It’s a wild world out there. There are tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Not to mention Al Gore and his so-called global warming. There are a lot of ways Mother Nature can have the last laugh and here are my top picks.
The Poseidon Adventure: A movie so good they made it thrice. This one is a tsunami film, and it’s above all others in that genre (atleast in my book). The original is the best purely because it features Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine (plus it’s got that 1970’s swag). Essentially a retiring cruise liner is out for one last voyage when the mother of all waves hits the aging ship and flips it 180 degrees. The passengers then struggle to overcome their situation to make their way to the bottom (or top) of the ship in their last hopes of survival. This shows the ultimate struggle of man versus nature, having to overcome obstacle after obstacle.
Twister: This one is a classic. Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt are storm chasers trying to design a device that can be released into a tornado to collect data. Oh, and if you want to feel old, this was the first film to be release on DVD. This film characterizes the powerful and unpredictable nature of a tornado. This film is equal parts romance and science as the duo and their team struggle to outperform a rival storm chaser. All in all, it’s not the most thrilling but it’s a well put together film.
The Day After Tomorrow: This is a fictional dramatization of the effects of global warming. The basic chain of events involves a climate shift that rapidly cools certain ocean flows and triggers the rapid melting of the polar ice caps. This leads to a dramatic storm which thrusts most of the land above the equator into an ice age. In doing so, Jake Gyllenhaal is trapped in a library in New York and his storm researcher father (played by Dennis Quaid) has to rescue him. Although a bit far-fetched and sometimes feeling forced, this one is an enjoyable watch.
Waterworld: Also known as the biggest box office flop of all time. This film sets Kevin Costner in a dystopian future where the sea levels have risen so much that all of earth is covered in water. Released in 1995 this was the most expensive film ever produced at the time, and recouped only about half of its $175 million budget at the box office. Also of note, is that this film introduced the issue of global warming well before it was on the national stage. This is an epic tale of a lone mariner setting out to save the life of a child and discover the last vestiges of dry land. It’s a well-made film even if the characters are some what one-dimensional.
On Deadly Ground: It’s probably more accurate to call this Steven Seagal film an environmental action flick rather than a natural disaster movie. But I’m including it because this is my list and I like cheap action movies. This film focuses on the cost-saving measures employed by a multinational corporation which is installing oil rigs in the Alaskan wilderness. The corporation is found to have cut corners putting lives and the Alaskan environment at stake. Seagal plays the part of a genius oil firefighter who unravels the mystery and embarks on a personal quest to fight environmental wrongdoers. This is every bit of a Steven Seagal film just with a preachy environmentalist overtone.
Outbreak: I didn’t really want to include virus-related films on this list because there are just so many of them but I feel like Outbreak belongs here. This is an excellently made film about two medical researchers played by Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo leading separate teams to determine the cause of a serious viral outbreak in a small town. Things get serious as the virus spreads and mutates and questions of the government’s involvement come to light. This film features a star-studded cast including Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Kevin Spacey. To me this is the scariest natural disaster of all because it’s something you can’t see coming for you, and by the time you do realize, you’re already dead.
Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below!!