Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The End of Disaster Movies or "California's going down!"

Sometimes a movie can single-handedly kill an entire sub-genre. It can tackle it and subvert the conventions so slyly that the genre either has to change significantly or die. Or, in an attempt to make the "be-all-end-all" of a given sub-genre, a film can destroy that sub-genre.

Some comic geeks used to wonder if 'Watchmen' might be one of the former, rendering all future superhero movies obsolete or irrelevant. That didn't happen, but with "Scream" and the slasher movie sub-genre, it did. Because that film held up so many slasher-movie conventions as objects of mockery, there now exists a clear line demarcating all slasher movies that came before "Scream", and all of those after. A horror fan coming out of that film was justified in asking how anyone would make a slasher movie after 'Scream'. (Hollywood muddled through and out of this creative morass, the so-called "torture-porn" sub-genre became dominant).

All of that was the very long way around to say I think Roland Emmerich's "2012" will be the end of disaster movies for a long time, if not ever. And not because it's so subversive or because Emmerich clearly has so brilliantly wrung all the emotion there is to be wrung from disaster movies, but because he's obviously filmed, unintentionally, a parody of the disaster movie. Watch this 5-minute clip and tell me I'm wrong. Pure silliness.

All of that said, I'll be seeing this. If the disaster movie's going down, I'll be in the front row. I'm going to miss you man.