Disaster

[6.0] Decades before James Cameron sank the Titanic and twelve years before Irwin Allen took us on The Poseidon Adventure, writer/director Andrew L. Stone took a pioneering step into the disaster film genre. While Cameron and Allen certainly had more pyrotechnics at their disposal, Stone does a remarkable job utilizing a real luxury liner and building suspense throughout The Last Voyage‘s brisk 91-minute run-time. In …

[2.0] A giant radioactive lizard terrorizes New York City. There are probably at least 100 different ways this could have been more interesting and exciting, but producers Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) instead opt to make their Godzilla movie two hours and twenty minutes of  implausible, joyless tedium. The characters (if you could call them that) have no spunk, no personality, nothing to …

[6.0] Everest is the true story of a deadly 1996 expedition up Mount Everest in which two climbing parties suffered casualties after a fierce blizzard engulfed the mountain with little warning. The film is more of a dramatic biopic than a sensational survival flick, and while that’s normally a good thing, I do wish Everest were a little more suspenseful or exciting. The ensemble cast …

[7.5] It’s formulaic, overblown and downright preposterous at times, but it’s also everything moviegoers want in a summer action movie. Speed has a tight, rapid-fire script, awesome sound design, a remarkably kinetic score, and surprisingly good acting for a movie of its type. Sandra Bullock gives a sweet, naturalistic performance as a woman stuck driving a bus full of passengers that will explode if it …

[8.0] Chris Pine stars in this emotional rescue story about a heroic Coast Guardsman who leads a small crew into a winter storm to rescue the workers on a sinking oil tanker. The Finest Hours is based on the true 1952 story, which the Coast Guard still regards as their most miraculous mission. The movie may already sound exciting to you — and it is. But …

[6.5] Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell headline this true story about the largest oil drilling disaster in American history. Deepwater Horizon is essentially a disaster movie in the grand tradition of that subgenre, but director Peter Berg is sensitive to the fact that 11 men lost their lives in the 2010 tragedy and that crude oil flooded the Gulf of Mexico as a result. BP Oil …

[5.5] John Wayne leads an ensemble cast in this William Wellman film about the passengers and crew of a trans-Pacific flight who experience engine failure and a loss of fuel. When they realize they won’t reach the California shore, everyone prepares for the worst. The High and the Mighty plays more like a straight drama than the disaster flicks that would come after it in the 1970s. …

[7.0] Deep Impact feels like an old-fashioned Irwin Allen disaster flick — and I dig that. Basically, the world learns that an asteroid is headed toward earth and we have one year before we can attempt to destroy it with a NASA space mission. So the mid-point of the film focuses on that mission, and — spoilers ahead! — it doesn’t go well. So Deep Impact …

[4.5] The first Independence Day is one of those films that strikes just the right tone, something between earnest and goofy-as-hell, genuinely terrifying and gloriously indulgent. It was like the best possible kind of Irwin Allen disaster movie, where the spectacle was off-set by a charming ensemble of personalities and attitude was an acceptable replacement for character development. In all these regards, the sequel fails to …

[3.5] In this fourth installment (and final, by my count) of the disaster franchise, George Kennedy returns to pilot a super-sonic plane to Paris. Trouble is, the bad guy (Robert Wagner) wants to blow the plane out of the sky to stop an on-board news reporter (Susan Blakely) from uncovering his corporate shenanigans. For the most part, the Airport movies are a guilty pleasure, but …

1 2 3