The hottest movies to catch during this scorcher of a summer

Post-apocalyptic and barely-future films alike reckon with planet-altering weather—and its impacts.

The second Dune film brought a much-awaited sequel as well as another sharp analogy to our own climate-changed world. But it’s not the only title putting the environment on the big screen. Climate storytelling nonprofit Good Energy recently launched the Climate Reality Check, a Bechdel-inspired test to assess if global warming has a featured role in any film by using two criteria: Does climate change exist in the movie’s universe and does a character know about it. Three popular 2023 films have passed this check: Barbie, Nyad, and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

This summer, we’ve got an eye on multiple films with environmental twists. When the weather gets scorching, they provide the perfect excuse to head for the cool breeze of movie theater AC. 


A sequel to the 1996 film Twister, it follows a former tornado chaser (modern twist: a climate scientist) who teams up with another storm-thrill-seeker to test an experimental tornado tracking system. But as the season becomes more intense because of climate change, they find themselves fighting for their lives. 

This film purposefully ties climate change into its plot; director Lee Isaac Chung, who studied biology at Yale before deciding to become a filmmaker, spoke to several storm experts to accurately depict how climate change is intensifying tornadoes. The film is in theaters July 19. 

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Much like Dune, Furiosa and the rest of the Mad Max films depict battles for water and gasoline in a scorched, postapocalyptic world. According to culture writer Noah Berlatsky, the Mad Max films point out how climate change is a result of resource exploitation, and they connect our “ecological devastation to patriarchy and hierarchy.” 

If you need any extra motivation to keep fighting the good fight, Furiosa is in theaters now, and you can preorder it on Prime Video.

The End We Start From

This film might not count as a summer hit (it came out this winter), but it depicts a climate scenario where extreme rain leads to flooding and a fight for food and shelter—and it takes place not so far from reality. 

A review in The Guardian said this climate story is not only timely but visually situated in low-lying areas of Britain that are prone to flooding in today’s world. “So many people imagine the effects of climate disaster in only the most abstract terms, and don’t grasp that it means fire and flood.” 

It’s now available to stream on YouTube, Apple TV, and Prime Video.