Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Movie Geek's Tips For Disaster Film-Making

I've seen enough disaster films to know the stereotypes that need to be added in a movie if it needs to fit into the"Disaster film" genre. After having seen 2012 last night, I guess I can proclaim that I have the authority to pen down some guidlines one needs to follow for making a disaster film. These guidlines are also a part of the syllabus in "Roland Emmerich's School of Disaster film- making".

1. Cardinal Rule for The Hero : The hero is the 2nd most eye-catching factor of any disaster movie (1st one being the special effects) Your hero should be an unorganized, slobby, good-looking loser who should have a failed marriage, his career graph should be going south, and it adds more authenticity if he is a garage mechanic/ limo driver/ shoe salesman/school teacher/ construction worker unable to pay mortgage . It is guys like these who play our Messiah in a disaster movie. If Tom Cruise can play a loser in War of the Worlds, so can anyone.

2. Cranky Guy / Soothsayer : He is the wierd guy who can predict that shit's gonna fall from heaven, but nobody will believe him, including our hero. Because he is wierd, has long hair, speaks cranky stuff to himself, add to that he is a conspiracy theorist who blames the government for everything that has happened, from Rosewell to the JFK assassination. 

3. The Family factor :  A broken family is essential for any disaster movie, the purpose of any earthquake, tsunami, or a global warming is to bring an estranged family together. So what if the whole world was turned upside down? Atleast you got your family back and are happy together again, only that you got no home to live in. The family should consist of

a. The hero's ex-wife : A hawt yummy mummy who thinks our hero is a big- time loser and a bad father who doesn't spend enough time with his children. The secondary mission of the hero is to redeem himself in her eyes after saving the world. 

b. The pesky kids : Always have a boy and a girl whom the hero can take out for camping, fishing after being hounded by his ex-wife to do so. The kids too should think that their father is an all-time loser(they obviously get the idea from their yummy mummy) The kids should be irritatingly dumb and should ask our hero crazy questions at a time when he is busy saving their asses, the questions they should ask will be discussed later.

c. The guy screwing the ex-wife: The hero's ex-wife must be living with another man who is successful, rich, a good company to the pesky kids and buys them cool stuffs. Note that he should not be as good lookin' as the hero, because it will only pose a problem to the heroine at the end of the movie on to whom to go back to, the good lookin loser of an ex-hubby who saved the world or the guy she is currently screwing who has it all (maybe not all because an earthquake may have destroyed it all).

4. The Dog : The dog plays a crucial role in a disaster movie, go for the adorable puppies or the cute and cuddly sons of bitches. Put them in a scenario where they are in some serious shit fighting for their life, maybe they have to jump off a ledge or catch a moving a car or train or spaceship. But never ever kill em, these pups are great pussy magnets (am not talkin bout kittens or cats here). Seeing a cute pup in trouble can make any chick squeal with anxiety, they are so dumb not to realise that Hollywood doesnt kill dogs, let alone puppies, we have seen this in so many disaster films. By the end of the movie these dogs end up being a part of the hero's family, giving company to the pesky kids who find him cute enough to play with. Thus completing the picture perfect family of

a. The Loser turned Savior hero
b. The Hawt yummy mummy
c. The pesky kids
d. The dog/ pup

5. The President and his speech : There has to be a President, preferably a African- American President, Morgan Freeman did it in Deep Impact,  and also throw in a scene where he gives his famous presidential speech to America that maybe broadcasted all over the world, use sentences like :

  • America will fight
  • We will stay together/ united
  • We will have the will to survive... 
  • We all nations should come together at a time where the world is at the brink of disaster
Also show a shot of a bunch of rednecks in Times Square going "wo-hoo" as they see their Mr. President on a mega big-ass screen TV, speaking about the will to survive. Paint a picture as if greatness is thrust on the US of A to save the rest of the world from a disaster.

6. The Boss and his Subordinate : In a parallel storyline put in a cold and calculating boss of a govt agency who has been entrusted the task of making plans to save humanity, he should be a cold and calculating Whiteboy who runs a tight ship giving orders, making sure that he sticks with the deadline. He is like Dr.Asthana from that Munnabhai movie, cold, calculating and uses his head instead of his heart.

