Monday, July 1, 2024

On the Beach (2000)

This remake of the 1959 film from the book by Nevil Shute is an astonishing piece of work.  It has decades since I watched the 1959 version and even more decades since I read the book.  This follows the book and the 1959 movie  very closely although the Winner, Australian Grand Prix plaque on the Jaguar E-type in the 1959 movie is a more gentle fate for the cynical scientist.

A few important changes.  Instead of an attack submarine it is an Ohio-class SSBN with some moral questions raised and adroitly handled.

In the book, humankind is destroyed by nuclear weapons salted with Cobalt-60, which no nation would ever  build.   I think someone with one of the antinuclear groups had projected that such weapons could exterminate us and Shute turned that into a sobering commentary on the hazards of the nuclear arms build-up.

The book and both films are profoundly sobering reminders of where a few senile idiots could take us even if not to thus extermination level. Still, even a limited nuclear war would likely destroy a few centuries of economic progress and capital formation along with several hundred million lives.  (Perhaps billions once you include the destruction of First World markets for the Second and Third Worlds.)

Armand Assante as Commander Towers is a spectacular actor.

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