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The Pattern of Hollywood Disaster Movie Genre

I got a task in my American Thought class several months ago. I had no idea what to write. But then I remembered one of my lecturer's saying, "Media is around you. You can get newspaper and you can make an analysis on it". So thanks to my inspiring lecture, I decide to analyze Hollywood Disaster Movie Genre.


What was it?? why did i take it?? It was in the beginning of January if i am not mistaken that 2012 movie phenomenon occurred. People rushed to movie theater queuing to buy the opportunist movie. This phenomenon triggered me to analyze what kind of movie it is. I finally came into an understanding of disaster movie genre. Movies are categorized into the same genre if they have similar narratives (pattern of story). And disaster movie genre has long existed in Hollywood. We may still remember Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact and 2012 which all depict world destruction. So, I group them in disaster movie genre.



My further observations reveal that actually they have the same pattern, the same formula. Just for your imagination, dealing with products of popular/mass culture means that dealing with formula. The same formula is applied in such movies. And this is what I did in my paper.

I observed at least three key points in disaster movie genre. And I also relate it to prevailing American thoughts in society: Enlightenment and Darwinism thoughts. For those who are interested to know more about these thoughts, i put some information on my paper.

Get back to the formula. I propose three key points to understand them:
the first is the reasoning of the end of the world. We all know in every religion that someday, the world will end. But no one knows when, why, and where. But disaster movie genre celebrate Enlightenment influence in which giving clear reasons for every matter including the end of the world. These movies, if you observe deeper, give you a make sense reason of world destruction; comets, asteroids, global cooling/global warming, etc. These reasons are problems we are facing and we are accustomed to it. So in one way, these reasons reflect the attitude of America as a "intellectual" country. A country that promotes reasonable thinking. And in other way, it shows how we are vulnerable to American hegemony.



The second point is the idea of survival that derives greatly from the work of Darwin. Darwinism promotes the idea of survival of the fittest. Only those who survive major catastrophe will survive. Let's have a look on these movies. Scenes of man trying to escape from flood, fire, collapse building, volcano eruption, tsunami, meteor showers, etc are everywhere. We acknowledge them for their survival. It is the very basic idea of Darwinism. And it will relate to last point, that is the perseverance of a selected race, another Darwinist thought.



In the end of each movie, we come to scenes showing people rushing out from their hideout running toward a new life. Denotatively, it is interpreted as there are still survivors after big disaster (even the biggest disaster). But connotatively, it shows that in one way the disaster eliminate those who are not skillful to avoid the disaster itself, in other words those who are not "worthy" enough to live. In other way, these scenes show that the survivors are the chosen people because the idea of Darwinism is that only the chosen ones will survive and endure major disaster. So the new world will be built by the best people.

So those are the pattern of disaster movie genre that i can analyze. For those who are interested in reading my complete paper, please visit associated content, where I publish my writing.

Thx u for reading... Just quoting James Monaco from his book "How to Read a Film": "The best way to transfer ideology is through movies"...

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