With the recent news of the incredibly destructive tornado that devastated our neighbors just down south on 71 highway in Joplin, the human emotions that tug at all of us begin to surface. Devastation and destruction are a way of life here in Tornado Alley, but it hits even closer to home as these disasters affect those who we know and love.
What draws people to these stories? Why do we crave knowledge from events of this magnitude? It’s the human elements, the story of survival, the story of perseverance, the story of heroes.
As a fellow Kansas Citian, I began to see how this relates to the films we enjoy watching. Apocalyptic, disasters, violent alien invasions, etc.; we’re not drawn to them because we enjoy people dying, or enjoy the destruction of buildings and property (even though Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay make it look very cool). Instead, we revel in the human story, the story of those who survive, those who battle against all odds to win the battle, to survive to the next day, to see the sunlight at the end of the tunnel.
Kansas City isn’t featured in the big, blockbuster movies like Independence Day, War of the Worlds or Transformers, but this city and region has been the backdrop for a few disaster movies itself. As we count down the days to even more summer blockbusters, here is a look back at two disaster films that Kansas City itself played a prominent role.
The Day After (1983)
An ABC television movie, it follows the survivors of a deadly nuclear missile attack on Kansas City and their struggles therein after the event. It won two primetime Emmy awards for “Outstanding Film Sound Editing for a Limited Series” and “Outstanding Individual Achievement – Special Visual Effects,” and was nominated for 10 other Emmy awards, including best direction of a special by Star Trek veteran Nicholas Meyer.
An NBC television movie about an Asteroid that will impact at Kansas City, Missouri, the steps taken to thwart the crises, and the effects those steps had on the following events. It also won an Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects, but the film was more stylized and “science fiction-esqe” than “The Day After,” much in the similar vein as Hollywood blockbusters that came out the following summer, “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact.” Still worthy to check out for the local crowd.
Kansas City movie watchers, up next: Hangover 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, and X-Men: First Class.