Disaster Porn: how Hollywood destroys the world

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A journey on the disaster movies and how Hollywood destroys the world.

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Disaster Porn: how Hollywood destroys the world

  1. 1. iDisaster Porn our appet destructi n ite for o
  2. 2. i i ood t r o y s t h e wwoo rr l dd ollyw desHHollywood l
  3. 3. i MASS DESTRUCTIONWARNING: i -- AND spoilers -- AHEAD!
  4. 4. SEVERE SEVERE  RISK END  OF  THE  WORLD  IMMINENT HIGH SEVERE  RISK  OFEND  OF  THE  WORLD  AROUND  THE  CORNER ELEVATED SIGNIFICANT  RISK  OF APOCALYPSE  NEAR  YOU  BUT  NOT  YET GUARDED GENERAL  EVERYDAY  RISK  OF END  OF  THE  WORLD,  BE  PREPARED LOW LOW  RISK  OFEND  OF  THE  WORLD,  REMAIN  WATCHFUL 5
  5. 5. i i
  6. 6. Disaster Porn i
  7. 7. our appe destructi n tite for o i Overview iDisaster Porn
  8. 8. DisasterMovies
  9. 9. The sky is falling fallin g ? Oooh, pretty!* *  We’ve  always  had  a  thing  for;disast er porn
  10. 10. 21st Centuryand Disaster Intimate bedfellows
  11. 11. The tone was set by 9/11 and theinstant dissemination of informationaccross the globe through newsagencies, domestic digital cameras,mobile phones and the Internet...
  12. 12. The first decade of the 21st century showed a world thatseems to have become beset by ever-more cataclymic effects
  13. 13. It was, in many ways, no different from previous decadesbut our access to these events has been made easythrough the proliferation of new media technologies...
  14. 14. ...and we can reliveeyewitness visual andaudio testaments timeand time again...
  15. 15. f t no w people o as an exa mple, righ re struggli ngJust na i, Perú, Chi le and Japa effects ofHait ting ope with t he devasta recently... to c em at affected th d isasters th
  16. 16. There are daily newsabout rising oil prices...
  17. 17. Falling house prices...
  18. 18. “THE CREDIT CRUNCH”
  19. 19. g str eetS pir alin ime s... cr
  20. 20. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq...
  21. 21. and never to far awaythe panics of flupandemic and
  22. 22. In short, never hasthere been a bettertime for makers ofdisaster films!
  23. 23. Disaster FictionGlobal audiences are now servedup the details of people´ssuffering and miraculous survival
  24. 24. ster Disa ity Real mobil es and -hand red on ents of first captu fragmIm ages corde rs are f disasters cam ords o al rec world person ut the througho
  25. 25. Disaster Reality
  26. 26. ...forming a tsunami of grainyblurred, shaky video clips... 28
  27. 27. Every disaster film cliché is seenfor real and we either turn awayor, more often, are TRANSFIXED
  28. 28. street man ifestationsare the big ragments lmination-o f all these f-and cu
  29. 29. n films itive er-por seeded primDisast me deep-sa tisfy so n us w ith theyearni ng withi loud bangs, and losions,exp -pou ndin gh eartadre naline
  30. 30. h filmsThe foc us of suc tacularis on the s p e c i t y and a small calam roup of p eople in g nent dang er , and how immi y must c ope or the evise a m et h o d d of escape
  31. 31. Tensionped by ois devel concent rating on ous mea nsthe miraculof re scue andwhethe r all the aracters ( usually in ch n all-star cast) have a th e inner stre ngth to surv ive the ordeal
  32. 32. urney to filmic jo of n a long portraitIs has bee close-up of thisre ach this , but as the rest lywood has des truction will detail, hol very pres entation asters from the thrived on dis ilm-making beginn ings of f
  33. 33. In  the  2003  docu mentary,   Los Angeles P lays Itself   the  director  and  fi lm  scholar   Thom  Andersen  m akes  the   argument  that  “di saster  movies  tend  to  ap pear  at  moments  when  a   culture  is  in  crisis  about  the  leg i5macy  of  authority”  (hence  th e  burgeoning   of  the  genre  in  the  p ost-­‐Watergate  yea rs)
  34. 34. Fic(onal  representa(ons  of  natural  destruc(on  on  a  massive  scale—fires,  floods,  earthquakes—must  be  somehow  paradoxically  comfor(ng,  he  theorizes,  perhaps  because  they  allow  us  to  imagine  the  worst  fate  the  gods  can  visit  upon  us,  while  s(ll  allowing  us,  the  viewers,  to  survive
  35. 35. Disastershave  been  the  subject  of  film-­‐goers  fascina(on  since  the  Sme  of  silent  film  epics,  and  this  interest  conSnues  to  exist  up  to  the  present  Sme
