Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Where's 2013?

I watched the movie 2012 on DVD the other night on my old 1991 Panasonic 35" color TV, and it was still pretty spectacular. I can imagine how this film must have played on a movie screen, or even on a 50" plasma (which is one of my more materialistic yearnings). There's something about movies like this one that I find mesmerizing. Even though there are so many ridiculous moments and an extraordinary requirement to suspend our disbelief. For example:
- as the world crumbles, people are still showing up for work at media stations
- John Cusack and his family manage to avoid dying when their limo drives through a falling office building, in a camper while avoiding hurtling lava missiles, or in a tiny plane when the runway is collapsing underneath them, driving a car out of a cargo plane going 200 miles an hour onto the peaks of the Himalayas, etc., etc.
- the Chinese manage to build huge ships (in tunnels blown out of those same Himalayan mountains) that are strong enough to withstand the forces of earthquakes and tsunamis, within 2 years and without anyone finding out about it (well, I can actually buy the notion that they wouldn't let anyone find out about it).

I could go on and on, but I really don't mind how preposterous the movie's situation is. That's part of the fun. Who wants to watch a movie about the end of the world that's completely believable? My sleep was disturbed enough with the 2012 fantasy.

But there is something weirdly comforting about watching movies like 2012 and Knowing (another end-of-the-world because the sun is getting too active movie - which got terrible reviews but I nevertheless was fascinated by it and watched it twice). We can sit in the comfort of our own homes (or in a theater with 1000 calories of popcorn in front of us) and realize that our crazy, unjust, unsafe, racially polarized, us vs. them world is at least not ending.

What I really want Hollywood to create next are the sequels to these movies. I don't mean the dystopian film genre (The Road, Children of Men, The Matrix, I am Legend, Blade Runner, etc.) I'm talking about 2013 (A Year After 2012). I want to know what those people who managed to survive while 6 billion plus others did not now do every day to rebuild the world. How will they manage? What will they do without the infrastructure of the world? What government will they make? How will they grow food, make medicines... Let's be specific. What we really need is a good HBO miniseries to take us through a 2012 type of disaster and then the rebuilding. I always feel like these disaster movies end just when everything will get really complicated and interesting.

Yes, it's mesmerizing to see landmarks blown up and exciting to root for those scrappy survivors. But I'd really like to see how John Cusack makes his way with his family in their new world, or how those two sweet kids manage to remake civilization in a new non-earthly paradise in Knowing. Will they do better than Adam and Eve? Are human beings capable at all of being able to rebuild the world better than we have now? I'd like to hope so even if the evidence suggests otherwise.

And it's that hope that is the unscripted sequel to all these disaster movies.

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