Flooded with garbage

Nancy Banks-Smith (who has been going for even longer than me, and is still hilarious and razor-sharp) on The Flood, part 1 of which I watched last night. I shall not be watching part 2 (half because of the execrable adverts, trailers and sponsor messages, longer than the actual segments of movie, and half because I've it all before in Towering Inferno and various other disaster movies of the 1970s, down to every last cliche and detail):

"Tom Courtenay, however, saw it all coming. Suchet is typically decisive. "No man on the planet knows more about storm surges! We Need That Man Here!" Courtenay, who saves the film and London single handed, plays an absent-minded professor, slightly vague, almost vacant, but, on his own subject, precision itself. As he tells Suchet: "The danger areas include the Docklands Light Railway, 68 underground stations, 30 mainline stations, three world heritage sites, eight power stations, dozens of museums and art galleries and, of course, Whitehall." His daughter-in-law, the lovely Samantha (Jessalyn Gilsig), runs the Thames Barrier. She is Canadian, because Canada put up some of the money. His son, Rob (Robert Carlyle), is the head of the reassuringly named Defiant Engineering.They are all estranged from each other but the flood should fix that. That's what biblical floods (and towering infernos and crashing aircraft) are for."

"………"We must prioritise," said the police commissioner briskly. There's a woman who obviously lives in Kew not Lewisham. The royal family are airlifted to Balmoral. You really would expect them to know better by now. The Queen is well aware that it is her job to stand on Buckingham Palace balcony in a Burberry, waving to encourage her surviving subjects, who are hanging on to the Victoria Memorial for dear life."

Well, quite: the special effects may be good, but you need a decent plot (it was, truly, terribly predictable and clunky) and characters: here all, without exeption, terrible. Joanne Whalley, the only good thing about it, was wasted; the two "loveable common men" (straight from Pirates of the Carribbean, one, I am told, actually) were awful: they and the other actors delivered unbelievably hammy lines with varying degrees of lack of conviction. But the main issue was, why didn't everyone just go upstairs, instead of sitting for an hour in a car in the ground floor of a car park until the wave hit them, etc? Truly dreadful – not to mention reinforcing my prejudice that it is always a mistake to watch live TV, especially on a commercial station.   

4 thoughts on “Flooded with garbage

  1. I happened to see The Flood on US TV recently. I too kept wondering why people didn’t just go upstairs. As with most other films of this type, I was also amazed at how much command central knew (often instantly) and how great their computer graphics were – though I suppose these are plot conventions that are harder to break than most, since they do speed things up. Unfortunately, on this side of the pond such films form much of the public’s perception of how disasters are actually dealt with by officials, which is not such a good thing. (I also agree Miss Whaley was the most believable thing in it.)

  2. It’s at times like these when one cries out for a good joke. In the meantime you’ll have to make do with this.
    As the flood engulfs the village, the pious householder retreats behind his sandbags. A 4×4 ploughs through the street, now thigh-high in water.
    “Hop in!” says the driver, “and I’ll take you somewhere dry”.
    “Thanks very much”, says the householder, “but I’m sure God will rescue me.”
    The flood rises higher and the householder retreats upstairs where he sits in a window. An inflatable rescue boat passes by.
    “Jump aboard!” shouts the lifeboat crew.
    “That’s OK” says our obstinate hero “but I’m sure God will rescue me.”
    Eventually the flood gets so high that the householder has to perch on the roof. Even this high, clinging to the chimney, the water laps his toes — and yet he doesn’t relent, sending a passing helicopter on its way with the claim that God would rescue him. An hour later he is washed away and drowns.
    Up in Heaven, the Archangel Gabriel asks God why he didn’t rescue this devout and trusting servant”.
    “Look,” says God, “I sent a jeep, a boat AND a helicopter — what more do you want me to do?”

  3. We were intending to watch this because I have the book – I thought it might be a good one to read as a model for a modern thriller – but when I came downstairs about fifteen minutes into it my husband was sitting there waiting for me with the sound off. As an explanation he simply increased the volume. Ah well, I expect a lot of people loved this, and it certainly got a lot of publicity when it first came out, but I think Henry’s version was more entertaining.
    I loved Nancy Banks-Smith’s bit on how the police-commissioner did his prioritising. Hilarious. Perhaps we were watching it in the wrong way.

  4. At my house, we prize the chance to watch bad disaster movies. We count cliches, and guess how long it will take for a cuddly animal to be imperiled, and best of all, vie to shout alternate dialogue at the screen. My daughter got “Flood” for Christmas. Watching it was painful. Nancy Banks-Smith’s blog post is delicious.

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