This week in Thursday Movie Picks – run by Wandering through the Shelves – we’ve been asked to list three to five films where the plot revolves around a natural disaster. As usual, I’ve made my selection from films I have seen, and as I really enjoy films from this genre, after a six-week hiatus from joining the series, this is a theme I couldn’t miss.
What constitutes a ‘disaster’ film?
According to Wikipedia, a disaster film is a film genre that has an impending or ongoing disaster as its subject and primary plot device. Such disasters may include natural disasters, accidents, military/terrorist attacks or global catastrophes such as a pandemic.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972, dir. Ronald Neame)
What’s the disaster? A tsunami.
This is action-packed from the get go with great effects and none of the ‘tugging at the heartstrings’ of the 2006 version. Gene Hackman makes a fine leading man as the stoic, resourceful Reverend Scott.
Deepwater Horizon (2016, dir. Peter Berg)
What’s the disaster? An oil spill.
It’s not often that a film starring Mark Wahlberg has me on the edge of my seat, but Deepwater Horizon did just that. Based on the real-life events of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in 2010, the film features incredible effects and is an intense retelling of events.
Only the Brave (2017, dir. Joseph Kosinski)
What’s the disaster? Wildfires ignited by dry lightning.
Rounding out my list is another biographical film that retells the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots (an elite crew of firefighters) and the Yarnell Fire of 2013. Only the Brave is a well-crafted film featuring superb effects and strong casting that sensitively retells the poignant story of some exceptional, brave human beings.
Update: Kicking myself for not originally including some of my favourite natural disaster films, including The Perfect Storm (2000) and The Impossible (2012). Two more excellent water-based disaster films.