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Most Incredible Disaster Movie Moments


With the cinema carpets barely dry from Noah's visit, Pompeii set to rain ash and fire and Into the Storm winding up on the horizon, we are reminded that Hollywood loves nothing more than a good summer disaster movie.

Though the storylines are often threadbare and the acting an afterthought, we're suckers for the charms of a natural disaster flick. From camera trickery to VFX masterpieces, we've assembled our favourite moments of chaos from the greatest disaster films ever made.

Let us know if we've missed off your favourite.


Earthquake: Camera-shaking chaos

While we might scoff at the effects of 1974's Earthquake, they blazed (shook and overturned) the trail for future disaster films. To heighten the drama of the camera-shaking shots, Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theater had Sensurround speakers installed, shaking the audience with their powerful bass rumble. Fearing that the cinema's plasterwork and ornate decorations might be damaged, a safety net was erected to catch any falling debris.


Twister: Eye of the storm

Having spent the entire movie bothering tornadoes, it's with an overwhelming sense of "Well, what did you expect" that Jo (Helen Hunt) and Bill (Bill Paxton) come face-to-eye with a dirty big F5. As the eponymous twister changes course and heads toward the storm chasers, we're rewarded with the moment we've been waiting for - a view from the inside of a tornado. Points go to the film makers for staying faithful to the only two recorded accounts from survivors of apparent 'eye of the storm' encounters.


Deep Impact: Moment of impact

If we learnt anything from Deep Impact, it's that all you need to survive a civilisation-ending comet is a dirt bike and a suitably large hill. Or an underground fortified bunker. A spectacle that hasn't been seen since the reign of the dinosaurs, this sequence proves that mankind's biggest threat isn't other men, war or spiders - it's giant space rocks.


Armageddon: The destruction of Paris

Remember the end of Armageddon? Ground control erupting in a montage of cheers and hugs as the world is saved by the heroic actions of Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis)? Flags are waved, tears are shed and everyone lives happily every after. Apart from the French. Who are probably all dead.


Dante's Peak: Don't look back

For proof that miniatures age better than ropey CGI, look no further than this 17-year-old big money shot from Dante's Peak. Hundreds of hours were spent building tiny ash-covered forests and buildings, before blowing them to bits. The results: a devastating realisation of a pyroclastic cloud, and a healthy reminder to ensuree you live several thousand miles away from any active volcanoes.


The Day After Tomorrow: The Helicopter Freeze

While comets and tornadoes present a very obvious threat, The Day After Tomorrow's slow-moving freezing storm is a far harder sell. Roland Emmerich's inspired solution? Demonstrate the monstrous power of the icy vortex by fly helicopters through the middle of it. These extras gave their lives that we might understand we should fear the cloud.


2012: LA Earthquake

Say what you will of 2012 - the critics certainly did - but there's no denying that it features the best 'fleeing from destruction' sequence in cinema history. If we're unfortunate enough to be around for the end of the world, we hope we'll have time to marvel at the spectacle and think "Damn, they weren't far off".


Volcano: Lava geyser

While Dante's Peak arguably had the better special effects, 1997's other volcano movie boasted Tommy Lee Jones running in slow motion. The climactic eruption of Volcano was also suitably spectacular, albeit offset by the slapstick hilarity of the relocated hospital patients failing to escape the downpour of fire.


The Perfect Storm: Bitch of a wave

Captain Billy (George Clooney) calls the sea a bitch. The sea completely overreacts and summons forth the mother of all waves. We really thought they were going to make it.

(Images: Rex)



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