Thursday, August 6, 2009

'Disastrous' Summer

Did we really need another 'Meteor'?

Didn't we see this movie a couple dozen times already? And, done a hell of a lot better than this one? Armageddon, anyone? A movie with an actual story, believable characters and at least some attempt at realism? How about Deep Impact? And if memory serves, there was even a little movie in 1979 entitled, you guessed it - Meteor, with Sean Connery (and Henry Fonda as the President).

But, NBC in its infinite wisdom, must have felt disaster movies are 'in'. And hey, let's go with a meteor, that never gets old. And if rehashing a meteor movie, and doing it with lackluster actors, a ridiculously low budget and inferior effects wasn't enough, they throw in an environmental disaster flick, The Storm. (I'd also argue their summer inclusion of 'Merlin' is a different sort of disaster, but we'll stick with catastrophe movies for now).

So, to follow on the trail of my previous post: "Why are they doing this?"

I'd like to suggest that 'they' are doing it - presenting these glimpses into potential worldwide destruction - because it's all part of a larger... conspiracy is too big a word. More like, propaganda. There's a popular theory among UFO buffs that all those UFO/alien movies in the 1950's and '60s were just some sort of government plot to desensitize the American public to the idea of extraterrestrial contact. To inure us to the fact that 'they' are or could very soon, be among us. Some even claimed that the government helped fund Spielberg's Close Encounters to get the public to feel all warm and fuzzy toward the invaders.

But whether or not there was any truth to that, the same concept might apply here: desensitization. Bombard us with disaster movies. Even bad ones, cheesy as they are, have their merit - especially when the public isn't watching anything else. But take heart - there are better ones coming - a slew of them. 2012, with John Cusak, is due out this fall. Knowing just came out on DVD, and at least had an original premise and a little twist. One of the new Fall shows is entitled Day One, about life enduring after most of civilization is wiped out.

Are they trying to tell us something? We saw a bunch of these kind of movies ten years ago, before the new millennium, feeding on our collective awe (and fear) of the momentous, if meaningless, date change. But what's the reasoning now?

Guess we'll have to wait and see - does it have anything to do with the Mayan Calendar, the 2012 end date? Does NASA have some information they're not sharing? Is it all just fear about the Swine Flu?

Whatever the case, I can only make this plea to NBC and others: at least try to make these movies different; original, and in a word - better.

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