Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Since Hollywood producers are mainly concerned with selling the movies, they often stretch realities and exaggerate disasters and their causes so that they can appeal to a large number of audiences…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER95.8% of users find it useful
Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film"

Myths in Disaster Movies Most of what we know regarding disasters is due to Hollywood disaster movies. Since Hollywood producers are mainly concernedwith selling the movies, they often stretch realities and exaggerate disasters and their causes so that they can appeal to a large number of audiences. These movies have been responsible for propagating a number of myths regarding disasters. After studying various disaster movies, I have isolated five disaster related myths commonly found in Hollywood movies. These five myths are:
Myth 1: Disasters result from a dramatic, high-energy event, not necessarily of a global magnitude.
Myth 2: Large-scale impact rather than small events.
Myth 3: Death toll is the most reliable statistics regarding the magnitude of a disaster.
Myth 4: Disasters result because humans are unable to predict them.
Myth 5: Technocratic approach is the best way to solve the problem.
After isolating these five common myths of disaster movies, I compared two disaster movies, Outbreak and Contagion, to see to what extend these movies propagate these myths. The table below shows the presence of these myths in the two movies.
Myth 1
Myth 2
Myth 3
Myth 4
Myth 5
Table 1: Presence of Myth in Outbreak and Contagion
Outbreak propagates four of the five myths while Contagion has only one of these five myths. Let us look at the presence of these myths in the two movies in details.
In Outbreak, the Motaba virus spreads in US after the host animal (a monkey) is illegally brought to the United States. In Contagion, the disease spreads when a single cook forgets to wash his hands after handling a pig. In both the movies, the start of the disaster is the result of inconsequential events and not a dramatic event. Thus, the first myth is not present in either of the two movies.
In Outbreak, even though the virus is localized to an area, the movie focuses on the large-scale impact of the disaster and ignores smaller events. On the other hand, Contagion looks at both the large-scale impact as well as small events. Thus, the second myth is present in Outbreak but not in Contagion.
In Outbreak, the disaster becomes huge because it quickly kills 150 people in a small area. Similarly, in Contagion, 26 million people die globally. In both movies, the death of a large number of people emphasizes the magnitude of the disaster. Thus, the third myth is present in both the movies.
The Outbreak suggests that if people are able to predict the disaster, they can prepare for it and prevent deaths. This does not apply to Contagion in which there seems to be no way of stopping the spread of virus. Thus, the fourth myth is present in Outbreak but not in Contagion.
Outbreak uses the technocratic approach to solve the problem as scientists and doctors work hard to find a cure for the disease, an anti-serum. Contagion takes a much more holistic approach to fighting the disease with scientists and administrators pooling resources to fight the disease. Thus, the fifth myth is present in Outbreak but not in Contagion.
From this analysis of the two movies, we see that compared to Outbreak, Contagion presents the disaster in a more realistic way. Contagion presents data to explain spread of disease and the number of people at risk in each city. Both Contagion and Outbreak bring focus on the various ways in which highly contagious diseases can spread. However, Contagion also gives real information that can help real people in society protect themselves in the event of an epidemic. So even though Contagion contains some of the myths associated with disaster movies, overall, it is a much more realistic movie which presents real solution to potential problems.
Works Cited
Contagion. Dir. Steven Soderbergh. Warner Bros. Pictures. 2011. DVD.
Outbreak. Dir. Wolfgang Peterson. Warner Bros. Pictures. 1995. DVD. Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 words”, n.d.)
Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 words. Retrieved from
(Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 Words)
Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 Words.
“Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film

Identifying Female Masquerading Through Film

...Identifying Female Masquerading Through Film Whether their roles are biographical representations of famous women throughout history or as full of fantasy as playing a fairy godmother, female characters have captivated audiences with their ability to connect, empower, seduce, command and show compassion. Through these performances, movie audiences have often developed unnatural assumptions of what a woman’s sexuality means and how she uses it in daily life. This notion is captured on the Biography channel’s web site as they quote legendary old Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth who famously said, “Every man I knew went to bed with Gilda…. and woke up with me.” When translating the allure...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Promoting Global Tolerance through the Film Industry

...?Visual Arts and Film Studies "Promoting global tolerance through the film industry - What are the religious, cultural, racial and ethnic characteristics modern films seek to portray and could these be made better?" Introduction The media is a very powerful tool that has a lot of influence all the world over. It is on record how the use of the media has been used to propagate various acts of evil including genocide and civil war in Rwanda and other parts of the world (Gellately and Stoltzfus, 2001, p.74). Equally disturbing is how the media has been so powerful in bringing about ethnic and religious conflicts in other parts of the world. But in much the same way, the...
7 Pages(1750 words)Essay

