A&E » Film

Tornadoes and Turtles and Nature's Killing Joke



"Nature has her own logic, her own laws. She has no effect without cause nor invention without necessity."

-Leonardo da Vinci

It's never one single thing that causes the problems. Like in the first Batman movie — Jack Nicholson's Joker was poisoning people with everyday cosmetic and hygene products but he didn't just poison one batch of toothpaste. That would be too easy to avoid, he poisoned everything a little bit: you had to use that toothpaste in conjunction with a certain deodorant, or a shampoo with the right contact lens solution. The genius was in the unpredictability of cause and effect.

And so it is with nature — from the meteoric rise of autism rates over the past 50 years to the thousands of warm-water jellyfish that recently washed ashore on the beaches of Tofino to the death of the bees and more. Very few real-world problems have a single cause or a single solution. Nature is everything, so everything affects it and unlike most movies the end of the world will be slow and multifaceted.

But that's not the case for Into the Storm, a new disaster flick opening this week at the Village 8. For this one the filmmakers opted to take one doomsday scenario and milk it in every way imaginable, so it's about a small town that gets absolutely hammered by tornadoes — big ones, bigger ones, fire tornadoes, tornadoes full of airplanes, full of hail, full of tricycles even. Just a whole lot of tornados.

No pre-screenings for this one but the trailer looks awesome. It's directed by the guy who made Final Destination 5 (wherein Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge collapses), which is promising. In any case it's a movie about ever-lurking doom of climate change with a lot of property damage so that sounds good enough to me.

Also opening, a Michael Bay remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that's almost worse than the End of Days. The turtles themselves resemble giant talking green penises freshly pulled from a sewer-grade glory hole. The script is like a soggy pizza covered in garbage and topped with a new, completely unnecessary, ridiculously stupid origin story (imagine if the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker was also his childhood pet — that would be better). You know you have problems when Megan Fox is clearly the greatest part of your entire film.

Back to the reality: with 930 reported deaths in Africa from the Ebola virus and 30,000 quarantined in the Chinese city of Yumen due to an outbreak of bubonic plague, the downloads of the week are all pandemic flicks: Shivers (1975), Infection (2009) and Contagion (2011) set the mood nicely. Who will survive the next plague (and will Fukushima radiation help or hinder us?) Roger Corman's 1964 The Masque of the Red Death gets extra props for its protagonist's attempts to avoid the plague by holing up and partying. Who's to say a mutated, airborn Ebola virus could survive a weeklong bender of whiskey and LSD? Either way, you can at least die the way Jack Nicholson's Joker recommends, "Go with a smile."