If you can make it there

Bryony Gordon wonders why film makers like to destroy New York. It was I Am Legend before Christmas and Cloverfield coming soon. Previously there’s been Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, Die Hard With A Vengeance, to mention just the first three that come to mind.

New York gets nuked so often because it’s familiar, and it’s cool to see places you recognise getting trashed. Of course, the reason New York’s so familiar is because it features in so many films, and it features in so many films because it’s so familiar. (Of course, this all had to start somewhere and it would be interesting to find out how the Myth of New York got started.) So if you’re planning a blockbuster movie then you might as well start thinking of which Manhattan landmarks you can work into the script.

Which is the conclusion I came to earlier today whilst crossing an idea I had a while ago with I Am Legend (I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve seen The Omega Man, so I have a rough idea).

When I first heard about Famagusta, a ghost town on Cyprus, there was a mention of all the safety deposit boxes being left in banks in the town. What if one of those boxes contained a few million in diamonds, or some other treasure or MacGuffin and an intrepid gang sneaked in under the eyes of the UN to carry out a very special bank job? This morphed into The Berlin Job, which was going to be a late forties raid on an alternate universe nuked Berlin to raid Nazi art stashes. The true purpose of the story being to reveal the lengths the Soviets and Americans would go to to hide the the truth about the end of the war- that Hitler had been assassinated hours before so Germany could surrender to the Americans, but the city had still been nuked to stop the Soviet advance and warn them to back off.

Yesterday’s variation featured a city hit by a terrorist release of a deadly toxin or virus. The city is cordoned off, with bridges destroyed, tunnels flooded and a big wall erected. Cue, a few years later, our intrepid thieves. However, once they get in, and find out that the way out is a lot less simple than they thought, they discover the secret the Government’s not been telling them. The people the virus didn’t kill went quite, quite mad.

It might be simpler to create a Raccoon City for this little apocalypse, but who can resist the temptation of an abandoned Times Square with some poor soul’s last sane message scrawled across one of the billboards?


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