Movies: Disaster!

 

I have a secret vice.

It’s one I’ve not shared with many people, but those who know me best know all about it. I’m not proud of it, but it’s part of who I am.

I’m coming out with it today, so here goes. Deep breath.

I love disaster movies.

I know. I’m sorry! I just can’t help myself. I should know better. But there’s something about a good disaster movie that pulls me in. The worst part is that I even love the bad ones, where the character types and fates are pretty obvious from the first ten minutes. I even love The Core where the characters are deep in the centre of the earth…and then go outside.

The Poseidon Adventure also started an appreciation of Gene Hackman movies for me

It started for me with The Poseidon Adventure. I didn’t really understand most of it when I first watched it as kid, but the peril and the danger seemed very real to me, especially as someone who couldn’t (and can’t) swim. It was a few years later when I watched it again that I got upset at the death of…well, if you’ve seen it, you know who I mean. (TPA also started an appreciation of Gene Hackman movies for me – I’ll watch that guy in anything!)

I followed that up with Earthquake and The Towering Inferno, the second best disaster movie ever made. The 1970s was a golden age for Irwin Allen disaster movies, and they shaped my movie-loving experiences as well. Okay…three disaster movies. Let’s not talk about The Swarm, which killed the genre just as fast…

I have low requirements for watching a movie and enjoying it

There’s something delightful about disaster movies, something I can’t really identify that pulls me in and makes me sit down and watch, and even own a few of them. I can’t define why I love them, but I do have a few theories…

* Low standards! I have low requirements for watching a movie and enjoying it. It doesn’t take much to entertain me, to be honest. As a result, I’ve watched some pretty bad movies over the years, some intentionally. Some of them even had a plot! Disaster movies are high art compared to some of those.

* It’s the end! Throw everything in the air and start again. No more mortgage payments or work tomorrow! Of course, no running water or sanitation either…

* Melodrama! I love me a bit of melodrama – I’ve read nearly all of Dickens, after all, and he loved a bit of melodrama. I don’t like excessive subtext in my movies, and there’s no nuanced performances in a disaster movie: Everyone knows who everyone is and what their motivations are. Chewing the scenery is almost a requirement. I find that refreshing in a film.

*  There are no rules! No one is guaranteed to survive to the end. It doesn’t matter how high your star billing is, you might not make it. Lends an air of tension to the whole thing, I find!

* A preparation for death. Yeah, that’s a deep one. How will the characters face the end? Saving someone else, running away, or laughing into the face of their mortality? Would I do the same? Those are pretty philosophical question to ask yourself while you’re watching Dwayne Johnson muscle his way through San Francisco in San Andreas.

All this disaster movie love does have it limits: I’ve only ever watched Armageddon once. It’s a disaster of a disaster movie…more like being inside hyperactive music video. Given what I’ve just said about being entertained easily, and having such low standards, that should give you an idea of how awful it is. Avoid it if you can, and if you can’t: Run!

So break out your emergency rations and prepare for the end of the world however you wish: giant waves, massive tectonic plate shifts, angry bees. I’ve lived the adventure and seen it all.

I’m ready, baby. Bring on the end of the world!*

Do you have a love for a genre you know you shouldn’t enjoy but do? Let me know!

*(Not a serious suggestion)

2 thoughts on “Movies: Disaster!”

  1. Ohh my gosh, yet another thing we have in common! I secretly love disaster movies as well. For me, I love the moral dilemmas it forces people to make…how much do they really love their girlfriend? Will they abandon them to save their own skin? Equally, families and friendships you think are broken beyond repair can sometimes be sewn up again when the poop hits the fan (to put it politely). 😀 I’m also a sucker for character deaths, which sounds bizarre, but I like when they happen because it means the stakes are high and you get so much more invested in the characters.

    I’m trying to think of where my love of disaster movies first came from, and I think it was probably Armegedon when I was younger – now that’s an epic film! Have you watched Interstella? That was an interesting new take…

    Sidenote: I still remember my anger watching them burn books to stay warm in The Day After Tomorrow *shakes fist*.

    1. Interstellar was a let down for me…it went on for far too long and the ending didn’t really seem to work. The visuals were beautiful though, and Matthew McConaughey is watchable in anything.

      Ah, the infamous book burning in The Day After Tomorrow…but it *was* only tax laws. 🙂

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