NYC: Tornado Terror-Movie Review
Tornado Terror is a disaster film about global warming causing destruction in New York City. Dr. Cassie Lawrence is in charge of the weather forecast for the city. She tries to prevent the twisters from forming into bigger and stronger electrically charged tornadoes, which ultimately could lead to mass destruction. Deputy Mayor John Lawrence is Dr. Cassie’s husband. He is Mayor Leonardo’s right hand. He goes above and beyond to save the population of New York.
The government is portrayed as a bad bureaucracy. Dr. Cassie said to NASA’s agent, “It is one size fits all with government work” as NASA ignored Mayor Leonardo’s recommendation following Dr. Cassie’s advice to use silver iodide on the atmosphere instead of NASA’s recommendation of dry ice (CO2). Dr. Cassie and Deputy Mayor John view the government as a broken system. They did not understand why the government was trying to enforce a plan that was contrary to the survival of the population. Dr. Cassie and Deputy Mayor John were extremely upset and realized they would have to take matters into their own hands.
The government’s behavior was arrogant. The NASA agent said to Mayor Leonardo, “The sky is national property, therefore national security. I am here to inform you what we will do”. Although the mayor didn’t agree with NASA’s recommendations, he did not have the authority to follow Dr. Cassie’s recommendations. NASA did not care to provide an explanation of why they didn’t want to follow Dr. Cassie’s plan, they simply responded with authority that they were in control of the situation.
The movie demonstrates an example of poor intergovernmental relations. The state and federal agents were not able to work together to develop the best alternative for the population. Certain behaviors displayed by the federal agent and the state politician were unnecessary and inappropriate to the level of authority they possessed over the population. There was lack of communication between government bureaucrats and public servants. There were many instances of power struggles that ultimately led to service inefficiency.
The federal government was not accommodating to the state’s needs. They had differing interests and clearly prioritized each organization’s needs instead of the ultimate need of the city’s survival. NASA displayed dominance and arrogance. While NASA was aiming to play it safe, the city’s administration was technologically innovative.
NASA, known for its leading technological advances and capabilities, did not consider innovation. In a situation where technology is the most important factor in determining the survival of the city of New York, NASA failed to try to rescue the citizens of New York adequately. In this movie, NASA is perceived as a barrier to achieving success. It is perceived as an agency incapable of trying the latest technology to work with emergency situations. NASA did not want to endure negative consequences.
Technology is an important means of survival in the movie. While the twisters were destroying the city, the atmosphere let out electrical charges that were electrocuting citizens. Deputy Mayor John advised the citizens they could not use any electrical equipment that would be hooked to an outlet. Dr. Cassie was not able to depend on modern technology or else she could die electrocuted. Therefore, the only way to communicate with the Garden State Spaceport would be to call them through the old telephone exchange system.
Dr. Cassie and Deputy Mayor John strategically managed the environment by using specific tactics to achieve their objective. They discussed their SWOT analysis. Dr. Cassie researched on how to save the city and realized the only person who would be able to help was a scientist from the Garden State Spaceport. The Garden State Spaceport had been closed because they weren’t conforming to the new rules of the city’s administration. Dr. Cassie and Deputy Mayor John negotiated with the scientist in order to agree to work together.
Although Dr. Cassie was not authorized to launch the rockets with silver iodide, she still launched them and the tornadoes were forced to shift east, saving the city of New York. Dr. Cassie and Deputy Mayor John displayed a great amount of leadership. They risked their lives to save the lives of the population. They reached above and beyond their duties with honor, responsibility, and integrity. They persisted in what they thought was right and ended up finding a solution for the city of New York. They were heroes.
Dr. Cassie and Deputy John were transformational leaders. They created a new vision for the city. They were innovative. They solved the problem with optimism and intelligence. They did not let Mayor Leonardo or NASA limit their knowledge and intelligence. They were highly qualified in emergency management. More importantly, they were able to interact positively with everyone in times of despair.
Mayor Leonardo, on the other hand, started off refusing to pay attention to the phenomenon. He initially said to his administration, “I don’t care what you do. I just don’t want this breathing down my neck.” Mayor Leonardo was worried about reelections. He displayed lack of ethics, honor and accountability. He put his needs before the needs of the population. He was the “typical politician” worried about votes and popularity.
As time progressed, Mayor Leonardo realized the size of the problem. He asked the United States Air Force for assistance; however he was turned down and was told everything would clear out in 12 hours. Mayor Leonardo asked assistance from NASA and was offered assistance in their terms and conditions. He was limited to what he could do. The movie suggests it was the first time he had to experience an emergency situation that would risk the lives of the entire population of New York.
Mayor Leonardo did not demonstrate effective leadership. He had limited knowledge on properly leading an emergency crisis. He was not capable of commanding the appropriate authorities as needed. The Contingency Approach states that managers are stress carriers, creating high levels of stress for the entire administration (Shafritz et all, p.366). That is exactly what Mayor Leonardo did. He always frightened his employees. He displayed negative characteristics and behaviors.
The movie reveals two important themes. First is the negative view of bureaucracy in America. The government wants to hire people who are qualified and will make a positive impact on the population. Many times they fail. The reality is that there are limitations that go far beyond their control. They have to comply with a series of rules and regulations. It is conflicting and almost seems like the government is aiming for the contrary of the good. However, if the government reduced bureaucracy then many responsibilities could end up the in the hands of the private sector, which could be chaotic.
The second theme is reaction to disaster. There was lack of preparedness and responsibility in all levels of public service. It seemed as if the city did not have an emergency infrastructure. Mayor Leonardo did not reach out to FEMA. U.S. Air Force was not cooperative. NASA displayed little cooperation. Mayor Leonardo was totally lost. Disasters happen with little to no warning and the city has to be prepared for anything.
Overall, NYC: Tornado Terror was a good disaster movie that highlighted some major points of concern. It makes us think about what could be changed within our public administration system. Communication and positive interaction are key elements to a successful response team. Emergency plans should always be implemented and public servants need to have competency to follow the plans.