So maybe you've heard about this oil spill off the Gulf Coast of the United States. You know, the one that's been gushing forth ever since April 20th's tragic drilling rig explosion. Waterworld star Kevin Costner is already assisting with the clean-up, this after the government welcomed director James Cameron's offers to help drum up solutions, only to be reportedly blown off by the brilliant minds at BP.
Don't worry -- we're not about to get on a soapbox here at Cinematical. In fact, we're here to help and, as always, we're looking to the movies in order to do so (except for On Deadly Ground; no, I haven't seen On Deadly Ground). For starters, let's wonder how a couple of Cameron's characters might have handled this scenario...
1. Virgil "Bud" Brigman (Ed Harris) from The Abyss (1989) -- Bud thinks something's afoot with this whole spill and travels down to the depths on little more than a hunch, bringing his estranged son (Sam Worthington, natch) along for the ride. Sure enough, it's those NTIs acting up again, retaliating against humanity with an oil spill as they had with the threat of tsunamis before (well, in the Special Edition anyway). Bud demonstrates his newfound bond with his boy, pinky-swears with a water tentacle to make people care more about the environment, and leaving the alien force to instantly retract the entire spill from the ocean. There is much hugging, rejoicing, learned lessons, etc.
2. The survivors (Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Stone) of Sphere (1998) -- If the Abyss sequel doesn't pan out, we could always just remake this sci-fi film based on Michael Crichton's novel of the same name. Only this time, empowered by the alien ability to manifest their thoughts into reality, our three scientists decide to will the oil spill out of existence instead of the sphere and any evidence of it. (Note: actress Queen Latifah will still have to be stung to death by a swarm of jellyfish in order to make this plan work out.) (Nothing personal.)
3. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) from The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998) -- Yep, aliens again. The leaking oil turns out to be the long-promised extraterrestrial invasion via gooey virus. The FBI agents will have to track down every intrepid environmentalist who made contact with all manner of oil-slicked creatures -- themselves now possessed by an alien intelligence -- and employ an untested vaccine to prevent it from spreading. The vaccine will work, but the whole mystery itself will inevitably disappoint everyone waiting not for the day to be saved, but for our two heroes to lock lips on some sandy Gulf Coast beach.
4. Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) from Armageddon (1998) -- From outer space downward, Stamper (who somehow survived) and a new crew of oil-drilling misfits (mostly made up of Apatow alums) are recruited in an extreme measure by BP to drill underneath the spill site and nuke it, thus preventing the disaster known as The Core from ever happening.
5. Neo (Keanu Reeves) from The Matrix (1999) -- Within the virtual reality of the Matrix, the oil spill actually marks the return of a mutated Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), threatening to engulf everything and everyone. After visiting the Oracle (now played by Don Cheadle in a wig), Neo is taught how to surf -- effectively scratching Reeves' itch to do a Point Break sequel -- and eventually defeats the swelling mass of Agent Smith by causing him to disintegrate into a bunch of harmless green code. Having saved the day once more, Neo exits a squeaky-clean Matrix and walks outside to enjoy the massively devastated earth that he calls home.
6. Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel) from Pulp Fiction (1994) -- He's a cleaner. He solves problems. If he's curt with us, it's because time is a factor. We don't know how he does it, or for how much, but trust me -- he gets the job done.
7. Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) from There Will Be Blood (2007) -- You bet he drinks it up!
8. MacGruber (Will Forte) from MacGruber (2010) -- Actually, scratch this one. A bad idea from the start.
9. Spongebob Squarepants (Tom Kenny) from The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004) -- That perpetually perky sea oddity will pop up to lend a super-absorbent hand, but when BP decides to burn off the oil at sea, our spongy friend ends up suffering a tragically fiery death. Parents will attempt to console children the world over, and Squidward, being not made of stone, will end up playing "Taps" on the clarinet at his funeral, televised live on Nickelodeon before leading into an all-new episode of "iCarly."
10. Superman (Christopher Reeve) from Superman: The Movie (1978) -- It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the last remaining print journalist, and he's sick and tired of everybody whining about this. Supes pulls the turn-back-time trick again by reversing the planet's orbit until it's roughly last Easter again, giving the oil rig crew a heads-up on what they can repair to prevent the disaster and then banishing the BP execs to the Phantom Zone.