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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What disaster — natural or manmade, or a combination of the two — would you like to see depicted on film?

Pearl Harbor poster

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which makes me think about disaster movies. No, I mean movies about disasters, not diastrous movies such as, erm, Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. Also too: soon we’ll be celebrating the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic with a 3D extravaganza rerelease of James Cameron’s Titanic (which I actually do think is a really good movie about a disaster precisely because it captures, in part, the kind of arrogance that caused the disaster in the first place, and how it, of course, still exists today).

So, today’s question: What disaster — natural or manmade, or a combination of the two — would you like to see depicted on film? Could be a feature film, could be a TV miniseries, whatever.

A few I think would be intriguing:

• the Tunguska event in Siberia, 1908, when a comet or meteor exploded in the atmosphere; no one was close enough to be killed, but enough people were close enough to be impacted by it
• the first century AD destruction of Pompeii by volcano; the Doctor Who episode “The Fires of Pompeii” did a surprisingly good job of dramatizing some of this event on a relatively small budget and with the added distractions of fantastical elements, but it deserves its own telling
• surely something called the Boston Molasses Disaster is begging for the Coen Brothers’ treatment.
If you need some help, check out Listverse’s “Top Ten Most Terrifying Natural Disasters in History” (this list mentions Tunguska) and Wikipedia’s list — much like Nicolas Cage’s cheat sheet from Knowing — of history’s deadliest natural disasters (that we know of, of course).

Have… fun, I guess.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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