  36. 36. h es! ro ma spny tast ake so orm tlyCa n t ent f e mos al ca er r ff they a r natur di t - bu made o r an- t he m e ei an b or ey cding Th en y the y or p ng, or call im oi o ng xist lo an eally c b glo
  37. 37. isaster films,  a  sub-­‐gen re  Dof  acSon  films,  hit  their  peak  in  the  decade  of  the   1970s l-starBig-budget disaster films provided al typecasts and interlocking, Grand Hotel-stories, with suspenseful action and tural)impending crises (man-made or na , in loca les such as aboard imperiled airliners ocean-trains, dirigibles, sinking or wrecked ers, lin ers, or in towering burning skyscrap s crowded stadiums or earthquake zone OIen  noted  for  their  visual and   spec ial effects,  but  not  their  ac(ng performances  
  38. 38. Genera:ons  of  cu;ng-­‐edge  specia l effect s i  have  met  scene-­‐chewing  ac:ng  (heroic  sacrifice,  cowardice,  bonding)  in  blockbuster  films  about  humans  and  catastrophes The 1950s saw nuclear nightmares (monstrous s animals and the scientist who loved them) like   THEM
  39. 39. Disaster MoviesA 1970s renaissance included Earthquake (1974),Meteor (1979) and Irwin Allen shipwrecks andskyscraper fires (Towering Inferno, 1974). Both“nature” and human greed figure as causes The  genre  also  shares  features  with science fiction
  40. 40. s,En semble casts mingle current idol ouscaricaturish villains and glamor risk;couples, often with children at  and  New  York  City,  NY,  Los  Angeles,  CAW ashington,  DC  are  frequent  targets,  reaffirming  American  images  of   es superiority  even  in  interplanetary  cris
  41. 41. A  vigorous  1990s  cycle  includes  Jurassic  Park  (1993),  Twister  (1996)  (tornadoes),  Volcano  (1997),  Godzilla  (1998)  (transmuSng  Japanese  nuclear  nightmares),  Deep  Impact  (1998)  and  Armageddon  (1998)  (meteors);  Titanic  (1997)  shares  features  of  the  genre.  This  florescence  reflected  fears  of  the  millennium,  but  it  also  pushed  the  fronSers  of  computer-­‐generated  effects  and  global  box-­‐office  profits
  42. 42. Once com puter effects b ecame th norm, thi e ngs got alittle out The arms of contro race in d l effects h igital as contri buted to ratchetin the g up of apocal yptic scenar ios
  43. 43. Along with showing thespectacular disaster, thesefilms concentrate on thechaotic events surroundingthe disaster, includingefforts for survival, theeffects upon individualsand families, and what-ifscenarios!
  44. 44. The best disaster films comment upon thenegative effects of advancing technology ,demonstrate the hubris of scientists andother individuals, deliver uplifting morallessons of sacrifice, and provide ahow-to in terms of survival skills
  45. 45. Most  disaster  films  have  large-­‐scale  special effects  (especially  in  the  recent  pasts  mega-­‐budget  spectaculars)
  46. 46. he   rs   faced  with  tHug e  casts  of  sta ero  or  heroine  crisis,  a  p ersevering  h n, ton Hesto lled  (i.e., Charl a ueen,  etc.)  c nst   Steve McQ  struggle  agai e on  to  lead  th up ny plot-lines the  thr eat  and  ma ters l:ple  charac affec:ng  mu
  47. 47. In many cases, the evil orselfish individuals are thefirst to succumb to theconflagration
  48. 48. As  in  any  sub-­‐genre,  the  move  to  capitalize  on  the  disaster film   trend   has   led   to   many  sub-par disaster films,   with   weak   and   unsubtle,  formulaic   plots,   improbable   circumstances   and  bad   science,   poor   character   development,   and  laughable   ac:ng   from   third-­‐rate   stars   portraying  cliched  characters
  49. 49. 2012 : The Mayan signals the en calendar d of time, on December 12 , 2012, bringin total global de g struction. As th start to fall ap ings art, the hero JCusak must sa ohn ve us all (or aleast his roma t ntic interest)
  50. 50. Despite its massive scale of destruction, 2012will be familiar to anyone whose seen any movieabout an earthquake, volcano, aquatic disaster,or celestial body striking the Earth
  51. 51. Roland Emmerich’s 2012 is jammed with every cliche and tropeever found in a Hollywood disaster movie, while giving the Earth anover-the-top pummeling. It’s a reasonably fun flick at times,if you don’t think about it … at all
  52. 52. "I said to myself t more di hat Ill d saster m o to end a ovie, bu one ll disaste t it has packed r movies everythi . So I ng in 20 12."Did youknow? Roland Director Emme :  Independ rich Th e  Day  Af ence  Da er  Tomo y,   row,  Go dzila ,  2012
