By Pumudu K.
Disaster movies have become a staple of Hollywood since the 1970s. From the likes of The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno in the early 70s, nature has often been the unwitting villain against whom the heroes fought against the odds (it’s only slightly changed since!). However, despite the involvement of nature, these movies used natural acts such as tidal waves and fire as an aberration.
Since climate change became more widely accepted in the early 21st century, this became a narrative for movies as well. An early example was 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow, where a sudden freezing of the Earth caused chaos and cataclysm. But while the science behind this movie was not the most accurate, (nor was Dennis Quaid believable as a scientist, IMHO!), it was the first real example of how climate change became the driving force behind the movie’s story.
Since then, 2014’s Interstellar was based around the after-effects of climate change on Earth, but lately with more studies showing the possible disastrous effects of unchecked climate change, Hollywood has taken notice of the new reality as well. This year alone, Blade Runner 2049, Geostorm, and the upcoming Downsizing will be dealing with climate change-based storylines. In his analysis, The Guardian’s Graeme Virtue discusses how Hollywood may be evolving to the climate change reality, and what it could mean for the future of movie story-telling.
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