Have you ever asked yourself what is a “disaster” movie? Inspired by the big screen release of The Meg (starring our fave Jason Statham) this week, we have. It seems that a “disaster” movie can be about averting a disaster, about the disaster happening or about the aftermath of a disaster. We have selected 10 movies that cover each situation. Is a big shark a disaster? Probably not. Unless it eats you. Are poor politics that ruin a country a disaster. Almost certainly. Below, we’ve chosen 10 disaster movies of the action/adventure type for your consideration.
10. Oceans Rising – 2017
Directed by: Adam Lipsius
Starring: Jason Tobias, Summer Spiro, DeJean Brown
Running Time: 1hr 27min
We start with a disaster of a movie. From a great concept, the rising of the oceans, comes a C movie. See what we did there? Why is Oceans Rising in our list? Sometimes it’s necessary to watch a movie that doesn’t quite work to remind ourselves why the great movies do. And, despite the rather poor science, the story is at least credible.
9. Taking Earth – 2017
Directed by: Grant Humphreys
Starring: Ronan Quarmby, Brad Richards, Barbara Harrison
Running Time: 1hr 40min
The reason, we believe, that Netflix doesn’t use star ratings is to bury it’s weaker offerings. That’s what we try and put right. Taking Earth is another movie with a nice sci-fi concept that could have been better. Some of the special effects are really quite good but then fall because of some disjointed direction. But this sort of movie has a habit of taking on cult status.
8. Sharknado – 2013
Directed by: Anthony C. Ferrante
Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard
Running Time: 1hr 26min
Sharknado has become the definition of a B movie. And, don’t forget, there are 2, 3, 4, 5, Feeding Frenzy and Heart of Sharkness to go. If you haven’t twigged yet how firmly the makers tongues are in their cheeks, you’re completely missing the point. This isn’t one shark, it’s lot’s of them. And they’re everywhere. That makes them a disaster rather than just a nuisance. Seriuosly. Watch this movie for what it is rather than what you want it to be.
7. Paradox – 2016
Directed by: Michael Hurst
Starring: Zoë Bell, Malik Yoba, Adam Huss
Running Time: 2hr 31min
Paradox is a movie for the sci fi buffs and an interesting look at time travel. That the “disaster” affects only a few people is largely irrelevant because the concept of paradoxes arising from time travel, when it’s invented next year, could affect the whole human race. Is this a great movie? Hardly. But it has many nice bits and there’s a very good twist.
6. Deep Blue Sea – 1999
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Starring: Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson
Running Time: 1hr 451min
The idea of a billionaire philanthropist throwing money at a cure for Alzheimers disease is good. The idea that it has to go horribly wrong is a shame. And why experiment on sharks when there are so many other animals to choose from? Doh, because a lot of angry mice running around would hardly constitute a disaster. Actually, experimentation on any animal is not good. Put that to the back of your mind and enjoy the uber intelligent Selachimorpha having a go at the witless humans.
5. Armageddon – 1998
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck
Running Time: 2hr 31min
Perhaps Armageddon should have been called Not Armageddon. The disaster never actually happens because Bruce Willis and his team of misfits makes sure it doesn’t. Some of the dialogue in this movie is hilarious and the love interest works well. This is sci-fi action adventure that sets out to entertain and it does just that. The special effects are fine and Bruce Willis is, er, Bruce Willis. This is two and a half hours of escapism and well worth the time.
4. The Wave – 2015
Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro
Running Time: 1hr 45min
We’re off to Norway for an event that is widely predicted to actually happen in the future. The Wave will happen when the mountain pass Åkneset, located in the Geiranger fjord, collapses. For a low low budget movie, The Wave is a fine piece of work. The special effects, photography and acting all come together and the end result is intense and highly believable.
3. The Road – 2009
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Running Time: 1hr 51min
We never really know what cataclysmic event has occurred and neither do we get to know the names of Man and Boy. In fact, none of the characters have names. What we do know is that they are attempting to escape the reality of a world after an apocalypse and do so while keeping their integrity and basic human decency. The movie is bleak and full of despair. The Road is a morality tale with a difference.
2. Ghostbusters – 1984
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver
Running Time: 2hr 31min
Yes, we’re serious. Without the Ghostbusters, the ancient Hittite god, Gozer, could bring an end to all of humanity and that would be a right old disaster. The dead pan delivery that Dan Akroyd used to great effect in The Blues Brothers comes again in the Ghostbusters and adds much to the comedy. Bill Murray is delightful, Harold Ramis is earnest, Ernie Hudson is bewidered, Rick Moranis is zany and Sigorney Weaver gets quite a lot of her kit off. What more could you want?
1. Jurassic Park – 1993
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
Running Time: 2hr 7min
Michael Crichton has been exceptionally good over the years at taking current technology and projecting it, seamlessly, into the near future in his books. The idea that geneticists could bring back dinosaurs is both highly credible and potentially disastrous. Give the idea to Spielberg and you have an Oscar winner. To be fair, the awards were for sound and visual effects but, since the dinosaurs are the stars of the show, this is cool. We wouldn’t want them turning up in person at an awards ceremony would we.