  53. 53. 2012: ICE AGEThe eruption of Mt Fuji — a “Supervolcano” —covers the earth in choking clouds. Humanityhurtles toward extinction as a group of scientistsfights to break the grip of the new ice age2012: DOOMSDAY When astronomers discovered the phenomena of magnetic tornadoes on the planet Mercury, they were amazed by the destructive power of these gargantuan solar-fueled magnetic fields…but they never imagined witnessing the catastrophic forces in their own backyards
  54. 54. 2012: SUPERNOVAA scientist tries to save the Earth from the deadlyblast of a star gone supernova.Decoding the Past: 56Doomsday 2012 -The End of DaysHistory Channel documentary on the Mayanpredictions
  55. 55. But for those who crave thiskind of bloodless destructiveforce-of-nature fest,you could do a lot worseLikeThe Day After Tomorrow, for starters
  56. 56. The Day AfterTomorrow (2004): Globalwarming hits crisis point as NewYork turns arctic and Manhattangets the worst of it with a tsunami.
  57. 57. The ice age is here
  58. 58. There is little doub war min t that global g is REAL In the last c entury th has climb e averag ed about e temper 0.6 degre ature es Celsiu degree F s (about ahrenhei 1 t) around the world Most sci entists tempera say the tures ar higher atmosph e a resul eric incr t of ancaused b ease in c y the bur arbon disuch as ning of f oxide, coal and ossil fue petrole ls um
  59. 59. Knowing (2009):Nicolas Cage opens atime capsule to find that dire,apocalyptic events are aboutto unfold, like the entireEarth catching fire.
  60. 60. War of the Worlds(2005): Aliens are backagain, even more peevedwith humanity and TomCruise specifically, zappingpeople into dust and bringingdown New Jersey.
  61. 61. The Core (2003): TheEarths inner core hasstopped spinning, throwingpigeons, cars and buildingsinto gravitational chaos.
  62. 62. Armageddon (1998):Epic deja vu, as NYC ispelted with a fiery meteorshower and Bruce Williscaptains a NASA spaceshuttle to try to blow apartthe space rock before it hits.
  63. 63. Deep Impact (1998):Trapped on a jammedhighway, onlookers watch asa comet approaches Earth.
  64. 64. Deep Impact (1998):Image of Manhattan asspecial effects are added
  65. 65. Independence Day(1996): Theyre here...
  66. 66. The Last Wave (1977):Aussie director Peter Weircreates an apocalyptic storydrenched in the supernaturalAboriginal Dreamtime.
  67. 67. Planet of the Apes (1968):One of disaster movies iconic imagesis the classic final shot, whereCharlton Heston discovers theremains of NYC on a beach
  68. 68. ii OriginsDisaster Porn i
  69. 69. The  Greatest  Disaster  and  End   of  the  World  Films:  Pre-­‐1970sBefore   the   1970s  when  disaster  films  underwent   a  strong   revival,  there   were   many   earlier   action/adventure   disaster   films,   such   as  The   Hurricane   (1937)   -­‐   including   one   of   the   most   spectacular  tropical  storm  scenes  ever  shot  in  film   history.   And  two  50s  films,  The   High   and   the   Mighty   (1954)   and   Zero   Hour   (1957)   -­‐   were  the  inspiration  for  all  the  airplane  disaster  films  of  the  70s
  70. 70. Disaster themes are almost as old as the lmmedium itselfhQp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IKafWeHXoYOne of the earliest was Fire!(1901) made by JamesWilliamson of England. The silent film portrayed a burninghouse and the firemen who arrive to quench the flames andrescue the inhabitants
  71. 71. Origins of the genre can also be found in In Nacht undEis - Night and Ice (1912) about the sinking of theTitanic; Atlantis (1913), also about the Titanic; and inNoahs Ark (1928) the Biblical story of the great flood
  72. 72. Atlantis was restored a 1993 and in DV nd released on la D format in 200 serdisc in created through 5. The restoratio a high definition n was negative and th scan of a resto e tinting was red abbreviated vers recreated using ion from The N an Japan. The rest ational Film Cen ored version a ter in combined intert lso was made itles in Danish with material on the D and English. E xtraDid you VD included the ending originally two-minute altern filmed for Russia ativeknow? 15-minute surviv ing fragment of n audiences and August Blomʼs the Holger-Madsenʼs and 1914 film Liebele i.
