It’s amazing how quickly people’s perspectives change because of time. When Hollywood started creating disaster movies twenty, thirty years ago, people thought it an impossibility. Bully, they said. That would never happen. Fast forward to 2011, and the very same people who scoffed at the farfetched idea that was world destruction are the very ones scared to death of what might happen next. What will really happen when Mother Nature seeks payback? Is there really anything we can do to save ourselves? Perhaps, looking back at these disaster movies could give us a clue. Maybe we had the answer all along, and were just too preoccupied to see it. Here is a list of the ones that stuck with me after all these years.
This film starring Helen Hunt and Bill Pullman is among the very first disaster movies that I remember in awe. It deals with a series of tornadoes, and a group of scientists and weathermen chasing after it to determine its strength and how to the avert damage. What I remember most about this film is the flying cow, and the soda can contraption, but I guess the lesson that can be learned from this movie is to go underground should a tornado outbreak hit your city, or town.
In the age of climate change, the destruction wrought by tornadoes may seem like small potatoes. But a bigger threat lies beyond our planet. Deep Impact, which stars Elijah Wood as amateur astronomer Leo Bierderman, Morgan Freeman as the president of the United States and Leelee Sobieski as Bierdman’s girlfriend deals with the threat of a direct collision with a comet large enough to wipe out mankind. The story questions how mankind would survive if the threat is imminent and unforseen. Lesson to be learned, stay close to your loved ones. If you belong to a country with no preparedness plan or nuclear bomb shelter to protect you, the best thing you could do is be with family.
Mankind cannot depend on astronauts alone when dealing with asteroids, especially if there is no time left to think about alternative solutions. In this Bruce Willis/Ben Afleck/ Liv Tyler starrer, oil driller Harry Stamper (Willis) and his crew are sent out into space to drill and embed a nuclear bomb on a comet the size of Texas bound for a collision with Earth. I liked this movie because of Bruce Willis’ portrayal of a gruff but loving father to Liv Tyler and his ultimate sacrifice to see that the planet (and his daughter) survives. Lesson to be learned: Sometimes, the biggest heroes are not those who claim to know everything. Sometimes, all its takes is the heart and the willingness to give up something precious in order for others to live on.
Speaking of drilling, The Core deals with a group of experts sent out on a mission to jump start the Earth’s core, or else, its Bye Bye gravity and we all die. Pretty simple, right? But as with all disaster movies, the teams are always plunged into the unknown, having to deal with unforeseen events that they are not equipped to deal with. The Core illustrates the natural ingenuity and resourcefulness of man in the direst of situations. Lesson to be learned: Never give up. Always have a Plan B, C, D…
TDAT is one of the disaster films that I feel is closest to the world’s situation now. It deals with climate change wreaking havoc on the world’s temperatures and causing various disasters brought about by extreme weather conditions. However, more than a disaster movie, the movie, which stars Dennis Quaid as the paleoclimatologist who discovered the aberration, deals more with the great lengths parents will take to make sure that their kids will survive the end of the world, in this case — Jake Gyllenhal, who plays Quaid’s levelheaded son, who pretty much kept things together at the public library which served as a temporary headquarters of New Yorkers caught in the snowstorm. Lesson learned: Be kind to nature. Keep a level head when faced with an emergency and take stock of what can be used to survive — at least until rescue arrives.
The grandaddy of all disaster movies, this disaster film took its cue from a prediction from the Mayan calendar that the world will end on December 21, 2012 based on the alignment of stars and the planets on that day. The film, however, draws premise on the crust displacement theory where the extreme heat of the Earth’s core causes it to become unstable. At the same time, countries build ships (a la Noah’s Ark) and sells seats to the world’s richest men. In my opinion, this movie covers the most destruction on Planet Earth than I’ve seen in any other movie, and depicts the imbalance of power in the world. It became even more scary when things that happened in the movie started happening in real life (tsunamis, earthquakes, and massive floods). Lesson learned: Humanity and compassion for our fellowman is what separates men from animals. We should never forget that.
Now that we’ve covered natural disasters, it’s pretty safe to move on to monsters. This is an innovative take on the end of the world (from the perspective of an amateur video) and how a group of friends try to save one of their own from an unknown force attacking the city. This movie is like Blair Witch meets Armageddon. It’s pretty hard to survive a monster attack, but the best bet is to stick together. It’s better to have someone watching your back.
INDEPENDENCE DAY/KNOWING/ THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
These three movies are placed under one category because they all deal with aliens. However, while Independence Day is all about alien invasion, Knowing and The Day the Earth Stood Still is all about wiping out the human race and starting a new genesis. Independence Day pretty much took its cue from Armageddon and The Core in the American pilots’ kamikazee mentality, which yielded positive results for mankind. Knowing, and the TDTESS, on the other hand pretty much handed the victory to the aliens, except they’re not really the villains. These two films managed to place man in the center of scrutiny and makes him question whether or not his race is worthy to be saved. Lesson to be learned: What happens to our race is mostly what we deserve. If we don’t want it to get out of hand, we should reflect on our shortcomings and try to correct them. Whether or not the world ends tomorrow, we can never tell.
So, we’ve pretty much covered the basics. If want to survive the end of the world, we have to 1.) stick together, 2.) hide (this will depend on the type of disaster, 3.) keep pantries well stocked with supplies, 4.) take stock of what can be used), 5.) don’t lose sight of what is important…. but one thing I forgot to mention, is what most people would really benefit from doing in times of trouble. PRAY. The Lord will have the answers, and whether or not we will be saved, He will decide. But God helps those who help themselves so better be prepared, just the same. And one more thing. Love life. That way, whether or not the world crumbles tomorrow, you will go with no regret.
Sheesh, now I’m being morbid. All this talk of disaster (real or reel) is putting me in a contemplative mood. Hope you learned something from today’s post.