A lot of people who live in L.A. have lived in New York, and many New Yorkers have spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles. Despite this bi-coastal interchange, the screenwriters and filmmakers calling Hollywood home seem to have a passion for demolishing the Big Apple on film.
If you don’t think the urge to obliterate America’s most famous city hasn’t gotten out of hand, let’s reflect on Superman’s utterly out-of-character rampage through Metropolis (which everyone knows is really New York) in the blockbuster Man of Steel. Although the audience only saw buildings crumble to the earth, the death toll — if Kalel’s epic boxing match with General Zod had actually gone down — would have killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians.
Still don’t believe Hollywood has it out for Manhattan, the typical focal point for the apocalyptic carnage? Well, here’s a list of some of the films that have brought the city to its knees, or wiped it off the map completely, to convince you.
In the distant future, rising ocean levels engulf New York. If that isn’t bad enough, farther down the line (another two thousand years), the city gets buried beneath a mountain of ice during a new ice age.
Meteorites take out major chunks of New York, but thanks to the efforts of Bruce Willis, and thespian Ben Affleck, the city and the planet are sparred total annihilation.
A monster pounds the bejesus out of the Big Apple. This is a classic city-destroying technique — but this time we see it from a ton of POV (point of view) shots, also known as “found” footage. Big, angry monster hates people, and skyscrapers, apparently.
A giant meteor is heading for Earth. Part of it crashes into the Atlantic, creating a super-sized tsunami that takes out New York and the eastern seaboard, as well as David Duchovny’s baby mama, Téa Leoni. Luckily, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) survives.
Escape From New York
The city is still standing in this John Carpenter epic, although Manhattan has been transformed into a maximum-security prison — which dampens the tourist trade by a substantial amount.
A colossal Marshmallow Man rampages through the city, tearing up a lot of valuable real estate.
Another monster crashes into NYC. Everyone is counting on Godzilla to stop Matthew Broderick from making a mess of things — or maybe we’ve got that backwards.
I Am Legend
Will Smith, his dog, and zombies run around an exceptionally desolate urban landscape. At least this movie predicted a future Batman and Superman cinematic pairing, but the director really should have warned us about Ben Affleck.
Aliens blow up the city. Will Smith wasn’t there this time, but he comes in a bit later and saves the planet, of course.
Pick your version. Either way, a huge heart-broken Gorilla has is way with The City That Never Sleeps. No one sleeps because of all of the city-demolishing carnage that’s constantly going on.
Planet of the Apes
New York gets buried in the future. The audience is left to decide if it was due to the effects of time, nuclear war, or if those damn monkeys were behind it all.
Man of Steel (Metropolis)
As we’ve already stated, Superman and Zod have no respect for New York property values — or human life.
Pretty much the same deal as Man of Steel, except more superheroes are thrown into the mix, along with a bunch of clumsy space aliens on flying wave runners.
The Day After Tomorrow
Things get really cold, really fast. New York floods, and then it freezes. Maybe everyone should just move to a sunny, mountainous country, like Peru.