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DIY Film Festival: Rescue and Survival Movies

DIY Film Festival: Rescue and Survival Movies

On May 22, Orlando Science Center will open their newest exhibition, Rescue. Visitors can learn about the work of emergency rescue teams including rescue techniques, the details surrounding emergency situations and the various life-saving equipment used by rescue personnel.

There are many lessons to take away from the exhibition, but for me the most important is that the world’s far too dangerous a place. It begs the question, why go outside at all? Especially when the library’s film catalog – available free digitally and through Home Delivery – can give you all the thrills of watching others in life-threatening situations without ever being exposed to the danger yourself.

So, for this month’s DIY Film Festival, join me in eager anticipation of Orlando Science Center’s new exhibition by barricading the doors, welding the windows shut and wrapping yourself in bubble wrap. Then, sit back and enjoy some tales of heroic rescues and harrowing survival situations in relative comfort and security.



True story: The author of this article once had a friend whose father was a firefighter. Once, the author slept over at this friend’s house and he was shown Backdraft for the first time. The author was so afraid of the noise that backdrafts made – and so insistent that the noise coming from the house’s A/C unit was, in fact, a backdraft –  that he had to be picked up by his mom.

In the author’s defense, the film’s intense firefighting set pieces are still an excellent example of pre-CGI visual effects: you can practically feel the heat of the flames radiating from the screen. Backdraft also does an excellent job honoring the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters who risk their lives every day. Even if that message is sometimes undercut by the film’s overly campy tone.


Apollo 13

Based on the inspiring true story of astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, Apollo 13 is a white-knuckle voyage through the dangers of pioneering space travel. I’m scared of heights so being an astronaut was never in the cards, but the film does an excellent job of making me feel like I’m a part of the ill-fated lunar mission. Just as enjoyable are the scenes that take place on the ground, showcasing the ingenuity and quick-thinking of early NASA scientists and engineers.


The Martian

Untethered by the gravitational hold of real-life events, The Martian launches the tale of space travel survival to new heights (again, no thank you). For those who loved the book, you may be comforted to know author Andy Weir’s devotion to realism and trademark comedic moments translate excellently to the screen. Thanks in no small part to skilled directing from Ridley Scott and an anchoring performance by Matt Damon.


The Poseidon Adventure

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1972. You’re having a lovely time traveling to Greece aboard the luxurious ocean liner, SS Poseidon. Such a shame then, that someone would invite a 90-foot tidal wave to the party … 

Though a defining example of the disaster movie genre, The Poseidon Adventure may seem trite compared to the visual spectacles and behemoth budgets of today’s tentpole pictures. But what keeps the movie afloat is a who’s who of early-70s celebrities including Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine and Shelly Winters.


Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Before the charismatic Taika Waitiki rose to superstardom as director of Thor: Ragnarok and JoJo Rabbit, he helmed this more intimate and comedic tale of a young boy and his foster father surviving in the New Zealand bush. Based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress, Hunt for the Wilderpeople eschews the intensity of typical survival films with heartfelt humor and whimsical adventure.


To explore our vast collection of digital and streaming movies, visit ocls.info/catalog. For information on Rescue and the many things Orlando Science Center has to offer, visit osc.org.