Oliver Twist: Twisting the Tale Through Film

... Oliver Twist: Twisting the Tale Through Film The story of Oliver Twist is relatively well-known. It was written by Charles Dickens in 1838 and published as Oliver Twist or The Parish Boy's Progress. The basics of the story follow the tale of a young orphan. When he is nine years old, he is deemed a troublemaker so the workhouse that has been raising him apprentices him out to an undertaker. After a fight with another worker at the undertaker's house, Oliver is told he will be sent back to the workhouse and runs away instead, eventually making his way to London. In London, he meets the Artful Dodger, a child pickpocket and member of a gang of thieves. They try to recruit Oliver into their ranks, but...
7 Pages(1750 words)Essay


... What is a myth' A myth can be said to be a story with a purpose, which tries to explain the way the world is.Through myths, a relationship between human being and god can be explained. In most cases, myths send a message that has got an important religious or social meaning to people, even though the events might be impossible. Myths can as well be used to explain other things such as the customs or behavior of certain group of people or even explain the nature. Through told stories, myths helped to teach human beings behaviors that enabled them to live well with fellow human beings. According to Campbell, myths are not lies or tall-tales. They are however imaginative, symbolic stories that people of virtually all times have told... to be...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Psychology through film: The Final Project

...19 June Psychology through film: The final project Principle of Self in Conflict Resolution Conflict in interest is a common phenomenon in the society and determines relationships between individuals. Decisions on resolution of arising conflicts from divergent interests further considers factors within individuals and external factors such as effects of decisions on other stakeholders to the conflict. In addition, different conflict resolution strategies such avoidance and confrontational strategies and resolution models such as win-win situation, win-lose situation, and lose-lose situation exist for resolving and managing conflict. Effective application of the strategies and the models for a cohesive...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Myth into Film

...out through her interactions with Brenda. Like Brenda killed her children, Maya carried out an abortion. Thus they are both equal in that they killed despite the motive behind their killings. Brenda killed for vengeance while Maya killed to be a star, to be a celebrity, prosperous and independent. Though Maya tries to be independent of Medea and Brenda, the abortion she committed unites the three women into one. The character of Brenda in the film helps in bringing out the reappearance of myth throughout human history. Through Brenda, Maya discovers the timeless quality of myth. Dassin’s choice of characters in A Dream of Passion resembles that of...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay


...that one of his children would overthrow him. Zeus was very cunning and he did not always use his might (destructive power) to punish. When Zeus desired to punish people, he did not simply destroy their world, but he sent the beautiful Pandora, who set horrible disasters free and people’s lives became miserable. The trickster is also a “consummate and continuous trick-player and deceiver” (as cited in Evans, 2010, p. 111). Zeus during his love affairs often used various tricks taking shapes of animals or turning into rain or turning into a particular man. Of course, Hermes was the major trickster as he used to play tricks since his birth. For example, he left his cradle to play and pretended to be a little baby to get...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay


...Female Danger to Male in Greek Mythology Female Danger to Male in Greek Mythology Greek mythology is a valuable culturalheritage of the ancient world which has reflected the thoughts of the ancient Greeks about the way the world is organized. By means of myths they tried to explain everything around them because they did not have enough knowledge to do this from other points of view. In this regard, myths contain many significant male and female characters which are described in different ways, and this paper will consider the danger the females represent to the males. It is necessary to state first that women are described with a bigger degree of heroism in the Greek myths: if the men...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay


...MYTH In Greek mythology or hero myths, the Oracle of Delphi was a respected priestess at the Apollo. In this regard, the oracleof Apollo at Delphi and various sources of prophecy play the important role in hero myths. The roles that it played are broad and range from societal rituals to ensuring wellbeing of the individuals who consulted it. One of the important roles that the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi and sources of prophecy played in hero myths was that of consultation. The Oracle of Delphi would be consulted by the community before various important decisions, such as war or the establishing of colonies and various societal rituals. Likewise, priestesses at an Oracle...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay

Disaster Resilience Through Local Economic Activity

...Disaster Resilience Through Local Economic Activity Introduction Due to the frequency and intensity of disasters in small and rural airports such as earthquakes and plane crash, majorly natural disasters or anthropogenic disasters, disaster resilience has gained significance as a pivotal conceptual approach in building capacity in such rural economy in order to respond to the disaster and recover from its impacts. Transport economy acknowledges that the society’s core values cannot be wholly protected every time and that various disruptions are likely to occur. Therefore there is an intense and urgent need to learn to...
9 Pages(2250 words)Research Paper
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Perpetuating Disaster Myth through Film for FREE!

Contact Us