  73. 73. Deluge (1933), about tidal waves devastating New YorkCity; King Kong (1933), with a gigantic gorilla rampagingthrough New York City; and The Last Days ofPompeii (1935), dealing with the Mount Vesuvius volcaniceruption in 79 AD
  74. 74. ic ane H urr the h T h e d w i t o p i ca l s r F o r d c l u d e of a t g h a nJ ohn 7 ) c o ence t h r o u sland. u i ( 1 9 3 g seq p p i n g cific c i s c o n i a s triki n e r uth P F r a n storic o i c y c l al So S a n t h e h i s c o on a c ficti d r a m p i c t e d r a n n O l d F T h e 6) de a n i I l e ted Th e ( 193 6 S e , w h crea w h i c h 1 9 0 q u a k 37) re i r e 871 h 9 F 1 e a r t go (1 a g o city in a c C hic t C h i gh the a ou G r e ed thr n bur
  75. 75. Inspired by the end of World War II and the beginning of the Atomic Age, disaster films of the 1950s routinely used world disasters as plot elements The 50´s !
  76. 76. The   newfound   popularity   of   science  fic:on  in  the  1950s   influenced  producer  George   Pal   to   produce   W h e nWorlds Collide   (1951),   which  despicted  the  end  of   the  world  when  a  star   and   planet   from   another   solar  system  approchach  Earth
  77. 77. The   some:mes   outrageous   concepts   of   fantasy-­‐minded   follow-­‐ups  like  The   War  of   the   Worlds   (1953)   allowed   filmmakers   to   aQempt   new   and   spectacular   visual   effects,   including   the   destruc:on   of   buildings  and  ci:es  on  a  large  scales.In   fact,   both   “When   Worlds   Collide”   and  “The   War   of   the   Worlds”   were   awarded  with  Oscars  for  their  elaborate  effects
  78. 78. S
  79. 79. This trend wouldcontinue with... The 50´s !
  80. 80. Titanic  As  in  the  silent  film  era,  the  sinking  of  the  Titanicwould  con:nue  to  be  a  popular  disaster  with  filmmakers  and  audiences  alike  in The 50´s !
  81. 81. The British ac tion/adventur while not abo e film ut the Titanicstarred Robe disaster but a rt Stack as a predecessorsave his wife man despera to (Dorothy Ma tely attemptina sinking oce lone) and chil g to an liner d trapped in The film, concluding with the dramatic sinking of the ship, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects* *  The  Time  Machine was  the  winner The 60´s !
  82. 82. Additional precursors tothe popular disaster filmsof the 1970s include...
  83. 83. ge of the den Agan inThe Gol beDisa ster film release of e 1970 with th Jacqueline Bisset Helen Hayes Burt Lancaster Burt Lancaster
  84. 84. han arnin g more t ncial s uccess e ce,.. ffi the box o na A huge fi m illion at $45While not exclusively focused on a disaster, in this case, an airplanecrippled by the explosion of a bomb, the film established the blueprint ofmultiple plotlines acted out by an all-star cast demy was nomina ted for 10 Aca ture, Awards inclu ding Best Pic Actress winning Be st Supporting for Helen Hayes
  85. 85. ? ? ? ? s character ized by theThe dis aster film i onventions following codes and c (Clichés)
  86. 86. Characters & Starsin a disaster movie
  87. 87. MovieStars
  88. 88. Typical Disaster Movie Character The Bad Guy... The Hero... The Bad GuyThe Self-Doubter... Turned Good... Who am I? The damsel in distress... The Reluctant Hero... The Kid(s)...The Strong Woman...
