Emmerich's Best Disaster Films: From Independence Day (1996) to Moonfall (2022)
The infamous disastrous film director, Roland Emmerich, has directed several impacting films that were long lasting throughout his career in the horror genre. While many of his films are disaster horror films, they are sure to leave any viewer in terror due to the realistic encounters the characters throughout his stories go through. Not only has he blown up the White House on three different occasions, but he has also destroyed the entire earth, time and time again. There is something alluring and deeply frightening about massive destruction, whether through man-made or natural events, which Emmerich has been able to harness and flourish. This list will compile of his most impressive films that left lasting impacts on society and reflected societal fears of the times.
Independence Day (1996)
Starting off with an Emmerich classic, the film Independence Day originally released in 1996 has seen several adaptations since its production. The film does not disappoint on the disaster spectacle as flying saucers fill up the previous blue skies of Earth. The opening of the film is eerie, with intense music that leaves every viewer on the edge of their seats with the intuition that something terrible is about to happen. The images of mass destruction with fireballs erupting in large cities and flying cars seen in flames set Emmerich apart from other disaster horror films as he used amazing CGI effects that bring the sci-fi aspect to life like never before. While the characters and the story do not have much depth, the epic disaster seen throughout the film makes up for it. One main fear that film analysts may recognize throughout this film is the fear of the unknown, presented through the fear of the aliens in the film. The unearthly scenes filled with bright lights juxtaposed with the empty endless darkness leaves Independence Day one of the most memorable Emmerich films to this day.
While some critics claim that Emmerich’s adaptation of the 1950’s film Godzilla (1954) is more cheesy and less epic, the 1998 adaptation of the menacing monster follows a different storyline from the original, making it a whole new film filled with destruction left in the massive monster’s wake. This version of the film follows the French atomic bomb tests in the Southern Pacific Ocean. However, soon after these atomic tests, the authorities spot a strange, dinosaur-like creature swimming around the Panama Canal. The scientists soon discover that the monster was of their own making from the atomic radiation, unfortunately it is too late, and the larger than life lizard starts wreaking havoc. The creature design for this adaptation of Godzilla is extremely different from the original with stronger, more defined muscles giving the monster more of a dinosaur appearance, which adds to the anxiety and fears in the audience highlighted through the characters themselves. As many know, Godzilla as a monster within the horror genre represents fears of atomic destruction from the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during the second World War. Although some scenes throughout the film are cheesy, Godzilla is one of the most impactful Emmerich disaster films from his career.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Despite the flaws of the film The Day After Tomorrow released in 2004, this Emmerich film is arguably the most impactful and important disaster films created by the horror director. The scariest aspect of this disaster film is the overwhelming reality of global warming and climate change, which is the main theme throughout the film. However, despite the ultimate destruction that the characters are left in and experience throughout the film, there is a glimmer of hope for them in the film. This is very different from other disaster horror films and other Emmerich films in general as most disaster horror films do not develop much more than the massive chaos on screen. Arguably, the message of the film is more relevant than when it was released almost 20 years ago, making this one of the most important Emmerich films.
Finally, one of the most exciting films on the Roland Emmerich list. While the latest film in the Roland Emmerich collection is yet to be released, Moonfall, which is set to be released next year, is pretty predictable mainly because of just how destructive Roland Emmerich makes his disaster films. It is reasonable to suggest the director might blow up a large chunk of the Earth like in previous films, or the Moon as the title suggests. The film stars Halle Berry as a NASA executive who claims to know how to stop the chaotic events about to unfold. However, we’ll just have to wait for the film to be released to fully experience the epic destruction floating around in the deep imagination of Roland Emmerich.
Most of these films are available for viewing on Amazon Prime Video for rental and none of them will disappoint those looking for a real, destructive scare to set them up for the spooky season just around the corner.
Moonfall (2022) Official Trailer