5 Environmentally Themed Blockbusters of 2008 and How They Rate


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Hollywood has been slipping environmental messages into their blockbusters lately. I'm not talking about smart indy films or well-researched documentaries. I'm talking about movies that are marketed to a mass audience and have dizzying special effects, plenty of bad-guy punching, unchecked vehicle chases and expensive things that explode. You know, the stuff good clean family fun is made of. Eco-Themes in Movies
Environmental themes are nothing new. Most of us remember Waterworld and The Day After Tomorrow with at least a little regret in our hearts. Waterworld is a classic flop, although it is hardly the worst movie ever made. I vaguely remember The Day After Tomorrow. The ham-fisted plot had something to do with the earth freezing and Dennis Quaid getting all mad. Hollywood hasn't been doing the green movement much justice, especially when green celebrities often say bonehead things. Also, A Fire Down Below.

Good Green Movies
There are a handful of movies that have green themes that don't suck: An Inconvenient Truth, the super-depressing Silkwood, and Erin Brockovich. Environmentally themed movies can be made well. They just often aren't.

Wall-E
This movie may be one of the best animated movies of all time. It's a joy just to watch. Really, I think Wall-E could of just been the robot stacking garbage for an hour and a half and I wouldn't have walked out. It was a visual masterpiece. The plot was simplistic, but never preachy. It was a bit overly sentimental at times, but the movie never made you feel like scum for being a human. The people in the film were simply born into a lifestyle and didn't know a better way to live. When they realized they could live a different lifestyle, they did. Although the messages were obvious, the film never felt heavy-handed. Pretty good for a kids' movie.

9 out of 10
The Incredible Hulk
This movie is on the list for three reasons. 1.) The Hulk is green. 2.) This was the first movie to receive the Environmental Media Association's Green Seal. 3.) I liked the movie. The rest of the movies on this list are kind of awful. There needed to be a counterbalance. The themes of The Incredible Hulk are a little broad to be called an environmental movie. It was about responsible science and controlling power, which have environmental aspects. The movie was fun. Lots of chases and punching. Norton's Banner was a likable protagonist who took his job as "Hulk Supervisor" very seriously. Any comic fan is bound to like this movie.

7 out of 10
The Day the Earth Stood Still
This is another movie that features Keanu Reeves, naked and emaciated in a weird jelly. He may be getting typecast as "guy who emerges from jelly in order to enter a new form of consciousness." Don't laugh. He sold it. Keanu has come from the stars to destroy to the humans. The humans kind of deserve it. As soon as Keanu is off his ship, someone shoots him. The humans attack almost everything they can without provocation. Way to look bad in front of guests, people of Earth.

Keanu tells Connelly that he has come to destroy the humans before we kill all the trees and squids. Then John Cleese is all like, "Hey. Don't. You guys obviously overcame your destructive instincts. We deserve a shot." Then Keanu is all like, "Now that I've thought about what Cleese said and made friends with Will Smith's son, I will not destroy you guys. I will just take away electricity" There is also a robot that turns into flies that can eat metal.

4 out of 10
Twilight
I have to admit that I fell asleep halfway through this movie. That's full disclosure. The movie wasn't as terrible as I thought it was going to be. It was just boring. The theme of this movie was about ethical vegetarianism. You see, the good vampires were "vegetarians" because they didn't eat humans. They also cut down on food miles by hunting deer locally. The bad vampires were the ones who ate humans. The good vampires had to stop the bad vampires.

The main character was a non-vampire vegetarian. She was friends with the vampires who were considered weird. Many vegetarians may be considered weird because of their beliefs and practices. This movie tried to show that you can be different and be cool. The vegetarianism theme was not annoying. Unfortunately, the plot and characters were.

3 out of 10
The Happening
The premise of the movie was that plants and trees were spraying chemicals on humans. The chemicals make people kill themselves. The plants and trees were doing this because we pollute too much.

Most of the movie is Mark Wahlberg and Co.running from chemical-laden wind. It was pretty hokey. Notice how the survivors were all riding the train, the eco-friendly method of transportation. All those in the SUV died.

In one scene, a man who has been affected by the "suicide winds" gets all suicidal and runs himself over with a lawnmower. Then we see a large sign that says, "YOU DESERVE THIS." That's a pretty blatant message. The Happening really seems to hate its audience. Who is going to want to watch a movie that thinks you deserve to get run over by a lawnmower?

Wall-E may have made fun of the consumerist aspects of our society, our seemingly constant need for stimulation and our inactive lifestyles, but in the end, the humans were heroes.

1 out of 10

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