The spoof genre has been around for decades, and when done right, they are funny, clever, and worth your viewing time. The best examples of this are Naked Gun, Spaceballs, Loaded Weapon I, Airplane, and most Zucker Brothers’ comedies or Mel Brooks movies. For the past several years the spoof movie has taken current hot topics and made fun of them. They’ve been getting weaker and weaker. In early 2008, Superhero Movie came out and was dreadful, but in late Summer 2008, Disaster Movie came out and was even worse.
The disaster movie was a popular genre in the 1970s. People of all types were put against overwhelming odds to survive and not everyone would make it out alive. Some prime examples are Airport, The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake and Airport 1975. There have been parodies of these films over the years, and they were quite good. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Disaster Movie.
Using Cloverfield as its basis, we find Will (Matt Latner) who, after Earth starts undergoing every natural disaster available, is trying to get to his girlfriend, Amy (Vanessa Minnillo), to save her from death. He must also return the Crystal Skull to its pedestal at the Museum of Natural History (where Amy happens to work) if he wants the disasters to stop.
The movie references Twister (including Iron Man, The Hulk, and Hellboy all getting hit by flying cows – and those three aren’t the only “hot topics” thrown into this film), The Day After Tomorrow, and more. Disaster Movie also throws in as many pop culture references of the moment it can and shoehorns them into this film for no apparent reason other than to make fun of them to include references to Juno, Wanted, Hancock, My Super Sweet 16, Sex and The City, High School Musical, Beowulf, Dark Knight, and more.
Some of the references had to be taken from the trailers for the films since some of them opened weeks before or after Disaster Movie opened. The material shown in the trailers is what's spoofed in the film.
Disaster Movie seems like a long drawn-out Saturday Night Live or Mad TV skit. In fact several of the leads in the film are current Mad TV cast members and do multiple roles in the film. The cast is talented, and kudos to getting the Mad TV cast since they do spoofs on a weekly basis, but the film is very weak and should be the final nail in the coffin for the spoof genre for a while, but I’m sure there’ll be another one in the upcoming months.
For a lousy film, Disaster Movie has a good number of extras. There’s commentary by the director and cast. It’s clear they enjoyed making this film, but I could barely make it through the film the first time. Unless you’re reviewing the film, I don’t see anyone sitting through the commentary.
There are a number of behind-the-scenes featurettes that show tours of the set and various cast members talking about their roles. There was some apprehension with the Mad TV cast since they’ve spoofed some of the actresses in the cast and now have to work with them. Again, the cast truly enjoyed working on this film, but the material has been done so many times its lost its uniqueness.
There’s a “Who’s Spoofing Who” featurette that gives a rundown of which actor is spoofing what celebrity or character which is probably the best featurette of the bunch. Rounding out the extras are two Sing-a-longs seen in the film – “High School Musical Sing-a-long” and “I’m F**king Matt Damon Sing-a-long.”
I think this genre is radioactive and needs to cool down for several years before another spoof is attempted.