In the last while earth, more than usual, has been devastated with world wide natural disasters. It is very sad that these horrible natural disastrous phenomenons are not subject only to the silver screen but are here with us in real life. Disasters such as tsunamis, volcanoes, tornadoes, earthquakes, forest fires, floods and global warming are only too real and in our back yards. In my opinion this is much more nerve-wracking than any horror movie with ghosts, zombies, vampires and aliens.
All these horrible world wide disasters has prompted me into delving into the cinematic world of natural disaster movies. The newer movies with computer enhanced technology absolutely puts you on the edge of your chair with its great movie effects. Whether flying a little airplane between falling sky scrappers or driving over a collapsing freeway off-ramp, you are moving left to right and ducking along with the terrified cast.
Let us not forget the older disaster movies where the quality of acting prevailed over there limited special effects. Nevertheless the natural disaster movies are well worth watching in movie theaters for their full effects in sight and sound compared to… I don’t know, a romance movie.
Here are some of my favorite natural disaster movies from the early days of cinema to now…
The Last days Of Pompeii – 1935
This is a great movie, it gets into the personal lives of the citizens of Pompeii in 79 AD only to be disrupted by a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The actual sudden disaster occurs near the end of the movie, unlike Dante’s peak.
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Starring: Preston Foster, Basil Rathbone, Alan Hale, David Holt, John Wood.
San Francisco – 1936
5: 13 am on April 18, 1906 is when the devastating San Francisco earthquake occurred. A great movie, but of all the natural disaster movies from this era this one is a little too patriotic, a sign of the times. Yes, this movie is a musical, again a sign of the times.
Starring: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Holt (related to David from above movie? ).
The Devil At 4 O’clock – 1961
In this classic movie three convicts end up on a secluded island of Talua, apparently about five hundred miles from Tahiti. The island is colonized with a children’s leper hospital run by two priests. Suddenly the islands fierce volcano erupts and eventually the three convicts rescue the hospital’s children and staff. A very gripping movie.
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Spencer Tracy, Kerwin Mathews, Barbara Luna, Bernie Hamilton, Gregoire Aslan.
Twister – 1996
Lots of action and a little humor thrown into the mix of this great natural disaster movie. The movie is about a team of tornado storm chasers who are trying to perfect a tornado data gathering instrument to predict the onslaught of these devastating phenomenons. The movie magic effects are great.
Starring: Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Todd Field, Jami Gertz.
Dante’s Peak – 1997
A Mount St. Helen’s story where the town, Dante’s Peak is nestled on a mountainside in the scenic Washington state just below a dormant volcano. As this mountain starts to show signs of eruption, a volcanologist and the town’s mayor try to convince everyone in town that they are in trouble. Nobody believes them until the volcano erupts and its too late… then the big action packed escape.
Starring: Linda Hamilton, Pierce Brosnan, Charles Hallahan, Grant Heslov.
The Day After Tomorrow – 2004
Due to global warming a catastrophic effect onto earth occurs with extreme weather conditions such as a tsunamis and tornados. And, all these storms were backed up by global cooling in which everything instantly froze. The next Ice Age. This is a great movie with superb special effects.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum.
2012 – 2009
If we are talking about superb special effects in movies, this one wins hands down. Working with the ideology of Mayanism, global cataclysmic events become real in 2012. Lots of destruction such as earthquakes and unusual volcanic eruptions. In my opinion this one is the best of all the natural disaster movies and well worth viewing inside a theater.
Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Oliver Erstaunt.
I must have watched Dante’s Maximum and Twister about a thousand instances. The high intense thrill ride of natural disaster movies does obtain my heart pumping, probably in addition than many horror movies. I guess that is why I admire these films just a little bit more.