Friedberg and Seltzer at the Movies Part 5: Disaster Movie (2008)

Recent events might have brought home how precarious our place is, civilization could be wiped out by a cold, or a meteorite, or even a hitherto unfulfilled prophecy. And as I noted before, this has been the topic of media obsession for some time. When faced with our obliteration, as other media products have graphically shown, all you can do is laugh. In 2008, the partnership of Friedberg and Seltzer showed that the end of the world does have its comic side, or at least offer outlandish interpretations in Disaster Movie.

It might not be the best of both worlds though.

After a vivid dream sequence foretold of mankind’s destruction, putting the prophesied end date of the world on August 29th, 2008. Will though concerned, is going to let nothing stop him from enjoying his birthday. Except, of course, that dream coming true and every disaster now happening at once, wrecking his party and forcing him and, a gaggle of loosely related partygoers navigate, the now-ruined city. If they can return the Crystal Skull to its rightful location, they can make it out okay, But their journey is fraught with peril, anarchy, and pop culture references.

Juno’s characteristics and distinctive style are parodied here, ans surprisingly lend themselves to commenting on the apocalyptic destruction.

The film is eager to get started, offering skewered jabs at the rise of Facebook, Amy Winehouse and 10,000 BC, all in the opening scene. As with other Friedberg and Seltzer classics, this is far from the brunt of it. Particularly parody-heavy 20 minutes that is particularly light on disasters it is a riff of the opening of Cloverfield and manages to set the tone well. Offering excuses to reference the hottest trends of early 2008, as the gang meet famous faces as the world comes to an end. Examples include the combination of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, Dr Phill, Flava Flav, even the distinctive dialogue of Juno is now a target for mockery. The comedy does not stop at humans though, if you thought the live-action embodiment of Poe was disturbing, the three singing chipmunks riddled with rabies can give Poe a run for his money.

Some of the animated stars of 2008 are brought to life… in the most terrifying fashion!

The celebrity culture zings are back but with Kim Kardashian here herself, not playing herself, though. Friedberg and Seltzer allow themselves even more room to get fantastical. The films of the time that were not disaster flicks still get their fair shake, with examples ranging from Speed Racer to Sex and the City. The rise of superhero movies is also a target. Though disaster movies and superhero parodies would be a match made in heaven. With the likes of Hancock, Hellboy, and Batman among others, being spoofed. Although not one herself it is here where Nicole Parker returns and shines as Giselle from her constantly sunny disposition countered with the outlandish disasters makes for some terrific comedy.

Do you remember those Head On commercials?

It would be redundant to say that Friedberg and Seltzer had done it again, with some slight alterations, they have taken their comedy to new levels by counterpointing it with destruction on a city-wide scale helps the delightful absurdity of Friedberg and Seltzer situations to be enhanced. Once again offering a zeitgeist-infused blast from the past, or a container of culture to revel in. Despite some similarities to other parodies on the market, spending the time with this movie will be anything but a disaster.

Its like the early part of 2008 summed up in one photo.

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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