Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion imagines a disaster of a different breed: a deadly virus that slowly but surely takes hold across the planet. It’s enough to make a germaphobe out of even the strongest viewers.
One of two Roland Emmerich films contained here, Independence Day is the least plausible of these five disaster movies but probably the most entertaining. It’s an action movie through and through, with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum fighting off aliens determined to blow up all kinds of iconic monuments.
The other Roland Emmerich film in this slideshow, The Day After Tomorrow sees climatologist Jack Hall (played by Dennis Quaid) try his best to warn the globe about an enormous superstorm in development with the potential to trigger natural disasters across the planet. Of course, no one listens and catastrophe sets in. Emmerich might not be worth the time of day these days, but the actual disaster sequences are undoubtedly worth checking out.
Avengers: Endgame might’ve dethroned it, but James Cameron’s Titanic still proves to be one of the most impressively-made disaster movies to date. The complete and total destruction of the titular ship plays out so realistically, it’s impossible to not be caught up in it all (no matter how you feel about the story pre-iceberg).
Jan de Bont’s Twister follows a group of storm chasers dead-set on utilizing a new sensor device in the middle of a dangerous tornado outbreak. The movie received mixed reviews, but the disaster sequences remain so impressive even after all these years.