plot. True story: one of the first times I watched this, the power literally went out the moment the meteor hit the ocean. Talk about creepy, right?
Jan de Bont’s Twister also holds a special place in my heart because it is one of the first movies I remember loving. Today I don’t think the word “love” describes the movie best, but I still think this tense twister movie is worth mentioning. For a movie made in 1996, I think visuals still stand up in today’s world…which is saying a lot. Then again, how many tornado movies are there?
Every single year, there are movies that I tend to appreciate six months or a year after its release. It happened with 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook and, more recently, last year’s Captain Phillips. Lars von Trier’s (Anti-Christ) Melancholia definitely fits this bill. This particular movie tells the story of two sisters leading up to Earth’s collision with a rogue planet. Since the impending disaster is secondary to the overall plot, it doesn’t feel quite as cinematic and “blockbuster-y” as the others, but I think that is a good thing.
There could be a lot of debate on this one. For those that are lucky enough to have seen Jeff Nichols’ (Mud) second film, Take Shelter, you know what I’m talking about. Much like Melancholia, Take Shelter is much more psychological than anything else. Although the movie starts out slower than most people would like, I strongly urge you to fight through the entire movie. By the end, you’ll be reeling as you try to decide whether you want Curtis (Michael Shannon), the main character, to be crazy or not.
Some honorable mentions, or in this case other movies that came to mind, were The Perfect Storm and Vertical Limit. Any others I missed? Let me know below.
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