  89. 89. The Hero... This is a straight foward hero, usuall y male. They are capa ble from the outset of doing what it ta kes to survive and/o r save the day Steve McQueen Chief OHallorhan The Towering Inferno
  90. 90. The Reluctant Hero... ho e w rust on ‘t me ism acter so ro is he ar heir ch e t is e Th th m’, a sid ve as the out to sa h n o teps role up o s h al job w m nor day the Dennis Quaid Jack Hall The Day After Tomorow
  91. 91. The Reluctant Hero... people hey ar e good T and do who ‘s tep up’ e done; ds to b w hat nee ow the ink rhaps h pe es to th nce lik pond audie they w ould res Shelley Winters Belle Rosen The Poseidon Adventure
  92. 92. The Bad Guy... The bad guy is out and out ‘black hat’ (quite often rich) who is out for themselves. This is a character the audience does not mind (in fact relishes) seeing killed off Billy Zane Caledon Cal Hockley Titanic
  93. 93. The Bad GuyTurned Good... who y cter ighl hara ing h he c ff beT ver so hate star ct for w es su spe ut ‘com on b e end reas in th go od’ Stanley Tucci Dr. Conrand Zimsky The Core
  94. 94. The Self-Doubter... bter is more ofte n a phase that Self-dou characters go thr ough rather than many king up an actual character type in ma its own right
  95. 95. The Self-Doubter... usually early in t he movie as a team It is re heard to say is for ming and people a things like ‘I can ’t go on’ or ‘this is ss’. These are th e characters who hopele of one type or often ‘m orph’ into heroes another
  96. 96. The Kid(s)... Kids are essential component of the ‘women and children first’ ethos that dominates many disaster movies
  97. 97. The Kid(s)... When not being rescued, cute, worried about or underlining sacrifice, they may just be precocious Jackson Bond Oliver The Invasion
  98. 98. The Strong Woman... T he strong an is more wom comm on in dern films mo Michelle Rodriguez TSgt. Elena Santos Battle: Los Angeles
  99. 99. The damsel in distress... se a re the The screa ming n wh o the w ome m en re scue Jennifer Jones Lisolette Mueller Towering Inferno
  100. 100. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• NATURAL DISASTERS   (earthquakes,  floods,  hurricanes,  tropical  storms)
  101. 101. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• NATURAL DISASTERS   (earthquakes,  floods,  hurricanes,  tropical  storms)
  102. 102. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• ACCIDENTS  (skyscraper  fires,  plane  crashes,   ocean  liners  capsized  or  struck  by  icebergs,  viruses   unleashed)
  103. 103. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• ACCIDENTS  (skyscraper  fires,  plane  crashes,   ocean  liners  capsized  or  struck  by  icebergs,  viruses   unleashed)
  104. 104. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• PLANETARY- RELATED   (asteroids  or  meteors  off-­‐course)
  105. 105. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• NUCLEAR - RELATED CRISES
  106. 106. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• ALIEN INVASIONS and  rampaging  creatures   (oeen  mutant)
  107. 107. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• CRIMINALLY- INSTIGATED (bombs  planted  in  planes,  terrorist  conspiracies)  
  108. 108. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• MILLENNIAL - RELATED (the  end  of  the  world,   or  end  of  the  century  tales)
  109. 109. The most commonly portrayed disasters in films• ABOUT FAILED TECHNOLOGY OR TECHNOLOGY - GONE AWRY  (computers   running  amok)
  110. 110. 2016 - Das Ende DerNachtAlternate title: Hell, The End of the NightIn a post-apocalyptic world, three peoplesearch for water. However, theyll soon findout that theyre not alone 121Metal Tornado When astronomers discovered the phenomena of magnetic tornadoes on the planet Mercury, they were amazed by the destructive power of these gargantuan solar-fueled magnetic fields…but they never imagined witnessing the catastrophic forces in their own backyards
  111. 111. Melancholia (2011)136 min - Drama | Sci-Fi - 11 November 2011 (USA) Two sisters find their relationship challenged asa nearby planet threatens to collide into theEarth.
  112. 112. Hollywood Destroys the WorldThe  new  wave  of  disaster  movies  and  TV  shows  isn’t  about  staving  off  the  apocalypse.  It’s  what  happens  aeerwards  that  countsDenzel  Washington  stars  in Neighbors  band  together  aeer  a    ‘The  Book  of  Eli.’ catastrophe  in  NBC’s  ‘Day  One.’
  113. 113. For any claims of disaster or dramaticchanges in 2012, where is thescience? Where is the evidence?There is none, and for all the fictionalassertions, whether they are made inbooks, movies, documentaries or overthe Internet, we cannot change thatsimple fact. There is no credibleevidence for any of the assertionsmade in support of unusual eventstaking place in December 2012.

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