7 Stupid Movies About Climate Change
Should we worry about the COP21 agreement is all about, now that it is all over? Maybe not. The odds are the latest UN Conference on Climate Change won’t deliver a serious actionable legally binding deal. The probability they tried to come up with a deal that would make our lives better was pretty low but they did their best, given that the first early stirrings of the Climapocalypse are already stirring us.
But while the Paris conference is now history, the popular-culture propaganda machine never stops.
Here are seven movies that show how movies have always tried to put us in a tizzy over climate change:
#7. Idaho Transfer (1973) Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970. It didn’t take long for Hollywood to make browbeating audiences over mistreating the environment a script staple. In this 1973 sci-fi film by Peter Fonda, the world ends badly, as we discover through the eyes of time-traveling teenagers. It is not clear what went wrong, but it is definitely our fault. There is something hauntingly engaging in the film (a kind of a Picnic at Hanging Rock feel) that makes it a movie worth watching. But don't expect to learn anything about the environment.
#6. Solarbabies (1986). A thousand years in the future after an environmental disaster that has ravaged the earth, teenagers have 1980s hair—and they meet an alien who restores the oceans. That’s about it.
#5. Predator 2 (1990) It’s the “hottest summer on record.” Yes, that’s right. Long before Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth (2006), Hollywood was blaming the woes of the world on global warming. “Though shot in 1990, the film takes place in 1997....[and]the characters...are all seen sweating profusely throughout the film to convey the effects of advanced ‘global warming',” claims IMB Trivia. “The actual, average temperature in Los Angeles varied less than one tenth a degree in that 7-year span, and had actually cooled by a degree through 2010.”
#4. The Day After Tomorrow (2004) In this big-budget climate disaster flick, global warming leads to the world freezing. Don’t ask me to explain it. In a commentary on the movie, Patrick J. Michaels, a research professor of environmental sciences, called the film “propaganda.”
#3. The Colony (2013) The fact that The Day After Tomorrow did a decent box office assured that Hollywood would try to repeat the formula on the cheap. Welcome to Colony 7, where the last survivors of the next ice age try not to be eaten by cannibals. Critics slammed the film for “clichéd dialogue” and “cheesy special effects,” but they failed to note the absence of any credible science.
#2. Snowpiercer (2013) Scientists try to reverse global warming by seeding the atmosphere. Works too well. The world freezes to death, except for the survivors on a train that endlessly circles the globe. I so wanted to like this film based on a best-selling graphic novel, but it is just too ridiculous. At the end of the movie, the last two survivors are cheered by seeing a polar bear, a sign that life goes on. They were probably eaten by the bear after the credits roll.
#1. Cromwell (1970) Say what? This historical drama about the English Revolution of 1640 is about climate change? In a way. Some historians argue that the “17th century crisis” of political and economic disruption was sparked, in part, by a “mini-ice age.” While it is true there were wars during this period, there was also rapid state-building and economic expansion—humans adapted very well without overregulation. In reality, anyone who claims definitively that they know how climate change will impact human development is about as credible as a Hollywood screenwriter. There are lots of factors to be considered.
What have we missed? What really stupid climate film didn't make the list?