Another Day, Another Blog

May 15, 2007

Bad weather

Filed under: when natures strikes back — iamza @ 5:00 pm

I find this BBC news story interesting because many recent books and news articles about climate change I’ve stumbled across seem to have the same “Omigod, the climate is going to explode and kill us all tomorrow!” message. Apparently, some climate scientists are now suggesting that the ‘Hollywood-isation’ of climate change is doing more harm than good. When sensational words like ‘irreversible’,  ‘runaway’, and ‘catastrophic’ are employed, the viewing/reading audience is led to believe that global climate change is inevitable, unstoppable — like a juggernaut — and so they are less likely to make necessary lifestyle changes. “Why bother, if the Earth is only going to go to pot in fifty years anyway?”

I admit that I, myself, have been generally apathetic when it comes to making lifestyle changes. And, in part, this is indeed because I don’t think that any changes I make will have a significant effect on the global climate. But, if every person on Earth thinks that there is nothing that they can do to change the inevitable outcome of global warming, then ultimately, we end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Just thinking about meteorological Hollywood-isation, funnily enough my own viewing in recent months has included a number of weather-related disaster stories…

Superstorm: Some mad scientists get it into their crazy heads to try and manipulate the weather by seeding storms and altering the path of potentially killer hurricanes. Things go wrong, people die, and it is, of course, all the fault of the American government. Politicians — man, you’d think they’d have realized by now that dead taxpayers mean less money in the trough…

Storm: A climate scientist (Luke Perry) learns that the secret American government think-tank that hired him wants to learn how to manipulate weather for less than altruistic reasons. Wow, shocker — especially given we, the audience, learn fairly quickly that the American military is involved. Are there any good military folks on TV outside of the Stargate programs?

Supernova: The sun goes crazy, and the world almost catches fire. Scientist Luke Perry is hidden away with other important people in a secure underground location so that when the world has finished ending, they can rebuild the Earth. Or something. I caught this one in a midst of a manic fit of channel-flipping, and didn’t stick around — probably just as well.

Lightning: Bolts of destruction: Intense sunspots cause killer positive lightning bolts that, left alone, will intensify to the point of flipping the Earth’s magnetic poles thus causing a global ice age. Happily, an experimental power station up in the Arctic leaps into action and saves the day because the leading characters in this film are more concerned with soap opera-style family infighting than in, you know, saving the planet.

The Day After Tomorrow: Global warming kills the Gulf Stream, resulting in a bout of supercooling. In Britain, it starts raining helicopters. Some kid and his girlfriend get stuck in the New York Public Library, where they vandalize and burn everything in sight — but this is okay, because otherwise they would have died of the cold. Too bad; I was kind of rooting for the cold…

Twister: An oldie but a goodie, starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. Based on a script by Jurassic Park author, Michael Crichton, and introducing a whole generation to the joys of stormchasing, in my opinion this is the weather movie by which all others must be judged. I love this movie too much to make fun of it (even if Westerly from The Princess Bride does go up, up, and away…)

Night of the Twisters: I know I watched this, but for the life of me I can’t remember any specifics. John Schneider starred — I know this because he was pretty much the only reason I tuned in. There were tornadoes. And there were screaming kids, I think. Otherwise, this was imminently forgettable.

Tornado Warning: Gerald McRaney plays a scientist who has developed a system for predicting tornadoes, but nobody, including his journalist daughter, believes him. For me, the best part of this film was the mayor/sheriff (of the town that McRaney is trying desperately to save in spite of themselves), who spends most of the film prancing about in a leopard skin-patterned bodysuit and huge cowboy hat, and driving a pink cadillac with antlers attached to the front grille. I mean, there’s a politician who isn’t afraid to make a statement! 

Category 7: This one was so bad that even I couldn’t be persuaded to stick around to watch how it all ended. And, as a general rule, I like Z-grade disaster flicks…

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