Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bringin' Down the House

Sorry, Tommy.

Ever since 9/11, I have found it difficult to watch disaster movies.

One of my favorite movies for a good while was Independence Day. While high on the cheese factor, the aliens' attack on Earth, specifically the landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the White House and whatever that first building was they hit in NYC were fun to watch - because it was fiction.

I find after seeing the real thing happen, and watching the Twin Towers fall crashing to the ground on live TV, that watching similar things in the movies just isn't much fun anymore.

I think I'm at the point now where I will probably watch it again someday and not worry about it too much. But, of course, disaster movies still survive and thrive.

In the last few years we've seen The Day After Tomorrow, which featured the destruction of the Hollywood sign (a popular casualty of disaster movies), and the flooding of Manhattan Island up to the armpits of Lady Liberty. 1998's Armageddon deep-sixed the Chrysler Building. And so on.

We as humans (and Americans, I suppose) love disaster movies. We love to see calamity after calamity befall Bruce Willis, Dennis Quaid and Will Smith. We also enjoy seeing our favorite, familiar landmarks bite the dust. And I was no exception.

Until 2001.

And what bothers me today is this quote from the makers of the new TV disaster miniseries Category 7: The End of the World, airing soon on CBS. Apparently a sequel to last season's Category 6: Almost But Not Quite the End of the World, But Pretty Darn Close and Just Wait Till Next Year, it details killer hurricanes that wreak havoc upon humanity and its creations.

From Sci-Fi Wire:

The Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Pyramids, Mount Rushmore and the Arc de Triomphe are some of the world's great landmarks that the CBS digital effects team takes great delight in destroying in the upcoming miniseries Category 7: The End of the World, visual effects supervisor Craig Weiss told SCI FI Wire during an exclusive tour on Oct. 14.


Only weeks before the miniseries' Nov. 6 and 13 premiere, the digital team is working on destroying some of the world's most recognizable landmarks. The first one, the Eiffel Tower, is struck by lightning and sucked into a tornado while diners are blown off the structure and a car smashes into one of the legs of the tower.


In another nearly completed sequence, the Arc de Triomphe is struck by lightning in the heart of Paris and comes crumbling down."
It's all well and good to delight in the imaginary destruction of real things. As a kid I know I built towers out of all sorts of things, imagined they were big buildings and had Godzille (or King Kong, or the Death Star, or whatever) knock them down. It's a recurring theme to see mankind's greatest constructions taken to the cleaners at the whim of mother nature, alien visitors or horrific accidents.

But after you've seen two of the world's tallest buildings destroyed before your eyes - not by nature, but by pure malevolant evil, evil that continues to look for more ways to bring about your and your family's demise every day - and realized what actual death, destruction and chaos occur during such an event, it becomes a lot less enjoyable and more tragic.

I'm not calling for the end of disaster movies - we all need our releases. I just wish the public and filmmakers would be more cognizant of what's real and what's fantasy.

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