I just finished rewatching two of my favorite disaster movies, 10.5 & 10.5 Apocalypse. Now, when you’re a disaster and apocalypse movie fan, you really can’t have high expectations, because no movies are going to be 100% believable. So, I just ignore the fact that the science (and the way people think about and do science) in these movies is ridiculous. I’ve actually seen much worse, and at least these movies make a reasonable effort towards internal consistency. But when it comes to the characters themselves, these two movies do a pretty good job. The actors create an emotional connection with the audience, which is less common then you might think in these types of movies. There is action and explosions and rescue efforts and societal upheaval. Fun, fun, fun.
The first movie is my favorite, because the second movie seems more contrived. Plus, they bring in characters I don’t really care about while ignoring storylines from the first movie that I did care about. My biggest beef with the second movie is the way they kill off Dr. Jordan Fisher for no apparent reason except to make Dr. Samantha Hill upset. It would be one thing if he died for a noble cause, but no. Instead, he died because he got stupid and his pilot didn’t have the guts to tell him he was nuts. I mean, really. Hovering in a helicopter in front of a massive dam which could collapse at any second sounds like a great idea! I’ll get right on that – Not! Now, truthfully, people die because they get stupid all the time, with or without natural disasters to egg them on. But it still felt rather cheap. And let’s not mention the strange way that a fire fighter on the West Coast was suddenly getting ready to go on vacation, despite the fact that the California coastline had just been irrevocably altered, displacing, injuring, and killing millions of people. In real life, firefighters from all over the nation would be converging on California (and Seattle, and other cities effected by the earthquakes and tidal wave), while those firefighters who did not travel to the impacted areas would be working overtime to cover their absences. Vacations and leave would be canceled and it would be all hands on deck. FEMA would not have to implement “Roy’s Plan”, because it would already be happening. So that particular storyline was jarring and annoying. And finally, while it made the movie exciting, the Drs. Hill had no business being on the ground when the charges on the oil wells were being set: the military is efficient and well-trained when it comes to setting bombs, and the civilians simply slowed the whole process down. Frankly, they could have stayed in the office – and in a similar real-life situation, they would have. Anyone can flip a switch on a remote detonator – you don’t need a PhD to do it.
Of course, because I’m a fanfiction writer, I tend to watch movies with an eye toward what I can write about them: storylines to continue, plotholes to plug, strange and senseless decisions to explain. So keep that in mind when I recommend movies, because the best movies for writing purposes aren’t always the best movies to actually watch on their own merits.
Now, as a fanfiction writer, I love to imagine how the story might change with a little crossover/fusion action. Sentinel is one of my favorites because it is so versatile. So, in a Sentinels Are Known World (both sexual & platonic Bonds possible; no ‘One-True/Destined-Guide/Sentinel’, but rather a range of compatibilities, once the Bond is properly established, the presence of individuals with a higher level of compatibility is irrelevant; different cultures deal with the Bond in different ways; neither Guides nor Sentinels oppressed, although societal expectations for each differ and may be higher than for mundane individuals):
- Dr. Samantha Hill is a low-level Sentinel, unbonded.
- Because she is low-level, the social pressure to Bond is less intense. However, because of the disparity between the number of Sentinels and the number of Guides, all healthy (as in mentally and physically capable) Sentinels eventually Bond (the physical/chemical/mental inability to Bond generally goes hand-in-hand with certain mental illnesses such a sociopathy & psychopathy. Sentinels with these mental defects rarely Awaken at all). So she knows that she will eventually Bond, she’s just waiting for the right Guide.
- Bonding is considered to be an (unspoken, but serious) societal duty for all Sentinels, since power levels do not have to match exactly between pairs: if compatibility is otherwise high enough, a low-level Sentinel can bond with a higher level Guide, thereby providing mental shelter and stability for the Guide. Strength of Empathy = Power Level of Guide, so high level Guides eventually need a Bond in order to remain sane. Thus, the higher up the Guide power scale you go, the more likely a Guide is to be Bonded, and at a younger age. Societal pressure to Bond is just as strong (or stronger) on high level Guides as it is on Sentinels of all levels.
- Dr. Jordan Fisher is a lowish-level Guide (slightly higher level than Dr. Hill, also unbonded) and the two have been dancing around each other for months before the beginning of the movie. It’s very amusing for their office staff, because they both seem to be taking the kindergarten approach to courtship. But, as any Sentinel/Guide expert could tell you, placing compatible unbonded Sentinels and Guides together in dangerous, high risk, high stress situations is almost guaranteed to induce Bonding. Sam & Jordan are no exception. By the end of the first movie, they are definitely Bonded, as proven by the fact that Sam was ready to die rather than leave Jordan behind to escape the water and the rift.
- During the second movie, Jordan is more cautious because of his new Bond, and the pilot also has a bit more backbone. The Dam is a close call, but they were up above it when it went instead of stupidly in front of it. Sam & Jordan are pretty much attached at the hip for the rest of the movie.
- Dr. Earl Hill (Sam’s father) is a medium level Guide who has been unbonded all his life (in a world where Guides significantly outnumber Sentinels, this is more common than not. The more powerful the Guide, the more difficult it is to live a sane and healthy life without a Bond, but medication, training, and lifestyle management techniques have high success rates for most low to medium level Guides.)
- This served him well when raising a Sentinel daughter, although they never Bonded, of course. (Parent/child Bonds are rare to non-existent. Sibling Bonds are more common, although still outside the Norm.)
- Earl, despite the strain (and eventual pain/temporary burnout) it causes him, uses his Guide Voice to keep his group of survivors calm and moving (the size of his small group pushes the limits of his ability, but he focuses most of his efforts on the most terrified, panicking and disruptive members), so there are no tragic deaths on the make-shift bridge/ladder (since by the time the apparatus falls, all the survivors had already climbed across it). Whether or not Complaining Guy dies is not yet decided.
- Other things to consider:
- Do Sentinels provide early warning of sinkholes/volcanoes/earthquakes/tidal waves?
- How well can they function in the extreme disaster zones (dust, exposed chemicals, etc.)?
- How might Guides (Bonded and unbonded) be useful in the relief/rescue efforts?
- Does Earl finally Bond, and, if so, with whom?
- The hypothesis set forth by Drs. Sam & Earl Hill in the second movie lead one to believe that this is occurring all over the world. Explore the consequences of this.
- What does a post-10.5 Apocalypse world look like? In the U.S.? In Canada? Worldwide?
- Develop Dr. Nolan’s (from the first movie) storyline further.