When disaster struck on a screen near you…

When disaster struck on a screen near you…

Pirate Of The Arabian
By Pirate Of The A...

Beware everyone. On Thursday, the cinema theatres near you will tremble under the weight of Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s latest release — San Andreas.

He plays the role of a man trying to save his wife and daughter from a massive earthquake that disintegrates most of California. Expect large-scale mayhem and spectacular scenes of chaos.

In order to welcome San Andreas, here is a list of 10 disaster movies (natural, manmade and extraterrestrial) that sent our pulse racing and the box office registers ringing.


1. The Poseidon Adventure


Year of release: 1972

Director: Ronald Neame

Type of disaster: Shipwreck

Looking back, one will be amazed at how well the movie was made, with the limited resources available at the time. The blockbuster, which boasted of a huge star cast, was the predecessor of disaster films to come.

It tells the story of a group of survivors inside a passenger ship, the SS Poseidon, which is tipped over by a massive tidal wave. They work their way up from the top of the ship, which is underwater, towards the bottom and find a way to cut through to safety.

It is a gripping tale. Though it was remade twice, nothing can really beat the original.


2. The Towering Inferno

Year of release: 1974

Director: John Guillermin

Type of disaster: Skyscraper fire

When two books — Richard Martin Stern’s The Tower and Thomas N Scortia’s The Glass Inferno — was combined to make a singe screenplay, a towering hit was born.

The film had an all-star cast including Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and even OJ Simpson, as people who desperately try to escape from a fire that has enveloped the world’s tallest building. In case of fire, please be sure not to use the lift.


3. Independence Day

Year of release: 1996

Director: Roland Emmerich

Type of disaster: Alien invasion

The roaring ’80s and the early ’90s was not kind to the genre. There were hardly any notable films until ID4 put it firmly back in the spotlight with a huge, big bang.

Some may call it a sci-fi movie, but it’s also about large-scale destruction of landmarks, including a certain white building where the US President lives. This is also the movie that launched Will Smith as a marketable star. The latest we hear is that a sequel is on the way. Viva la destruction.


4. Twister

Year of release: 1996

Director: Jan De Bont

Type of disaster: Tornadoes

Twister was the second disaster movie that made it big in 1996.

Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt act as ‘stormchasers’ who willingly go into the path of harm in order to study more about tornadoes. The risks were many and both actors suffered bodily harm during its making. But the movie twisted and twirled its way through to box office success.


5. Titanic

Year of release: 1997

Director: James Cameron

Type of disaster: Shipwreck

Titanic was at its heart, a romantic movie. But what made it really tick at the box office was the epic scale of disaster as the ‘indestructible’ ship hit the immovable iceberg. It tugged at your heartstrings and you trembled as the characters went through varying emotions as death approached.

It is not really a surprise that it is still the second highest-grossing film of all times. It is also one of those rare movies which gave a face to the victims. A classic.


6. Volcano

Year of release: 1997

Director: Mick Jackson

Type of disaster: Volcano eruption

The film, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche and Don Cheadle, depicts a volcano eruption in the heart of Los Angeles. Jones, who heads the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, fights against all odds to divert the path of dangerous lava flow through the streets.

Released just two months after Dante’s Peak, another movie with a similar story line, it did not do roaring business. But the graphics were still good for its times.


7. Armageddon

Year of release: 1998

Director: Michael Bay

Type of disaster: Asteroid strike

Two films about an asteroid strike on earth released in ’98, but it was Transformers director Michael Bay’s Armageddon that went on to become the year’s biggest hit.

It speaks about a ‘Texas-sized’ asteroid on a collision course with earth. Two cities, Shanghai and Paris are destroyed and NASA hires a group of drillers to land on the asteroid, drill a hole in it, plant a nuclear bomb and escape. Though the plot was highly improbable, it wowed cine goers all the same. And another disaster movie legend was born.


8. The Day After Tomorrow

Year of release: 2004

Director: Roland Emmerich

Type of disaster: Climate change

America gets destroyed all over again after a new global ice age begins following a few cataclysmic storms.

Professor Jack Hall, played by Dennis Quaid, tries unsuccessfully to warn the world about the impending danger, but no one listens. He then has to return to New York, completely frozen over, to search and rescue his son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal). The film blew hot and cold and took a cool half billion at the box office stakes.


9. 2012

Year of release: 2009

Director: Roland Emmerich

Type of disaster: End of the world

Emmerich released this movie when fear was still deep inside the public’s mind about the Mayan prophecies, which stipulated that the world would end in 2012.

John Cusack, a sci-fi writer and driver, tries to flee with his family to safety as the world around him descends into catastrophe. Volcanoes erupt, earthquakes strike, cities are devoured and mankind has found a way to survive. It was not Emmerich’s best, but it still was enough to earn $791 million at the box office.


10. The Impossible

Year of release: 2012

Director: JA Bayona

Type of disaster: Tsunami

This is the only film in the list that is based on a real-life event — the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami — and that makes it all the more scarier.

Henry (Ewan McGregor) and Maria Bennett (Naomi Watts), vacationing in Thailand with their children, are caught up in the middle of the wave and get separated. They then race against hope and time to find one another. Though some CGI was used, a lot of water was also involved to give it more authenticity. It shows.

Ratings calculated automatically using technology developed at QCRI and MIT.

Click here to learn more.

By britexpat• 3 years 9 months ago.
Rating: 5/5

Loved Armageddon because of Liv Tyler

Hated Titanic because of the mushiness

Got used to volcano because of Anne Hesche and Tommy

2012 was crap as was the Posseidon Adventure

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