Happiness is a Protective Cup

DATELINE: Chernobyl Goes to Dogs

up on the roof Suicide by Radiation?

Young conscripts sent to the Chernobyl disaster are given crude and useless cups for their scrota. It won’t help. They are not told the truth of the dangers of their mission, though it may not be hard to figure out.

The despondent faces of the young men ordered to commit suicide is quite evident.

Yet, critics of this series noted that the Russians in the series use the wrong type of drinking glass for vodka. Yikes! your world is ending! The type of glassware you select seems a minor consideration.

Episode 4 of Chernobyl reaches an apex of appalling. Cheap and homemade lead cups are tied loosely around the underside of young soldiers as they walk around camp.

Soviet bureaucrats begin to rebel against a mentality of their leaders to hide the notion that the Soviet empire can do anything wrong. It may be the last straw that will lead to the fall of the Communist rule.

One group’s job is to go into deserted and evacuated towns and shoot the stray dogs and cats that are dangerously radioactive. It is part of the mental strain that can break men.

In the meantime, Stellan Skarsgard and Jared Harris want to use lunar robots to push graphite off the roof of the power plant. However, the Soviet leadership will not accept American help (only West German)—and they provide false information to the Germans, who make a rover that cannot withstand radiation.

It leads to the most horrific of all concepts: bio-robots. Men will go into the roof area to sweep up the most radioactive debris. They will likely be dead in a short time, especially figuring on the thin lead aprons and headcovers.

If you fall during the job, you are likely to be dead before the sun sets.

A Russian general gives each man his pay at day’s end and wishes them “good health and long life,” knowing full well that neither will be available after their work.

 

 

Those about to Die: Remain Calm

 DATELINE: What a Life!

emily watson Fictional Emily Watson?

 

The sheer horror of Chernobyl grows as the coverups are uncovered. Minor bureaucrats dispute the severity of nuclear destruction, out of sheer willful self-protection.

By the time this crisis is tossed into Gorbachev’s lap, as the head of the Soviet Union, he is faced with horrible options. As the second episode shows him dealing with giving a death sentence to three workers who must sacrifice their lives to go into a radioactive cavern on fire.

Jared Harris is the physicist who is indignant and ultimately convincing. Emily Watson first appears in this episode as the woman nuclear physicist who best understands what annihilation the world is facing.

Alas, she is a complete fiction as a character, being a composite of a half-dozen female scientists. It is another means of demeaning women while pretending to elevate one to heroic levels. There could never be a half-dozen heroic women.

The evacuation of the city around the burning radioactive power plant is quite impressive, after the authorities learn that the equivalent of millions of X-rays is hitting everyone with a few miles to start.

By seventy-two hours, they could be facing the deaths of 60 million people in the Kiev area.

The grim atmosphere of Russian society is enhanced by its poor living conditions and helpless population. As the opening show indicated, enough lies told will inoculate people to feelings about truth.

There are not enough iodine pills—and there is nowhere to go: the silent and invisible radiation is shooting skyward to come down with the rains.

This is dramatic and horrifying to say the least, and a lesson in how close to self-destruction the human race came in 1986.

Watching this five-part series is not uplifting, or educational. It is simply numbing.

 
 

 

Chernobyl: Name of Infamy

DATELINE: Episode Starts  Off with Bang!

jared harris Jared Harris, Chain-smoking Star

If you had no historical or geographic knowledge of Chernobyl, you might think it was located outside of Liverpool, simply based on the accents of the actors in all the key roles. HBO, not History Channel, has taken on the 30-year old horror of history.

The main character, a scapegoat played by Jared Harris, hangs himself in the opening minutes of the mini-series. It’s a Vertigo moment in a horror story.

If you think that the dour and drab social world of 1986 is strictly limited to the Soviet Union and its failed policies and diminished treatment of the individual, you might be partially right. The onerous opening tones signal the problem with lies.

Hearing enough of them makes you give up on truth. That was true in Chernobyl in 1986 or the White House in 2020.

The HBO series has been hailed for its verisimilitude: every small detail seems apt and metaphorical. It’s only the big details that make one queasy.

The horror of radiation poison and radiation burns are brought to ugly effect while leaders and small-time bureaucrats deny, deny, deny, that there is a melt-down in their future.

We suspect idiocy was never meant to be limited to the Soviet government. Delays and misinformation might be handled as much the same in the United States. Containing the problem was a better solution than saving the public.

The blame game in the Soviet Union in 1986 was even as deadly as Germany in 1944 or under Stalin around the same time.

Episode 1 is hideous for all its creepy mortality whose name no one dares to speak. Only when everyone is throwing up their guts and birds fall from the sky do we realize that lies are only tiny part of a melt-down.

 

 

 

A Good Day to Kill a Franchise

 DATELINE: MOVIES MASHED!Image

Good Old Bruce!

Bruce Willis has been on a roll for years, making interesting and off beat movies. Now he has returned to the franchise that made him a movie star, Die Hard and its endless sequels.

Unfortunately, with a world of bad guys to pick from, the movie takes the easy way out with non-political drama about Chernobyl (which Willis hilariously compares to Newark, New Jersey).

In terms of plot and character, Willis may as well be playing Molly Goldberg, the mother of the James Bond of Plainville, Jersey. His one-liners are the ultimate chicken soup antidote to the son’s spy problems. He complains repeatedly that he is only on vacation.

As usual, Bruce Willis as McClane has not lost his edge in killing bad guys with dispatch. It’s also hard to tell the bad guys from the worse guys when you’re in Mother Russia. No one knows or cares when you blow up stuff in Chernobyl.

If Willis is long in the tooth, he is making a cottage industry in movies like RED and RED 2 in playing old hard cases. Another hard old case Sylvester Stallone just fired Willis from Expendables 3 for being too greedy.

If you can take the endless noise and pointless shootouts, care chases and crashes, you may enjoy a few Willis bon mots. If this movie is meant to pass the torch to a new generation, let the larks bravely fly away.

Now that this is out of his system, we hope Bruce returns to the quirky stuff with real character and interesting story. We have had it watching 65-year-olds acting like teenagers on steroids.

The movie lost its appeal with overkill for the guy who kills bad guys.

 

 

You may enjoy MOVIE MASHUP or MOVIES TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE!  Both are available in softcover and ebook on Amazon.com.