A private oil drilling team is sent into space to blow up a giant asteroid, which will otherwise collide with the Earth and destroy all life on the planet. [Dir: Michael Bay/ Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thornton/ 151 min/ Action-Adventure, SciFi-Fantasy/ Creator as Hero]
Scientist now speculate that the age of the dinosaurs was brought to a sudden end by a large asteroid. It collided with the Earth and set in motion a chain of events that left the planets shrouded from sunlight for months or years. And that’s the premise here: what if it happened again? The only hope is to blow up the asteroid, and that requires getting a nuclear device deep into it via a manned mission. Enter the heroes: the world’s best oil driller and his highly skilled team. NASA sends them into space to land on the asteroid, plant a nuclear device deep inside it, escape, and set off the device remotely. The fate of the Earth depends on their success. There are several aspects of this story that will appeal to libertarians. First, it has something of the creator-as-hero theme. The leader of the oil rig drilling crew himself designed the special drill needed for the job. He also assembled the world’s best team of drilling workers. And because of his novel drill design, crack team, and specialized knowledge, he alone can save the planet. Second, there are numerous small conflicts between his skilled workers and their government handlers, in which the workers are always right. And finally, when the team agrees to save the planet, the chief compensation they demand is that they be free from taxation for the rest of their lives! This is a popular, high-intensity action film with first-rate special effects. Once the action commences it never stops, maintaining a high degree of suspense relieved here and there by bits of humor. The only downside to this film is that you have to suspend reasonable judgment, as the heroes act with much less maturity than is probable. The libertarian aspects are a plus, but they aren’t really pushed forward as key elements. Still, how often do you see a film that portrays an offshore oil well driller as the savior of mankind?
This article was reprinted from Jon Osborne's Miss Liberty's Guide to Film and Video: Movies for the Libertarian Millenium, available in the Advocates Liberty Store.