Disasters In Reel Life: It's About Time (And Suspense) This summer's movies are a diverse bunch, but there's one popular genre that's been left out of the mix this year: the disaster movie. You could call this lucky timing, since with the Gulf oil spill, we're experiencing some actual disasters this summer. And that's got critic Bob Mondello thinking about the differences between movie disasters and the real thing.
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Disasters In Reel Life: It's About Time (And Suspense)

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Disasters In Reel Life: It's About Time (And Suspense)

Disasters In Reel Life: It's About Time (And Suspense)

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Well, that difference between disasters as they unfold in movies and the real thing got our film critic, Bob Mondello, thinking.

BOB MONDELLO: Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) No, no, no, no, no.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM)

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING)

MONDELLO: Unidentified Announcer #1: In the Gulf of Mexico tonight, on this Day 95 of the oil spill crisis...

MONDELLO: Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (As character) You're not going to make it.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONDELLO: Disaster fiction won't work that way: If you start with your catastrophe, you've got nowhere to go except cleanup, and where's the fun in that? So directors start by introducing victims we'd normally meet only after they've been dodging tidal waves or meteors or whatever. And putting warning signs everywhere.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM)

(SOUNDBITE OF ALARM)

MONDELLO: Unidentified Man #4 (Actor): (As character) Somebody turn of the damned alarm.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM)

(SOUNDBITE OF ALARM)

MONDELLO: This is what Alfred Hitchcock meant when he said suspense is the audience knowing something the characters don't.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM)

SIEGEL: Unidentified Man #6 (Actor): (As character) It's perfectly normal.

MONDELLO: Unidentified Announcer #2: One plane colliding with one twin tower. Eighteen minutes later - oh my God.

MONDELLO: Unidentified Announcer #2: Oh my God.

MONDELLO: I'm Bob Mondello.

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