Waiting for the World’s End

My wife and I finally saw War of the Worlds last night. Despite the film’s flaws (it falls apart as soon as Tim Robbins shows up) I liked it. What it lacked over the original was that sense of faith. I love the ending of the original which sees bacteria as something God in his wisdom prepares. While having a very different plot, the film Signs from a few years ago follows the undertone of the original War of the Worlds. (Recall how the asthma and water drinking save the life of the child) I still love the ending to the original film of War of the Worlds and the religious overtones. This new version fails because the ending comes out of left field and is completely untied to any of the themes of the film. (Which has the rather good theme of finding value in ones kids and a critique of family dysfunction) It just doesn’t work.

The other thing I found interesting in the film though was the idea of preparing for the end. Now I suspect most of us since the end of the cold war don’t really take the supply of food as seriously anymore. I remember as a child tying it to nuclear war or the like. There was always this quasi-survivalist mindset to food storage. The last decade it has more been emphasized as a way to plan for unemployment or short term emergencies like water contamination.

I’m certainly not saying that one ought have food storage to prepare for an alien invasion. That’d be silly. But what the film struck home to me is that we really don’t know what can happen. Did anyone think back on the morning of 9/11 that things like that would be transpiring? What about the people up in Idaho back in the 80’s when the floods hit? Residents of Florida are more prepared for disaster. But what about the rest of us? Bad things can happen suddenly. Perhaps the threat of terrorism isn’t as bad as the threats of nuclear war. And I think those of us outside of major metropolitan areas tend to see it more as a “big city” threat. But what would we do in an emergency?

14 thoughts on “Waiting for the World’s End

  1. Clark, I saw the movie last week. If the movie works, it is only for the impact some scenes make: crowds of trudging, traumatized people, or the mortal showdown between a desperate father and the smooth psycho who was endangering his daughter (all acted out behind a closed door). Yes, the plot was incoherent (in an urban crisis, who would head into central Boston?) — I guess that’s a strike against it. I liked the fact that Cruise was not cast as the guy who saved the world or even a good father, just a regular guy struggling to protect his kids and survive a succession of dangers.

  2. Of course the most beautiful scene in the movie was the last (filmed on my street in Brooklyn).

    My parents have a room downstairs full of food. This is from the counsel to have food storage, but I think now it’s more about convenience for them. Buy a lot of bulk and rotate it through. Then you never are out of anything. Here in the city we barely have enough space for our dishes, let alone a loaf of bread. We don’t think we can take food storage seriously until we move out of the city.

  3. Clark:

    But, Food Storage hasn’t been talked about in GC for quite some time. We can safely discard it and forget it was ever counsel, right? [insert varying levels of sarcasm & rhetoricism as you like for your own IMO]

  4. Food storage has been talked about a fair bit in our ward. I hesitate to draw implications from that. (It seems far too many are willing to overgeneralized based upon their ward) Regarding your other point, I don’t think that true. Doing a quick search it seems like there have been many mentions of food storage since 2000. Here’s one from Pres. Hinkley in conference.

    “We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas. It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary.

    I do not predict any impending disaster. I hope that there will not be one. But prudence should govern our lives. Everyone who owns a home recognizes the need for fire insurance. We hope and pray that there will never be a fire. Nevertheless, we pay for insurance to cover such a catastrophe, should it occur.

    We ought to do the same with reference to family welfare.

    We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. As all of you recognize, this counsel is not new. But I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.

    Begin in a small way, my brethren, and gradually build toward a reasonable objective. Save a little money regularly, and you will be surprised how it accumulates.”

  5. Whoops. You were being sarcastic. Duh. I only associated the sarcasm with the last line. But I bet you meant it for all of it. C’est la vie. Still, enjoy the Pres. Hinkley quote.

    I should add that with Sam’s Club and Costco buying in bulk is much easier. As Rusty said though, one has to rotate through it. I really need to start putting aside water though.

  6. As you mentioned, we Florida residents are perhaps more prepared than others. Four hurricanes last year wakes you up a bit. I’m installing a generator right now. I’ll be ready when those aliens attack!!!

    But I think the larger point is that you never know what’s going to happen. We have terrorist bombings in London going on more regularly. Could something like that happen here? A tornado can hit anytime. Blizzards are a problem farther north. I think being prepared is just good advice in general.

  7. To be honest, occasionally my overly paranoid worries come to the forefront and I wonder if that vision Wilford Woodruff found in the temple is true. Yeah it is questionable and unfortunately only the Google cahce of David Bowie’s article on it is available. But it sure sounds like a biological warfare weapon was used against the US.

  8. War Of The Worlds was a great disappointment to me as well. It has been so many years since I’ve seen the original I really can’t do a comparison.
    This one was so far out in left field that there was no part of it that I enjoyed, except for the cinematography.
    As far as our day is concerned, I believe that just about anything can happen. Geoff B., blizzards can happen in Florida, not just further north, just like tornados can hit anywhere, or earthquakes for that matter.
    There are about 14 different versions of Wilford Woodruffs vision out there. The general principles of it, though, are similar to what the Prophet Joseph saw, and that can be scary. The one thing that has always given me solace, though, is the principle of a Zion society, which will counter any of the trials and tribulations that will affect the world in general.
    To me, this is a powerful principle and one that we should be striving to achieve.

  9. The original version is available in his diaries. He recorded what he found in the temple there.

  10. What I liked most about Spielberg’s War of the Worlds are the two almost verbatim quotes from the book at the begining and the end.

    Oh! And Rusty’s street.

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