Don’t you just love it when the world crumbles and people die? When big cities perish and even more people die? No, I’m not talking about global warming or the actual earth. I love my planet! I’m talking about disaster movies ofcourse! I just love those kind of movies. Watching how the world falls apart, from the safe place that is my comfy couch (or the cinema). Get your popcorn, and let’s see why these movies are the best.
It’s not actually happening, you are safe
OK, I’m not going into a rant about climate change here. There are much better articles written by people who know a lot more about the subject. And while climate change is a Big Deal and we should all read up on it and be concerned about it, this is a article about disaster movies. And things in disaster movies are… a liiiiiittle bit exaggerated. Some disaster movies maybe mirror current events and warn us, but they are still mostly about entertaining us.
There will be no terrible storms with hail the size of basketballs in central London. There won’t be a vulcano eruption next door (except if you, you know, actually live close to an active volcano) and a tsunami won’t likely hit you when you live in Kansas or Nebraska. Disaster movies are great fun to watch because they aren’t realistic. And still, while you’re munching away your snacks, you’ll keep thinking ‘what would I do in a situation like this?’ And that’s part of the fun of these movies. You’ll likely never ever ever be in a situation like the main characters, and yet still you can relate. Because you’ve been to London. You saw pictures of volcano’s. Or you actually live in the middle of the States.
Destruction! Explosions! Mayhem!
Part of the charm of disaster movies is the action, as it’s so different from the action in thrillers or actual action movies. Cities perish, people die by the thousands or millions and there’s fire, water, lava, hail, storms, and all the natural phenomena you can think of. With the exception of Michael Bay films, you won’t see any more total destruction on screen anytime soon. Speaking of Michael Bay, he did more than ruin the Transformers franchise. He actually made a disaster movie: Armageddon. Bruce Willis in space! Even though Armageddon leans heavily on a soppy romance/family story, you can leave it to Mr. Bay to include All Of The Explosions Even When They Are Not Needed Or Believable! BAM!
And if you’re not in the mood for an intricately woven psychological thriller, a tearjerking and well acted drama or a guaranteed Oscar-nominated film, disaster movies are great. You don’t have to think about anything. It’s all about destruction, explosions and watching the world slowly die just to be saved at the last moment. Because no matter how awfull the disaster, the hero always saves the day. So you’re left with a pretty happy end, even though millions died to get to that point. It is entertainment in it’s purest form. Turn your mind off, watch the screen and come out of it happier two hours later.
The plot is pretty much always the same
The world/a boat/this city is slowly crumbling. A LOT of people will die. Person X is pivotal to saving said world/boat/city BUT! Person X’s ex-wife/children/older parents must be safe first! Meanwhile, destruction is everywhere. Then, Person X almost dies but look! Person Y, who we thought was the world’s biggest bitch/asshole, actually saves Person X. Sadly, Person Y probably dies doing so. Person Y was not such a bitch/asshole after all. Person X can go on with newfound stamina/love/meaning of life and saves the world/boat/city. YAY!
And is that a bad thing? No. It’s a disaster movie, we know what to expect. It’s better to see a disaster movie that you know is predictable, than go to the cinema, see The Sixth Sense for the first time and guess in the first 15 minutes that Bruce Willis’s character is actually dead (that, sadly, is a very true story for me) and ruin a great movie. You can’t really be disappointed by a disaster movie because you know what it’s about, you know how the story goes and you know what will happen. As I said, it’s just fun, nothing more, nothing less. And sometimes, that is just what you need. Fun. And a lot of people to die in excruciating and terrible ways.
My favorite disaster movies
There are so many disaster movies, and so many subgenres. So here are three subgenres and my top 5 favourites in them, in alphabetical order:
- 2012 (2009)
- Deep Impact
- Hard Rain (1998)
- The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
- The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Aliens coming to destroy us
- Cloverfield (2008)
- Independence Day (1996)
- Mars Attacks! (1996)
- The Mist (2007)
- War of the Worlds (2005)
Based on a true story
- Alive (1993)
- The Impossible (2012)
- The Perfect Storm (2000)
- Titanic (only the part in which the boat actually sinks) (1997)
- United 93 (2006)
(sidenote/disclaimer: as these films are based on true stories, these are obviously NOT fun. These are just GOOD films about actual disasters)