nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk) wrote,

Norway has made its first disaster movie

Bølgen (The Wave) involves – you guessed it – a giant wave/inland tsunami that happens when half a mountain slides off into the fjord. It is based on a real place, under a real threat, and on real incidents of this type in the twentieth century. The actual event isn’t implausible. There’s a BBC clip of an interview here with a couple of sailors who actually survived a ‘megatsunami’ event of this type in Alaska 1958, in which the wave in question was 30m high in the middle of the fjord and destroyed trees on its shore 500m above the normal sea level.

So far, I am intrigued. Unfortunately I then read the synopsis, which goes as follows:

The experienced geologist Kristian Eikfjord has accepted a job offer out of town. He is getting ready to move from the city of Geiranger with his family, when he and his colleagues measure small geological changes in the underground. Kristian gets worried and his worst nightmare is about to come true, when the alarm goes off and the disaster is inevitable. With less than 10 minutes to react, it becomes a race against time in order to save as many as possible including his own family.

New setting, new language, same old plot…

Just once, I’d like a disaster film premise that goes like this:

The Volcano/Tsunami/Earthquake/Whatever

Jo Smith is a nuclear physicist/geologist/volcanologist/civil engineer who notices something disturbing in the readouts for the power station/earthquake fault/volcano/dam/aeroplane. Instantly Jo informs their colleagues who all take it extremely seriously. Some additional observation/readings are carried out. They contact the local authorities and the existing disaster plan is put into action. Said plan has been drawn up based on evidence, and has been rehearsed by the local community.*

The plan is carried out. The disaster happens. Some people may die or be injured, but overall the actions are judged a success. Jo’s entire family is on holiday with their much-loved in-laws and play no part in the story. Anybody with a dog lets it off its lead to run to higher ground/swim alone, because dogs are better at that than humans.

Perhaps you are thinking that this sounds a bit boring? It needn’t be, with due attention to character and script. There can still be the giant volcanic eruption/whatever. And it couldn’t possibly be more boring than sitting through the umpteenth version of the same bloody story just with a different disaster.

TL:DR You don’t have to base everything on Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People.

*Which is very helpful in such circumstances. See the evacuation of Rabaul in a volcanic eruption.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: film, news from norden, real life
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