It’s eerie how with every passing year, filmmaker Roland Emmerich looks more and more like a genius.
No, not because of his garbage apocalypse-thriller 2012, but one of his earlier films from 2004 — The Day After Tomorrow. That film wasn’t even meant to be taken seriously. It was a kind of worst-case scenario means of entertainment, similar to movies like Planet of the Apes or Night of the Living Dead.
What would happen if monkeys took over the world?
Or if zombies overcame the human race?
And, finally, what would it be like if every terrible type of weather occurred all at once?
Those first two will probably never happen. The second one, however, not only might happen — but is happening.
Sure, a tornado, ice storm, flash flood, meteor shower and a completely unnecessary and stupidly unrealistic wolf attack aren’t going to happen on the same day — but, think about it. In the past two years, we’ve had Hurricane Sandy in the northeast United States, an EF5 multiple-vortex tornado in Joplin, Missouri, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and now a typhoon in the Philippines.
In two years. And in the grand scheme of time, and the universe, two years might as well be one day.
I think if you asked somebody between six and 10 years ago: what would be the cause of human extermination? The majority of people would quickly respond, “nuclear war.” Because in the post 9/11 world, that is what people feared.
Perhaps there was a quick intermission for about a year when somebody might have said “deadly disease outbreak,” but I think right now, as 2013 draws to a close, we’re all fucking terrified of the weather.
Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 7 — as well as parts of Micronesia and Vietnam, let’s not forget about them, people — might actually be the worst cyclone in recorded history. And that’s not an exaggeration. As of right now, weather experts believe that wind speeds were as high as 195 mph when it made landfall. If verified, it will officially be the record.
So it’s not like something bad just happened. And it’s not like something bad just happened for the first time in a while. It’s more like, the worst thing ever just happened. 2,344 people are confirmed dead, and that’s only going to rise.
And now it’s time for a brief lesson: many of you may be wondering, what the heck is the difference between a hurricane, typhoon and a cyclone? I know I was. Well, it turns out, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — and you know an organization with a name like that must be credible — the only difference is location.
The word ‘hurricane’ is used in the Atlantic, Caribbean sea, central and northeast Pacific. Typhoons are in the northern Pacific. Cyclones are in the Arabian Sea. Other than that, they’re the exact same thing. So if someone in your office tomorrow tells another person off by saying, “It’s not a hurricane, it’s a cyclone,” you can utterly embarrass them by enlightening them with this newly discovered piece of information.
But anyway, the point here is that the world has become a ticking time bomb until the next natural disaster. And they’re seemingly only getting worse. Why should I believe that’s going to stop? And why aren’t we more afraid?
All I know is that somewhere, someplace, Roland Emmerich is sitting in a high chair, strumming the tips of his fingers together while staring blankly at a wall, and saying, “I told you so.”
Except, this time, Dennis Quaid will not be here to save us.