Monday, June 6, 2011

Trinity and Beyond

Trinity & Beyond is a 1995 documentary about America’s embracement of and development of nuclear weaponry. Using declassified footage, the documentary largely lets the old military footage of these gigantic test blasts and the preparation there for (and sometimes backlash thereof) speak for itself. If you are at all fascinated by human evolution, this movie is not something to miss. There are shots in this movie I have never seen and blasts the scale of which I have never known. On this level, it is truly disturbing.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is our willingness to simply accept that the development of these weapons was just part of life and completely necessary. While a few people may have spoken out against atom and hydrogen weapons, the majority, especially those involved in their creation, seemed to think nothing of it, as though it was as necessary as developing a sharper knife than your enemy. In reality, we were creating ways to destroy each other on a scale unlike any in human history. As though we were figuring out how to jump start an ice age or plague.

Where the movie falls short is two fold. First, the general aesthetic and score are campy at best. They make shtick of something of greater historical and ecological significance than nearly anything else. Secondly, and this is largely because it was made in the mid-to-early 90’s, it seems to treat the threat like something from the past. In fact, the story pretty well ends in 1964, as though America and many others like it stopped developing these horrific weapons back in the day. In reality, atomic weaponry is now in the hands of countries that can barely sustain a workable hospital or education system. These weapons of mass destruction are being refined and developed by numerous countries and, oh by the way, America and Russia still have plenty enough to wipe out a huge chunk of humanity. Put plainly, the movie seems to think this is a closed case, when, in reality, we are still in an era where a select few could send humanity back into the dark ages in a matter of hours.

Until we leav it, the nuclear age is going to be a disturbing threat to humane and ecological existence and if you are unclear of this after watching the footage contained in this movie, then ignorance must truly be bliss.


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