Poseidon (2006, dir. Wolfgang Petersen)

Survivors of a capsized cruise liner attempt to escape. Somewhat perfunctory and loose third adaptation of the Paul Gallico novel, with the feel of a much bigger film cropped back to 90 minutes as its own rescue attempt. Doesn’t add anything to the 1972 version bar some updated effects and a couple of impressive stunt moments.

Here’s the trailer.

Moonfall (2022, dir. Roland Emmerich)

A conspiracist discovers the moon is on a collision course with Earth. Cheerfully shambolic SF disaster flick, cribbing from across the genre from Contact to The Core as well as from the director’s back catalogue. A sturdy cast of B-listers helps, with John Bradley being especially good value.

Here’s the trailer.

Don’t Look Up (2021, dir. Adam McKay)

Astronomers struggle to get the government and the media to engage with an extinction-level event. Patchy and overlong Trump-era satire: when it hits, it hits hard, but there’s about 45 minutes too much baggy stuff here. More focus needed: that said, there are some game performances and a great song.

Here’s the trailer.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972, dir. Ronald Neame)

Survivors of an upturned cruise liner race against time to climb to the bottom of the ship. Earnest and clunky, this early entrant into the 70s disaster movie cycle is nevertheless impressive in its technical credits and its commitment of approach, and in its blending of veteran, current, and emerging onscreen talent. Based on a Paul Gallico novel: a sequel and other adaptations followed.

Here’s the trailer.

The Towering Inferno (1974, dir. John Guillermin)

A new San Francisco skyscraper catches fire on opening: a firefighter and the building’s architect work together. About the best of the 70s cycle of disaster movies: Inferno is star-packed, properly spectacular and hubris-tastic – if slightly po-faced – showcasing fun practical effects and stunt work.

Here’s the trailer.

Skyfire (2019, dir. Simon West)

A luxury resort is threatened by an active volcano. Updating When Time Ran Out via bits of the Jurassic Park franchise, this hubris-tastic disaster movie is a gleeful treat, embracing the all character tropes and situations you’d expect. It’s something of a masterclass in pacing and jeopardy: huge amounts of unpretentious fun. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Greenland (2020, dir. Ric Roman Waugh)

An estranged couple and their young son battle to safety during an extinction-level event. Alternately hokey and darkly impressive, this riff on Deep Impact via World War Z succeeds best in its focus on character and on throwing rocks (metaphorical and literal) at its characters. Not bad if you go with it.

Here’s the trailer. And here’s another POV.

Airplane! [AKA Flying High] (1980, dir. Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker & David Zucker)

An ex-pilot with PTSD has to take control of a passenger jet when its crew are struck by food poisoning. Still-dazzling deadpan parody of 1970s disaster movies (and Zero Hour before them). Some gags and attitudes have dated, but the film’s commitment to strong jokes per minute astonishes. A weak sequel followed.

Here’s the trailer.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004, dir. Roland Emmerich)

A scientist warns against a new ice age: when it hits, he embarks on a quest to rescue his son. Earnest though daft ecological disaster flick: its environmental messaging gets somewhat lost in soap operatics, awkward storytelling, and contrived menace.

Here’s the trailer.

Avalanche (1978, dir. Corey Allen)

An exclusive new ski resort is threatened by the chance of avalanches. Tatty disaster movie from the end of the 70s cycle of the genre; much use of stock footage in the mayhem scenes. Mercifully brief, however, and it’s always good to see Robert Forster.