Sunday, August 19, 2012

How much destruction should one city take?

As the 9/11 terrorist attacks unfolded, particularly on the World Trade Center, the world watched in horror. Although the city (and our country) has proven its ultimate resilience, the indelible images of that day are seared in our collective consciousness.

Given those inexplicable horrors, I don't understand why so many action movies still use New York as the nexus of a climatic battle or event, and why filmmakers think it is appropriate to destroy the city on screen time and time again. I realize what New York City represents to the world, and perhaps it is the city's very resilience that makes it an appealing target, but I'm finding these scenes more and more disturbing the further from 9/11 we move.

Take The Avengers, for example. (Some spoilers ahead, so skip this if you haven't seen the movie.) When the alien race commanded by Loki finally breaks through to Earth, they do so in New York. I know I wasn't alone in finding the scenes of alien creatures and crafts flying dangerously close to windows and alongside buildings eerily and painfully reminiscent of that horrible day in December. And as buildings were destroyed, and the police mobilized, I thought the reactions of the characters on film who witnessed this were really disturbing. While The Avengers saved the day and took back the city and our world, the attack did leave some significant destruction in its wake.

Couldn't this destruction have happened in another city, perhaps one not still shell-shocked by real and similar events?

Gotham City becomes the target of Bane and his merry band of evil villains in The Dark Knight Rises as well. Of course, the terror of this movie is all but amplified by the real-life horrible events that took place opening night in Aurora, Colorado, but I still found the violence, the attacks on police, and the destruction of bridges and other landmarks in the city tremendously disturbing.

Maybe I'm not the only one who feels uneasy at the city's falling prey to aliens and villains and Mother Nature again and again and again. Or maybe someone needs to remind me it's all just a movie...

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