Recently I revisited Independence Day. Total tosh, but bloody good Oscar winning special effects.
What's so interesting about this film, to me at least? It's because the destruction does happen. There's none of that mamby pamby, saved in the nick of time stuff. In this film the aliens do get bitchy and they do start killing people, even blowing up the White House too.
It wouldn't have been so long ago that this couldn't happen - the world might be under threat but by the end of the film, The Hero saved the day, us and the world too.
Because of films like Deep Impact and Independence Day we knew it could be the end of the world, or at least as we know it.
There's a note of sadness to this breakthrough - some of this new breed of film used the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to demonstrate the level of destruction. Those films became outdated on September 11th 2001.
Even in comedy their loss was noted. Friends - the top-rated US series - often used the Towers as a link, usually with the sun bursting between them. Episodes can be dated pre and post September 11th.
The iconic RomCom film When Harry Met Sally is another pre-2001 film (1989). Sally drops Harry off at the Washington Square Arch - with the Towers in the background.
Until 2001 it's unlikely anyone consciously considered the Towers when they appeared in a film - they were part of the skyline. But 10 years after their loss, these films provide a painful but permenant tribute to that dreadful day.
Whatever film-makers dream up in the future, it's unlikely to match reality.