Monday, March 12, 2007

Get ready for an enviro-guilt blast at the theaters

It has already been a year of enviro self-flagellation, and soon Hollywood will be taking up the flog:
Tired of abuse by mankind, the earth is angry. Worse, the planet is out to even the score.

Audiences can expect a story along those lines when M. Night Shyamalan’s film “The Happening” reaches screens in the next year. The project, to which 20th Century Fox signed on last week, imagines a planet that is starting to act like the vigilante Travis Bickle from “Taxi Driver.”

“The Happening” will not be the only big-budget studio film to test a new kind of villainy, in which the real victim is the environment, and, whatever the plot variations, the enemy is all of us. Beginning this summer and for months after, movies as diverse as the “The Simpsons Movie,” “Transformers,” a remake of “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” and James Cameron’s “Avatar” will take on environmental themes.

And Hollywood wonders why it struggles at the box office. Everyone will drop $8 to watch themselves get implicitly preached at and blamed for 2 hours once in a while, but it takes a special brand of masochist to do this over and over and over again during the course of a year. Hollywood has become a place hell bent on sending messages. The first studio that grasps the fact that the public likes message movies occasionally, but prefers to escape from reality at the movie theater will crush the other studios.

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