The sub-ordinate must be a black guy who has a heart of gold, a quintessential nerd who bows down to his boss's demands from the beginning of the movie, but later in the end grows a pair to question his Boss' authority and fights for the rights to survive of the other less fortunate people. Needless to say, the dude with the heart of gold and balls of steel wins the argument.

7. Cheesy lines : These are the lines that one has to say to give the effect of a Disaster movie:

a. "You should see this" - This line gives the viewer anxiety pangs of what he is about to see, this line acts as a buildup to scene of disaster which we are about to witness. Applicable only to pilots / captains of any vessel or airplane who are relaying information to their superiors.

b. "Holy Mother of God!" - to be said when one sees the trail of disaster left behind by an earthquake or a tsunami, applicable only to minor characters with lesser screentime who are gonna die anyway in another 3 minutes. This line usually follows "You should see this"

c. "We all gonna die!"  - Applicable only to the cranky guy who says this to spook you and everyone in the hall.

d. "Stay here I will come back" - A poor man's version of "I'll be back" which was made so popular by Arnie in the Terminator series. Applicable only to the hero when he goes to save life/ or kick some alien ass. It is automatically ensured that the hero will come back triumphantly whenever he has spoken these lines.

e. "Daddy, are we gonna die?" - The dumbest question that was ever created in the disaster movie genre. This is the question I was talking about earlier in the post. Kids ask questions, a lot of em, but this has to be the dumbest of the lot. Applicable to kids of the hero who ask this just to annoy the crap out of you. They should know that they are the heroe's kids, Daddy dearest will always keep em away from harm's way. By this time the kids would have started to respect their Loser Dad after they see him bravely save the life of the guy- screwing- their- mom.

f. "We are gonna stay together, you understand me !?" - Obviously to be said by the hero, and applicable only to the hero who says this line to show you and the slutty ex-wife who the boss is. This line brings a feeling of reassurance among the kids and the ex-wife that Loser Dad will face anything selflessly to save their asses.

8. The Indian scientist : This is the final point which I had forgotten to add. Be assured of finding an Indian scientist who speaks Hindi with a heavy American accent when conversing with his wife, ironically, his English will sound more believable than his Hindi. And the odds are that he may have a last name "Patel". We Indians don't just drive taxis and serve Chicken tikka masala to White people anymore, hell yeah! We also calculate the temperature at which the Earth's crust will start giving rise to mega-tsunamis and can also warn you on how much time you got. This guy will be a regular fixture in forthcoming disaster movies, and an actor of Indian-American origin with a bad Hindi and even bad acting will play this character. You can see that he has modelled his speech on Apu, the Kwik E-mart guy from The Simpsons, though you can ask him to go easy on ending every sentence with "my friend!". The theatre will burst into cheers once we Indians are given credit for warning the world but ironically end up losing our own lives, the "We are here because of an Indian" part does ease the pain. We are a huge market for disaster movies, my people better be there in the script.

Final Note: Make sure that the guy-screwing- the ex-wife is killed in a car crash or has been smashed to pulp in a conveyor belt, or blown to pieces by the end of the movie. This will help in bringing back the hero and his family together, thus confirming your faith in the adage "An estranged family that faces a natural disaster together, survives together".


Pavithra Janardhanan said...

gud 1... almost what i felt after the disastrous 2012.

Anuraag Seshadri said...

thanks for visiting my blog, pleasantly surprised to c u... thanks for the comment

Harshwardhan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Goutami said...

Awesome blog post da.. Very funny one.. I could identify with all the "tips" in such movies.. lol..

Keep writing :D Its fun to read your blog :)


Muthu MV said...

Nyc one dude! Hilarious :D .. The thoughts running on everyone's mind after watching such dumb movies, expressed as Words ;)

Muthu MV said...

"Daddy, are we gonna die?" wuld be my pick of the lot! Disaster movies also convey that U.S has got the world's dumbest kids :P Still are paid more than wat we earn in amazon :D factu!