Friday, April 26, 2019

If a city fell, we would all feel it

The recent catastrophic fire at the Notre Dame cathedral shows just how hollow large -cale entertainments that rely on the destruction of a city really are. The cathedral fire - which claimed no lives and did not have a material impact on the superstructure of the building - upset a lot of people, sometimes for weird reasons, and it's literally impossible to imagine how we'd cope with the destruction of, say, a major city.

Take the moment in the second GI Joe movie, where the bad guys effectivly wipe out London with a death weapon from space. It comes midway through the film as a bid to raise the stakes, and then quickly moves on to more scenes of the Rock flexing those amazing biceps.

GI Joe movies are purely dopey entertainment, so it glosses over the fact the good guys have already lost, because hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of people have been brutally killed, and one of the major cities of the world, and all the treasure it contains, has been wiped from history. Everything they do after that doesn't make up for this apocalyptic failure.

If a city was destroyed like this in the real world, the whole planet would lose their goddamn minds. The loss of life would be astronomical, and there would be countless actors, writers, artists and politicians among the dead. There would be an irreparable loss of history and great architecture as one of humanity's greatest ever cities burns.

It might be a bit much to expect a GI Joe movie to reflect on the ramifications of the carnage it bloodlessly smears across a cinema screen - and even the writers knew that the destruction destroyed the whole film - but you can't just blow up a city like that with a shrug. Humans don't work that way, and neither do our stories about them.

No comments: