The right mix of terror and an amazing duo sets’ 90s disaster movies apart from stuffy romances and comedies.
In the ’90s, disaster movies were all that. If you wanted to experience a plane crash, an earthquake, a tornado ripping through the drive-ins, or an alien takeover, you’d find yourself at the theater from 1990-1999. Disaster movies are loved and accepted by so many people, because they’re such a guilty pleasure; sometimes they’re so bad that they’re good. Natural disasters were dominating the screen, and people just accepted it; some hating it; others loving it, as avalanche after avalanche hit their screens. You might find the CGI of Godzilla (1998) to be absolutely terrible, but there’s something so nostalgic about a 400-foot monster robotically moving through the city, destroying everything in its wake.
In 2022, we have so many remakes of original movies that we do not know what to do with ourselves, but you can find peace in ’90s disaster movies. Flicks that were original, weird, and slightly dark, and took the plot in bizarre directions to make the movie even more of a mess than it already is. Plus, you can always count on the cast to be absolutely stacked, whether you expect it or not. There are tons of ’90s disaster movies, so with that being said, here’s a few of the best of the best, ranked.
5 Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Easily one of the best shark movies of its time, Samuel L Jackson and Saffron Burrows star in Deep Blue Sea, and it really takes the cake for ’90s CGI sharks. The story follows Burrows’ character, Dr. Susan McAlester, as a researcher for an Alzheimer’s disease cure, which is conveniently found in brain tissue of altered sharks. When things go wrong (which, of course they do) she calls Russel Franklin (Jackson) to help combat these man-eating sharks. Paired with a great cast and solid soundtrack, you can see how it made $ 165 million at the box office.
4 Apollo 13 (1995)
Ron Howard brings the true story of the Apollo 13 mission to life with Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and the late Bill Paxton leading the journey. This film dramatizes what happened on the mission to land on the moon, but when an explosion of an oxygen tank takes place, things start to go very wrong for Lovell (Hanks), Swigert (Bacon) and Haise (Paxton). This disaster movie is so good because, while it is not something nature-related, like an earthquake or a tornado, this is history being retold again. The audience is entranced by the performances of three critically-acclaimed actors, telling the frightening story of what it was like to be on that mission. You almost feel like you’re there with them on the spacecraft, due to the shaky camera and lighting, sweating along with them as they try to figure out what to do, and how to safely land Apollo 13.
3 Volcano (1997)
Inspired by the real life Parícutin volcano in Mexico, Volcano pretty much gives you all you need to know about it in the title. Tommy Lee Jones stars as Michael Roark, the city of Los Angeles’ director of emergency management, and from the beginning, he suspects that something is going wrong in his city. When a volcano erupts in the middle of downtown, it takes a stacked cast of Jones, Don Cheadle, Keith David and Anne Heche to try and stop the flow of lava. This movie is such a pure disaster film simply because of all the reckless destruction that takes place. In the end, Los Angeles is destroyed, and Tommy Lee Jones is the hero. What more could you ask for?
2 Dante’s Peak (1997)
Unlike Volcano, Dante’s Peakanother volcano movie, did absolutely terrible at the box office. It received negative reviewscertainly could not keep up with Volcano in box office revenue, and people just hated it. However, that’s what makes it so good. The CGI is unpolished, the story is already over-done and cooked, and Pierce Brosnan delivers one of his weakest performances, and yet… it’s a cult classic. The film stars Brosnan, alongside Linda Hamilton and the late Charles Hallahan. It’s based in a fictional town where a dormant volcano sits, until one day it wakes up and wreaks havoc on the sleepy little town. Chaos ensues. If you love bad disaster movies and acting that’s so weird that it’s goodlook no further and pop Dante’s Peak in. You’re in for quite a ride.
1 Twister (1996)
The first thing you need to know about Twister, is that it is the most ridiculous tornado movie ever made. The second thing you need to know, is that it is the best disaster movie ever. Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt lead this epic flick, with a handful of notable cast members surrounding them, including the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Jami Gertz, and Cary Elwes. The film is about a group of tornado chasers and their love for horrible weather, but also, each other.
Twister has something that most disaster movies ignore; the found family. Helen Hunt’s character, Dr. Jo Harding leads this group of misfits almost around the state of Oklahoma, chasing the biggest tornados they can possibly find, and using their new device, Dorothy, along the way. Twister features a number of nasty tornadoes that come sweeping in, and with them, a ton of life-or-death moments. In the end, every single person survives and the family is brought back together, as Jo Harding and Bill (Paxton) reconcile. Oh, and the villain of the story, Dr. Jones Miller (Elwes) certainly gets what’s coming to him.