Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie" (Documentary) (1995) - Movie Review

One would think that after approximately twenty explosion of several bombs of unfathomable scale would bore us down. Wrong! Every time you see the mushroom cloud, there is display of absolute power. Every time you see the thick smog of high intense of hellish temperature rain the skies, there is fear waving through the air making it thick and thin as it devastates. Every time you see the sheer intensity arc of this human made catastrophe and wondering the repercussions it made and the future it holds, you still cannot take the eyes of it. This is “Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie”.

If you think the title of the film is laughable, you should see the scientists, soldiers and workers clothed up in their shorts and goggles (do not forget the goggles!) staring at this destruction festival. This compilation of declassified archived footage by Peter Kuran provides something where mixed feelings is the least of the expression one would normally use. Yet that is the case because there is indeed a sense of beauty and care but at the same time the fear it invokes would sting you in the most sensitive manner.

The film chronicles the titular project of nuclear bomb testing from the 1940s through the series of further tests till the early 60s. With eerie grandeur score by Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the film weaves these footages along with few of the scientists who provide facts even in the way they describe the situation this arose. Add William Shatner’s narration to this, it is the perfect blend of perplexed comedy, a profound insight on to the existence and the unrelenting power of the nuclear bomb.

As these explosions unfurl one after another, you get into the deep sense of existence. Here is the most powerful destructive weapon humans have ever created and this happened half century back. The immense and intense advancements in the field cannot be even imagined. The film begins with group of workers arranging piles of TNT with of course shorts and bare chested. As the sun shines, they accumulate these boxes of TNT with almost great ease and hammering to tighten it! I do not want that job, ever. This is to measure the power of what would Trinity, the first atomic bomb tested would generate. This was 108 tons of TNT. The actual Trinity produced explosive power of 20 Kiloton of TNT.

From there on there is no stopping. As the World War II broke out the brilliants minds in the country came together to design something that was way beyond their expectation and kept growing without any limits. They exploded on the ground, under ground, mid air, on water, in water, deep water and finally through the space! They did this to prove that they can do this and they did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The opponents knew better and the only way to counter this threat is to test their own stuff. So started this game of eye balling and displaying the capability than actually doing it. We thank them for just eye balling.

The film has lighter moments in unexpected places. There are the members of this team seating themselves on the supposed safe zone with chairs and goggles witnessing a film of definite death. Then there is folks working on these bombs smoking without a care in the world. And finally the most funniest scene in the film where an army officer providing an introduction to the first Hydrogen bomb while taking a moment to light up his pipe in the middle of it. Remember that these were the 40s and 50s where smoking was considered healthy. We do not though get insight into their minds as we only see them working. I learned that there is another documentary called “The Day After Trinity” on how they erected a small city in Los Alamos to develop this bomb and the life of these scientists on this crucial point in history. I would love to see that and learn the minds and their moral dilemmas.

Peter Kuran’s film might bore some on the continuous explosion with dramatic blaring orchestration but I can see what led to Kuran’s passion to put together this piece. The fascination on this is real and at the same time I cannot wonder thinking what a waste of time and money. Of course the real result of damaging lives and Earth goes without saying but as I said to a friend, this is one giant unimaginable and surplus amount of financial backing for the history’s biggest Mythbusters. Here we are witnessing these and I cannot help that I live in the same planet where ultimate mass death is so out there and I am attracted to that with terror and fear.

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