Ross Bonaime, Staff Writer

This week, director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) will destroy the world once again with his newest disaster film, 2012.

As audiences, we’ve seen many horrible disasters and the many ways the world has come to complete destruction. Here are the greatest disaster films:

10. Sunshine
Before director Danny Boyle turned a slumdog into a millionaire, he made this space-epic about a group of people who go to “restart” the sun to save the freezing earth.

The slow breakdown of the astronauts with the fate of the world at their hands makes for a thrilling space drama.

9. Cloverfield
An unidentified monster destroys New York in the surprise hit from last year. The film uses a first-person point of view to generate a greater sense of fear than in many other past disaster-films. The haunting monster that easily looms over the Big Apple is chilling.

8. Independence Day
Yes, it’s cheesy and ridiculous. Yes, it’s over-the-top. And yes, it’s odd that aliens use Apple computers. But the film that made Will Smith a movie star is a fun action film that goes for cool explosions and hilarious one-liners.

7. 28 Days Later
Imagine waking up in an abandoned hospital, then realizing that a majority of the world has been infected with a virus that turns people into zombielike creatures. This film, also directed by Boyle, takes a dark look at our world filled with mayhem.

In Pixar’s great film, humans pack the world so full with trash that they are forced to flee into space until the trash has been taken care of.

Pixar’s fantastic look at commercialism and humans’ laziness is a unique take on humans’ destructiveness.

5. The Matrix
As far as world-destruction films go, it doesn’t get much worse for humans than in The Matrix, who after destroying the sun, are used as batteries for the robots that have taken over.

The Wachowski brothers created a dark, tragic future for a society that leaned too much on technology.

4. Godzilla (1954)
At this point, Godzilla may be somewhat of a joke after countless sequels and spin-offs. But the original, an incredible metaphor for the effect of the atomic bomb on the people of Japan, helped influence many films like Jaws. It is one of film’s finest examples of social commentary.

3. Children of Men
Alfonso Cuarón’s gritty future where women can no longer have children is bleak and depressing. Cuarón’s gorgeous direction with astoundingly beautiful shots creates a realistic and hopeless world waiting for their time to run out.

2. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy goes into the war room where a nuclear holocaust is only minutes away and the fate of the world is left in the hands of crazy politicians. Peter Seller’s greatest role has him playing three equally hilarious characters and features one of the most classic and haunting endings of all time.

1. King Kong (1933)
One of the first great movie monsters, King Kong, was plucked from his home in the jungle and forced into New York City where he stomps around looking for his lost love, actress Ann Darrow.

King Kong is one of the all -time great disaster films, not only because Kong’s ascent of the Empire State Building is incredible and his destruction is great, but because his feelings are understandable and his plight is misunderstood, making him sympathetic, yet scary. King Kong showed that you don’t necessarily have to be a villain to leave damage in your wake.