Friday, May 28, 2004

Screaming Disaster.

I've got the lyrics to "There's Got To Be A Morning After" stuck in my head."

It's all the fault of the Times. Damn liberal newspapers. I was reading their review of The Day After Tomorrow, and the reviewer mentioned the song in the process of drawing a comparison between said movie and the disaster movies of the 70's. "Day After" is a sort of disaster movie, although of the more ambitious super-genre "end of the world movie." Strangely, although I adore end of the world movies in all their silly, hysterical splendor, I find disaster movies don't interest me so much. I have never sought out Towering Inferno. I didn't see the volcano movies of a couple years ago (though I was tempted: volcanoes are intrinsically cool).

I did see The Core, in which the world nearly ends after it's molten core stops rotating and the magnetic field of the earth goes away. It was awful, truly. Not a good movie in any sense of the word.

But it was fun, with big stupid science like asteroid-sized geodes in the mantle of the earth. And that scene in the beginning, where a pilot lands a space shuttle in the middle of Los Angeles was just silly-fun. But mostly I liked it because lots of fake people died horribly.

The Times, of course, does not approve of The Day After Tomorrow in which weather goes berserk. Damn liberal newspapers. I will go see it. Reviewers, I often think, are handicapped by thinking what they review is important. This is not so true with books, which sometimes are important. It becomes glaringly clear with movies and television reviewers, who are rarely talking about anything important at all.

The Times reviewer didn't like it because it was schmaltzy and the science is improbable. I will like it, mostly because the science will be bad, but in places wonderfully imagined, and also because lots of fake people will die.

I will have fun, and that's what the Times reviewer misses. Bad movies can be fun. In fact, bad movies can be fun-er, much in the same way that cartoons are better for the soul than homework. Though homework is better, in the long run, for job prospects.

The review over to is obtuse to the point of cluelessness.

Despite snowstorms in New Delhi, tornados destroying Los Angeles, hail the size of baseballs falling on Tokyo, Scotland becoming flash frozen, the royal family evacuating England and New York drowning in a tidal wave, the U.S. government still fails to act. Hall is reduced to pleading with the vice president in a Capitol Hill hallway, where he is dismissed as only one man with an unproved theory.

Which seems to me like a direct jab at the lack of imagination that many conservatives have about global warming. Whether you believe it's happening or not is one matter. Thinking that environmental precautions are liberal hysteria... I dunno. I think that's tunnel vision.

Another CNN article goes so far as to print some blathering quote from a scientist about how "he hopes none of us rubes think the movie's real." Duh. The concern about realness and fakeness is only of passing interest in movies. They're only two hours long, for crying out loud. Three if you're expected to be a real fanboy like for, say, the Lord of the Rings. Or Malcolm X. Realness can only take up so much room in movies.

If you want real, I can recommend, off the top of my head, many realer disaster books. Lucifer's Hammer. Dust (even has footnotes). Mother of Storms. Books are good.

Expecting realness out of movies is like expecting the truth out of your parents. In fact, I think expecting realness out of fiction is a form of cowardice. Every once in a while, when talking to people who don't like science fiction, they tell me that it's because it isn't real. Well... Jeez. Neither is Portnoy's Complaint, or One Life to Live, or Cold Mountain. None of it's real. It's fiction.

My love for the end of the world genre has something to do with scope (not the mouthwash, the sort of totality of scale), and something to do with being a mean person, deep in my heart of hearts. I don't mind seeing my enemies burnt in effigy. I consider it a sign of civilization that I stick to effigies.

Anyways, back to the real disaster. It's not even the regular version of "Morning After" stuck in my head. It's the fake version that Chef and his Succubus fiance sing together in that one episode of South Park.

Damn liberal newspapers.

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