When Nature struck back
The upcoming Roland Emmerich film 2012 is yet another Doomsday film, and we decided to take the time to look at every kind of natural disaster movie and pick out the most memorable from each category. Have a look:
Image: A poster of 2012
The Towering Inferno
Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden and Faye Dunaway lead a cast of stars around this epic tale of a burning skyscraper.
The fictional Glass Tower in San Francisco is the tallest building in the world, and one power surge leads to a fire that spreads across the 138-storey behemoth.
The John Guillermin film is an absolute epic, and films about fire have never been as sensational.
Image: A poster of The Towering Inferno
28 Days Later
Danny Boyle's phenomenal zombie movie set a new standard for the braindead genre, concentrating more on rage as a horror from within rather than just an external threat.
Set in London, the film is about a highly contagious virus that turns people into mindless zombies. The shots of an empty London are still chilling.
Image: A scene from 28 Days Later
Mimi Leder's film about a comet threatening to collide into the Earth might not have had the same effect on the box office as Armageddon the same year, but the film starring Robert Duvall and Elijah Wood is a better watch.
Image: A scene from Deep Impact
An earthquake hits Los Angeles, and leads to a lava-filled eruption right in the middle of the city.
Sure, it's no Dante's Peak. But as guilty-pleasure cheesy actioners go, this is a pretty meaty ride and one that doesn't harbour any extraneous ambitions. It's a punchful of adrenaline, and just what a volcano oughtta feel like.
Image: A scene from Volcano
The Last Wave
A Peter Weir film is anything but predictable, and this one explores an Australian lawyer coming to grips with freakish climactic conditions that are somehow connected to a group of Aboriginals. The way the flood comes about is nothing short of incredible.
Image: A scene from The Last Wave
Long before the genre became a cliche came this masterful 1937 film about a tropical cyclone in the Pacific.
The film by John Ford starred Jon Hall, Dorothy Lamour and Thoman Mitchell, and the scenes set around Tahiti remain most compelling.
Image: A scene from The Hurricane
Okay, this Kevin Costner vehicle was a lousy movie. Set roughly 500 years in the future, this is about a world covered in water after the icecaps have melted completely.
Still, it's impossible to ignore the fact that the wet imagery -- of the world ravaged by global warming -- is more relevant than ever today, and will probably lead to better cinema on similar lines.
Image: A scene from Waterworld
The China Syndrome
The idea of the film's title is that if an American nuclear plan melts down, it will burn through the Earth until it reaches China.
Jack Lemmon won Best Actor at Cannes for his part, and the wonderfully paced James Bridges thriller about safety coverups at a Nuclear power plant was a massive success, moreso because of the Three Mile Island accident that happened days after the film released.
Image: A poster of The China Syndrome
There's a strong case to be made for Arthur Hailey's Airport and its numerous spin-offs. But in today's times, if one thinks about planes in trouble, one mostly thinks about 9/11.
Paul Greengrass' riveting watch, about the United Airlines plane that was hijacked but finally seized by the passengers, totally makes it to the list, come what may.
Image: A poster of United 93
Duel is a film about a man driving through the California desert, where a tanker truck starts stalking and harassing him.
It's tricky to call Steven Spielberg's cinematic debut a disaster movie, but then it does have all the elements of the genre, and the truck itself works like a massive, inscrutable villain -- providing the sense of dread so crucial to this style of film. And what a movie it is.
Image: A scene from Duel