When Hollywood fast-forwards to climate devastation, it wastes an opportunity to ignite our imaginations.
By Jesse Firempong for Asparagus Magazine, Fall/Winter 2022 issue.
In media res. Latin, meaning “into the middle of things.” It’s a storytelling principle that dates back to Homer’s epic poem The Iliad. The ancient Greek tale opens not at the beginning of the Trojan War, but in the midst of battle.
But when it comes to climate fiction, or “cli-fi,” Hollywood usually skips right to the apocalypse. The beginning of the movie is often the end of the world. Think the ice-age catastrophe of The Day After Tomorrow, in which melting ice sheets trigger major disruptions in climate-regulating ocean currents just 10 minutes into the film. Then there’s the dusty hellscape of Mad Max: Fury Road, which opens on an endless desert through which deranged man-boys driving tricked out pick-up trucks hunt survivors. Can Hollywood imagine a future where humanity thrives? Can we?
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