A-List: Five Worst Disaster Movies

By J. Don Birnam

July 15, 2014

Huge upset! Fearmongers were right about the end of the world!

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Yesterday, we reveled in the delicious amazingness of the guilty pleasure of movies such as The Day After Tomorrow and Deep Impact. It only seems fair to turn now to some of the most disappointing and ridiculous disaster movies of all time. Because, believe you me, for every amusing, rewatchable epic, there are scores of eye-gouging disaster movies that represent new disasters in and of themselves.

Since we did this last week, I will only briefly go over the rules: if it’s a disaster in Sim City, it counts as a disaster movie. Manmade problems do not count, neither do spoofs, and neither do limit-disaster movies like Titanic that at least have other dimensions, like a love story.

By the way, I should make something clear, in case it wasn’t already: I really enjoy disaster movies, and placing one on this list should in no way be interpreted to mean that I do not or have not watched the movie repeatedly. I own a number of the movies on this list. But, alas, some movies have to be worst if some are to be best. It’s the way of capitalism or what have you.

I apologize in advance for the obscurity of some of these. There are really lots of doozies in the annals of disaster movie history here. Prepare for epic meltdowns…

5. Armageddon

Sorry Bruce, sorry Ben, sorry Liv. Your movie falls too much on the emotional manipulation side of the line for my tastes. It’s a shame too, because Armageddon delivers a solid cast, and an end-of-the-world scenario of epic proportions.


Granted, all disaster movies have emotionally contrived sequences and laughable familial reconciliations. But Armageddon, a movie that does everything on a grand scale (it does claim, after all, to be about an asteroid the size of Texas), takes this abject silliness from the genre and blows it up as big as the meteor it features, and then some. In essence, Armageddon tries to simultaneously weave a love story (and a father/daughter story) into the mix. Not only does this detract from the movie in that it is distracting, the story doesn’t work. Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck are terrible actors in this flick, and Liv Tyler is wooden, unexpressive, and unaffected.

You really end up hoping that the three of them become collateral damage to the nukes sent out into orbit, and that’s not a good sign.

4. Flood

If you watched this 2007 British disaster movie, I truly feel bad for you. I had to, and this is one movie I will only watch once. The cast is a large group of “who?”s - the destruction scenes, well, what destruction scenes? I mean, London gets flooded, as do other parts of the United Kingdom, but it’s less destruction and more Titanic meets Poseidon Adventure.

Essentially, a raging storm combines with rising sea levels to create a deadly combination that ravages the British capital. Not an unlikely story, to be fair, given recent events in some of our own coastal cities.

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