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"Countdown to Zero," flawed entertainment for Halloween - CinemaDave

Aug. 2nd, 2010 08:23 pm "Countdown to Zero," flawed entertainment for Halloween

In October 1986 President Reagan met Secretary-General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavík Summit in Iceland. Reagan wanted to include discussion of human rights, emigration of Soviet Jews and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. However, Gorbachev sought to limit the talks solely to arms control. The summit ended when Reagan refused to concede research on Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), nicked at the time, the “Star Wars” defense. In the height of the forty year cold war, many consider the Reykjavík Summit one of the darkest days.

The Reykjavík Summit is presented in Lawrence Bender's documentary **Countdown to Zero.** Given that Bender also produced Al Gore's Oscar award winning, but factually flawed, documentary **An Inconvenient Truth,** one could see one glaring admission to The Reykjavík Summit. On December 8, 1987, Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) that effectively ended the Cold War.

As a documentary, **Countdown to Zero** is an entertaining piece of propaganda. The film opens with a lecture from the father of the nuclear bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer. We then learn that one packet of uranium, perhaps the size of a 6 pack, could now destroy an urban center like New York or Paris.

Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair express their experiences with nuclear negotiation and the perils of rogue nukes. Not since watching the original **Fail Safe** have I felt such dread, until I saw the flawed rhetoric of the Reykjavík Summit.

As 9/11 and the mid decade hurricanes reminded us, disasters happen. Hollywood film makers need to wise up and confront this truth and learn from history. President George Bush the younger was demonized for his mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Yet with this year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Barrick Obama repeated the same bureaucratic mistakes with his administration.

**Countdown to Zero** encourages their ticket buyers to get politically involved, by visiting their website http://www.takepart.com/zero. For political points, this website is worth a peak. however when T-minus zero strikes, how prepared for disaster will you be?

Given that terrorist targets are major urban environments with financial capital, it is not likely that North Broward County is a terrorist target. However a strike from a hurricane is more likely to harm our community. Unlike a surprise nuclear attack from a terrorist, one can prepare for hurricane strike by paying attention to local media and stocking up with canned goods. To combat the neurosis of boredom, one can always light a candle and read a book during such troubling times.

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