Hollywood Wants To Put An End To Our Foolish Human “Cities”
I have detected an insidious plot.
Hollywood hates our cities.
Consider, if you will, that in the following films (and there may be more) over the last ten or so years, one or several cities are prominently and obviously destroyed, frequently in the third act, sometimes due to some kind of invasion:
Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Transformers Age of Extinction, the LEGO Movie, Godzilla, Pacific Rim, Cloverfield, Avengers, World War Z, War of the Worlds, 2012, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Wait, maybe not that last one.
Other films (Dark Knight Rises, Chronicle, the last Matrix movie) are city-destruction-adjacent.
I am left to conclude that Hollywood — acting as a self-aware hive-mind that has perhaps grown disgusted with our enjoyment of its leavings — is warning us that it will soon punch, kick and ‘asplode one or several major cities. It will headbutt holes in dark buildings. Because it angers.
Okay, maybe not.
But I do find this interesting — I always love looking back over prior decades of film and trying to suss out, just what the fuck were people thinking? What fears and desires drove our entertainment needs? In 100 years we’ll look at the decade between 2030-2040 and ask, “What did all the orgies mean? Why all the robot goats? And all those shots of old men pooping in bowler hats. WEIRD.”
Seems that in the last decade, we’ve been afraid of the destruction of our cities.
Global warming? Maybe. Certainly some hints of that, whispered in any of the films that have nature at the heart of our metropolitan eradication, right?
Probably, though, this is the legacy of 9/11 — particularly since a lot of the films center around an invading force that fucks up our shit. Aliens, a lot of the time — even those we may not think of as aliens (Transformers, Kryptonians). And the new “Khan” is something of a terrorist, is he not? Makes sense, then, that this is the ghost of that day haunting our entertainment almost mindlessly at this point. We’re still a nation that remembers those buildings come down and, let’s be honest, it’s been a bit of a cultural splinter in the heel of our foot since then — stands to figure that it would bleed out all over our screen.
Or maybe we just get big boners when we watch buildings go boom.
Whatever the reason, for my mileage it’s growing increasingly boring.
Especially since they all look the same.
DARK SLATE-BLUE SKY
DARK ALIEN SHIPS THAT ARE JAGGED
CHUNKS TAKEN OUT OF DARK BUILDINGS
SOME GREY-BLUE LASER BEAM THING THAT’S ALSO SORTA DARK SOMEHOW
(And, if it’s a Michael Bay film, you can add in: SPACE SHUTTLE / ARMY GUYS / JETS OVERHEAD/ “JOKES” THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE “FUNNY” / MALE GAZE / GLISTENING SWEAT / EXPLOSIONS / MORE EXPLOSIONS / ASTRONAUTS.)
It all feels very cut and paste. You could take scenes from Man of Steel, intersperse them into Transformers, maybe grab one from the newest Thor, and nobody would know the difference. And jeez, maybe that’s what it is. Maybe once someone created these CGI assets, they’re just passing them around like a joint in a dorm room — “You want Chicago getting destroyed? I’ll just give you the thumb drive, Spielberg. It’s been in like, six other movies by now, so whatevs.”
What does this say about us, as an audience?
Maybe something. Maybe nothing.
What does it say for filmmakers of Big Budget Plotstravaganzas?
Time to actually find some original content, methinks.
I mean, how about a giant space ape who arrives and builds cities where we don’t want them? Huh? Howzabout that? BOOM. This is why I should be allowed to write movies.
Or maybe “shouldn’t.”
Probably that, yeah.