Environmental catastrophe has been one of the prime themes on which numerous films get made across the globe every year. Depicting the varied impacts of climate change, Hollywood filmmakers have quite often tried to tell the story with an emphasis on an impending disaster over humankind.
Here are a few films in the last couple of decades which showcased the terrors of climate change:
‘Don’t Look Up’ (2021)
Two scientists (played by actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) try to warn the world about an impending asteroid strike on the earth. People don’t believe them. So much so that even the governments of various nations don’t believe in their theories and laugh them off. Now, these two scientists must embark on a massive media tour to warn humanity of the impending comet that would destroy the world. This movie confronts contemporary world fears with realism while avoiding nihilism by using an en-route asteroid as a stand-in for climate change.
When a comet larger than the one that killed the dinosaurs approaches Earth, John Garrity (played by actor Gerrard Butler) must save himself and his family. The planet-killing comet hurtles toward Earth and John Garrity, his estranged wife, and their young son embark on a harrowing quest to find refuge. The Garrity's encounter the finest and worst of humanity amid horrific reports of towns being levelled. As the world's end approaches, their remarkable journey culminates in a frantic and last-minute flight to a possible safe haven. ‘Greenland’ is more about a family's strength to endure in the midst of a global disaster.
Following an unprecedented succession of catastrophic disasters, the world's leaders collaborated to build an extensive network of satellites to govern the global climate and keep everyone safe. But now something has gone wrong in that system itself. The system designed to defend Earth is gone against it and is attacking the entire earth. It's a race against time to discover the true threat before a global geostorm wipes out everything and everyone. It is up to a group of scientists and astronomers, led by actor Gerard Butler, to come together with government authorities and try to go up into space and manually rectify the mistake that has made these satellites go rogue.
‘San Andreas’ (2015)
An apparently perfect day turns catastrophic when California's infamous San Andreas fault causes the greatest recorded earthquake, magnitude 9. Ray Gaines (played by actor Dwayne Johnson), an LAFD (Los Angeles Fire Department) search-and-rescue chopper pilot, must navigate the damage from Los Angeles to San Francisco in order to transport his estranged wife (played by actress Carla Gugino) and their only daughter (played by actress Alexandra Daddario) to safety. He must utilise his experience as a Los Angeles Fire Department rescue pilot to save his family from collapsing buildings and tsunamis.
Solar flares, volcanic eruptions, rising seas, and violent earthquakes are all experienced by an ensemble cast that includes actors John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Woody Harrelson. The billions of people on Earth are ignorant that the planet has an expiry date. World authorities undertake covert preparations for the survival of certain elements of society in response to the warnings of an American scientist (played by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor). When the world collapses, unsuccessful writer Jackson Curtis (played by John Cusack) struggles to guide his family to safety as the world falls apart. It's a race against time to save themselves and the globe before the date when the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world.
‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (2004)
Not many would know that ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ is actually based on writer Art Bell's book ‘The Coming Global Superstorm’. The film, directed by filmmaker Roland Emmerich, recounts a series of events that usher in a new ice age throughout the planet. The world comes to a halt as scientists begin tracking a succession of enormous storms in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. The plot of the movie revolves around the interactions of climatologists, scientists and political figures. Also, stuck in the heart of the storm are two youngsters (played by actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum) who find themselves stuck in this catastrophic event. On the other hand, there is the father of the boy (played by actor Dennis Quaid) who is moving heaven and earth to come and rescue his son from this disaster.