No, I’m not talking about my hair. I’m talking about movies, people. The film industry has been on a disaster kick lately, and in the last couple of years we’ve seen the world destroyed (or, at the very least, seriously threatened) by monsters, men, machines, men and machines, robots masquerading as men, robots masquerading as machines, blindness, solar flares and giant space drills. (Don’t forget the zombies!) And now we have the world-ending film to end all world-ending films, 2012, in which the world is rocked by earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and slightly crazy radio hosts.
“When you go see a movie like this, it’s giving voice to your worst fears,” says John Cusack, one of the stars of 2012. “It’s like running around on Halloween and celebrating ghouls and mayhem. I don’t know what it is in us, but we definitely want to come close to that edge. But if it were reality, we’d all be weeping all day.”
I came away from 2012 with, as we movie reviewers say, a complex reaction. It is (let’s just admit it) pretty cool, special-effects wise, and it had some surprisingly strong messages. But I felt bad about sitting through the destruction of the earth and all its 6 billion inhabitants. If you decide to see this flick (after reading my review, of course!) I’d love to hear what you think.
But I’d also like to get a sense of why you think these disaster films are so popular these days. Do stressful times (such as we’re living in now) foster a need in us for some sort of onscreen catharsis? Are we simply curious to see what the end times might look like? Do we just like to see things blow up?