Falling Asteroids in Movies: Will Meteor Disaster Films Recur After an Asteroid Incident in Russia?

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Perhaps it would have been helpful to have a scientist give a disclaimer when the most recent film about a falling space rock (1998's "Deep Impact") landed in theaters. The disclaimer should have noted how crashing asteroids in the film had a chance of not being fiction, even if those asteroids would likely be much smaller in comparison. Of course, this was always known in the scientific community, but the movie world tucked it under the rug to the point of an entire movie genre going by the wayside.

Now that we know meteors can wreak havoc here on Earth (if seemingly more often in Russia), what will become of the asteroid or meteor disaster film we once saw aplenty for several decades? With all the dash cam footage of Russia's falling meteoroid looking borderline CGI, it's hard to imagine someone not mixing the worlds of reality and fantasy together.

In fact, we have yet to see a big budget movie that bridges the gap between digital animation and the real world. The perfect opportunity comes in the Russian meteor incident that could also bring an interesting interconnection to a much larger meteor crash in Russia over 100 years ago. If you know anything about the iconic Tunguska Event of 1908, then you know how much it's been bathed in mystery as well as myth.

Wrapping a semi-fictional connection between the above meteor event and the current one potentially makes for an interesting new sci-fi film genre. That's because it truly is a strange coincidence two large meteors would land in Russia a little over 100 years apart. And when you combine real footage of the current Russian meteor falling near populated areas, you straddle the line of fiction and reality.

The dangers are in reminding people how they're watching a piece of entertainment and not fact. We've already seen the implications of such things on TV when Animal Planet did a fictional and convincing documentary on finding evidence of mermaids. Twitter lit up with tweets declaring how real it was when it was nothing but fabrication.

It's a little safer fudging celestial events, because so much mystery still exists about our universe and its correlation to Earth. With asteroids, a revival of the asteroid, meteor, and comet disaster film would need a re-think without having to go back to the places it's already been. That might be a challenge selling something more creative when the very mention of an "Armageddon II" would have studio suits setting up an automatic green light.

Although with Russia involved in the plot, a falling asteroid from out of nowhere becomes all the more mysterious. Most prior asteroid disaster movies were pure nationalism (see also 1979's horrific "Meteor") with the U.S. mainland frequently the prime target. An international production with Russia gives chance for America to look larger into why the Russian outskirts frequently become targets for the largest meteoroids.

Out of all space rock disaster movie tropes, it's the crash itself that would be the selling point. Having a new movie with the crash first rather than last is the same philosophy behind the recent movie "Flight." In a more interesting movie universe, the aftermath of a celestial object falling on terra firma creates an interesting reach in what happens when victims still live.

The template exists in reality where the people of Russia's Chelyabinsk region are going to be coping with an extremely unusual aftermath.

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