Greenlandia Epiphination

I watched ‘Greenland’ the other night. It’s an ‘end-of-the-world-by-asteroid’ disaster film, starring Gerard Butler being all Gerard Butler-ish. It was a fun romp through every ‘disaster film’ trope/meme, with some above average CGI effects thrown in for good measure. I was entertained.

Some time later I was describing the movie to Mrs Widds which, even later still, triggered a bit of an epiphany.

Yes, my friends, I epiphed! … and what I epiphed about was this …

In all of these sorts of movies we see what I like to call the ‘noble sacrifice’. It’s where the, almost always, curmudgeonly elder, usually a disaffected parent of one of the estranged lead couple, dies. (who incidentally almost always have a child, who sports a vulnerability of some sort – in the case of ‘Greenland’ the kid is a diabetic)

The curmudgeonly elder who has survived for their requisite three-score-and-ten (or thereabouts) years quite well, thank you very much, must sacrifice themselves in order to save one or more of the primary characters, after one or more of the primary characters, (or their self-absorbed teenager) has put themselves in mortal danger by doing something breathtakingly stupid.

The curmudgeonly elder has to be sacrificed so the ‘young-un’s’ can live, presumably breed, (usually shown in epilogue, mid, or end-credits scenes – I’m looking at you Minority Report’) and ensure the continuation of the species.

Another perfect example of the curmudgeonly elder dying in order for the brood to survive is the curmudgeonly grandma in ‘Dante’s Peak’, who literally throws herself into an acidified lake to save her precocious grandchildren (another disaster film staple) who came looking for her, along with the lead characters who came looking for precocious grandchildren. (now that I think about it, that movie had another curmudgeonly elder, the senior volcanologist, who died sacrificially too)

Side note: – just because you’ve got a healthy ‘breeding pair’ doesn’t mean that’s necessarily a good thing. Just look at the intro to the movie ‘Idiocracy’ to see a prime example of how that can turn out.

This may have been necessary in a pre-technological/industrial world, when all the ‘rebuilding of a society’, by necessity, would have to have been accomplished by hand.

Young folks = lots of strong hands, and backs (and afore mentioned ability to self-replicate at an alarming rate) … old folks = a waste of scarce resources.

However, in our wonderful and terrifying modern era, it t’ain’t necessarily so.

What we have now is KNOWLEDGE. (and the technological know-how to render those strong backs obsolete)

Unless all life on Earth is reduced to the odd random microbe, (in which case, all bets are off) the most precious resource to be preserved is knowledge. Not the kind of ‘knowledge’ curated by the archiving of every tweet ever thumbed across the digital universe, but the myriad knowledge of how to construct a living breathing society/ culture.

Knowledge is one thing, but then you’ve got to know what to do with it, and that knowledge, folks, resides within the life experience of … you guessed it … The Curmudgeonly Elder.

How apropos in this Entertainment Age, where Youth is eternally sought after, that the sacrificial lamb is actually mutton.

There are so many tangents this wee bit of an epiph could head off into. but this is after all, a wee little epiph, so I’m just going to stop here and leave the rest to your imagination.

29 comments on “Greenlandia Epiphination

  1. jenanita01 says:

    Funnily enough, I have begun to feel a little surplus to requirements myself lately, after being told in no uncertain terms that I really shouldn’t expect any better from 76-year-old kidneys!
    Made me feel I should just wander off and die in a corner… just joking, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kate Duff says:

    Love a good epiph Widds – don’t mind a good movie either though they are far and few between at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. quiall says:

    Whew! Great epiph! I fear stupid is making a comeback hand in hand with hubris and entitlement.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sue Vincent says:

    The Elders were venerated for a reason when experience and memory were humanity’s only ‘hard-drive’. Maybe they need to be again…

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Wise, entertaining, and amusing. Very well put together

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TanGental says:

    You should epiph more often. You might find answers to climate change, the pointlessness of perfume adverts and how they get toothpaste in that tube …

    Liked by 1 person

  7. acflory says:

    Oh, you are my hero! Sacrifical Mutton is precisely what we’ve been seeing in the Western world during this Covid crisis. The assumption seems to be that the Elderly are just a drain on society so if the virus gets them, no big deal.
    And I loved that opening from Idiocracy. Makes me want to see the whole movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are so right about these movies! And I love your conclusion. The US is a gigantic example of “sacrifice the elderly.” And several politicians have even come out and SAID IT! Yeesh. Good luck to all those breath-takingly stupid characters who think they know it all. Lol. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Steve Hurley says:

    Have you seen Logan’s run
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan%27s_Run_(film)#Plot

    It is set in 2274 and In which people over 30 !!! are killed being they are too old

    Liked by 2 people

    • Widdershins says:

      Saw it as a young thing when it first came out. It blew my nascent SF writer’s mind. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • rdfranciswriter says:

      Wow. Yeah, they’ve been trying to get off a remake for years now. Of course — like the Willy Wonka original vs. remake (as one example) — it will be “closer to the book.” Which means it’ll be so different from the original film, that we’ll probably end up disliking it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Widdershins says:

        It was such a visual treat … all those beautiful people 🙂 … Jenny Agutter was one of my first crushes so it does have a warm place in my heart. 🙂
        Hollywood just can’t seem to get it through it’s thick skull that you can’t recapture the zeitgeist, no matter how much CGI you throw at the wall.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. rdfranciswriter says:

    Your read of this movie (and disaster movies, in general) is perfect: a man makes a noble sacrifice; one child is self-absorbed, the other has some type of illness, there’s curmudgeonly elderly person, etc. Too funny!

    This almost sounds like a sidequel to Deep Impact, but it reads better than Geostorm.

    Liked by 1 person

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