Three scenes were played before our eager eyes, the first of which depicting the destruction of downtown Los Angeles by mother nature herself. Now, it's been a while since anyone in the office was chased by a tornado but, were twisters to descend on a major metropolitan area and begin tearing it to pieces, we imagine it would look much like this. Effects that were, according to director Roland Emmerich, only half finished managed to impress us more than any digital effect in recent memory as everything from LAX to the Capitol Records building were torn apart by the rampaging storm. The moment when two such air funnels combine to create the mother of all cyclones puts the whole of Twister to shame.
And, as impressive as all that was, the next clip managed to top it. New York City was the venue for the second scene of destruction as a tidal wave sweeps over Liberty Island, engulfing the statue itself, and looming over Manhattan. Stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum wade through waist deep water in the streets, making their way to the Public Library for shelter. Rossum goes back to help a French tourist escape from the back seat of a taxi, unaware of the hundred metre wall of water gushing down the street towards her. Gyllenhaal is forced to drag her away and into the building before the torrent caves in the windows and hurls a car through the front of the structure.
Given that water is the most notoriously difficult effect to capture realistically, the scenes were quite simply breathtaking. A bird's eye view of the flow consuming the big apple was as real as current technology allows and, reminiscent of Independence Day's wall of fire, you can see just how far effects have progressed in the eight years since ID4 was released.
The final clip was a more character-driven spot with Dennis Quaid advising the president to evacuate the Northern Hemisphere (nothing major then) as the icy storm consumes most of the country. Gyllenhaal and Rossum are still holed up in the New York library with other refugees and are advised to try and wait out the big freeze, burning anything they can to fend off the rapidly falling temperatures. The waters outside have stopped rising, but that doesn't stop a huge oil tanker ship from merrily cruising through the Manhattan streets.