Thursday, November 11, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
As a railfan photographer, that is as a person who is a train enthusiast who takes pictures of trains, anything new or unique is more interesting than the day-to-day routine. But before I go any further on that thought, let's back the train up to Labor Day weekend 2009. For almost two decades (that's right ALMOST 20 years) I'd wanted to visit Letchworth State Park in order to photograph a train crossing the Genesee River.
While talking with another railfan friend of mine about my plans, he suggested since I was spending the long weekend in that area, to visit the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad only a little further west, and I'd not only be able to catch one or two of the regular jobs which run, but also the specially made up freight train, eloquently called "the movie train" as well. So naturally, I followed his advice, and I'm glad I did.
Once I finally found where I needed to be, I spotted the movie train (see top most photo) and learned from other visiting railfans that it was for filming the movie "Unstoppable". Well, at the time, nobody knew much about the production other than it would star Denzel Washington. Once home I did a little research to learn the plot. Okay, it boils down to a cross between "Runaway Train" the sensationalist flick starring Rebecca DeMornay from about 1985, and that sensationalist Rob Lowe made for television movie about a runaway train carrying nuclear materials. Well, it DOES have trains in it, it's likely worth a look.
You can see the weather was fantastic the Sunday of Labor Day weekend 2009. Rental security kept an eye on the train in a futile attempt to prevent images from leaking onto the interent so other production companies don't steal ideas and designs. Well, rental security had no jurisdiction over public property in full view!
Now, I explained all of that to say I was shown a preview for "Unstoppable" this evening.
It's not fair for me to review the movie based solely upon my impressions of this trailer. But I will say, I won't be seeing this in theaters, unless it's a matinee and I've absolutely nothing left to do with my free time, which we know is not likely. While trains may play a prominent role in the flick, the plot came across as rehashed and sensationalistic. The only positive thoughts I took away from watching this trailer was the interpersonal character development, and not enough of that comes across in the preview either, though as a writer myself, I saw a potential for empathy and championing, but I just know I'd be the one in the heater moaning at the silver screen mumbling "That's not how it's done" just like I did when "Armageddon" was popular and the crew was drilling the asteroid. When an improbable result occurs for the sake of the plot which goes against what I'd been trained (no pun intended) the project loses its credibility with me, and I see a lack of credibility all over "Unstoppable" just from a 60 second preview. Obviously, I'm NOT the target audience for this motion picture because I know better. Is it a great fantasy that poeple who know nothing about railroads will get scared and excited and forget the troubles of the real world for awhile? Absolutely, but then there's that other side of the double-edged sword: the movie will capitalize upon these people's ignorance about railroads and that ignorance will harm the genral public's perceptions concerning just how safely railroads transport dangerous and non-dangerous materials. What's worse is the promo boasts the film is based on actual events. That'll hype the public's ignorance.
Now, if they made a movie about a trucking convoy of radioactive waste (or something much more sinister) which wrecked on a superhighway within a wind's blow of a crowded city; a cross between "Convoy" starring Kris Kristofferson and "The Day After Tomorrow" I'd probably make an effort to watch that when it hit cable.