With the Dwayne Johnson disaster flick San Andreas in theaters this week, I thought to myself, what are the best disaster movies ever made? and I couldn’t think of any movie other than Childen of Men. So instead I decided to make a list of the five worst disaster movies I’ve had the displeasure of seeing.
Dishonorable Mention: The Core (2003)
5. Deep Impact (1998)
You know you’re not watching something special when the movie is a rehashed version of Michael Bay’s Armageddon. But that’s exactly what Deep Impact is. Like Armageddon, A giant comet is heading towards earth that could destroy everything and a group of astronauts must land on the comet, lay explosives and hope it deters from its doomsday course. Unlike Armageddon, which managed to be fun abielt idiotic for the most part, Deep Impact is a disappointing movie that simply doesn’t deliver. It’s full of cardboard characters and sappy melodrama and the disaster porn doesn’t last for more than three minutes which makes it even more so disappointing.
4. Dante’s Peak (1997)
Dante’s Peak came out in 1997 when Pierce Brosnan actually mattered, the film stars Brosnan and Linda Hamilton in the lead roles and the film focuses on a volcanic eruption that could wipe out an entire town unless Brosnan, a volcanologist and Hamilton, the town mayor can convince the people that yes, that giant volcano above them is in fact dangerous and that it will burn them if they don’t evacuate the town. The thing about this movie is that there was nothing that was even the slightest bit interesting about it. Am I supposed to care if Linda Hamilton and Pierce Brosnan shack up? because I sure as hell didn’t. The one thing that disaster movies usually do right is getting the actual disaster right. This movie however features such poor effects that even the volcano doesn’t seem anything special.
3. Poseidon (2006)
After directing two movies set in the sea (Das Boot, The Perfect Storm) Wolfgang Peterson seemed like the right person to direct a remake of the 1979 disaster movie, Poseidon’s Adventure. Poseidon however, is a boring, poorly paced and terrible excuse for the disaster film. The disaster takes place in the first 15 minutes of the movies which is basically a giant tidal wave that turns that turns a cruise ship upside down. The next 85 minutes of the movie are basically Kurt Russell and his group of survivors navigating their way around the ship trying to find some button? I don’t exactly remember. Apart from playing out every cliché in the book, Poseidon, like Deep Impact and Dante’s Peak, commits the cardinal disaster movie sin of not making the disaster important enough.
2. Into the Storm (2014)
If you thought Dante’s Peak was the movie that couldn’t make you care for the plot, think again. Into the Storm is disaster movie about a bunch of tornadoes that terrorize a small town. Richard Armitage, trying desperately to hide his British accent, plays a high school vice-principal who can’t seem to get the approval of one of his sons, that one son of his is trying to get a girl from school, meanwhile a group of storm chasers come to this small town to film the tornadoes when they hear destruction is imminent. The film tries to make us care for multiple sub-plots but succeeds at making us care for none. It does however deliver when it comes to the disaster but everything else from the poor screenplay to the one-dimensional characters makes this movie so terrible that it makes Twister look like Citizen Kane by comparison.
1. The Happening (2008)
Only M. Night Shyamalan can make a disaster move so preposterous that trees, yes trees are the main antagonists. The Happening follows the story of science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg), his wife (Zooey Deschanel) and a young girl as they struggle to survive a plague that causes those infected to cause suicide. The Happening is, and I’m not gonna lie to you, one of the absolute worst films I’ve ever had the chance of seeing and for that we have Shyamalan’s brain-dead screenplay to thank. The film is so bad that constantly blurs the lines between a bad horror movie and a comedy. On the acting front, Zooey Deschanel does a splendid job of playing a walking mannequin. Her expressionless face remains the highlight of her performance. And Mark Wahlberg…words are not enough to describe his oscar-caliber performance. But hey, why take my word for it when you can see for yourself?