- 23 Jun 20
It's In The Trees, It's Coming!
Max, son of Mel, Brooks might be familiar thanks to his zombie series, culminating in 2006’s World War Z. The Brad Pitt movie was entertaining enough, but the book is a more robust thing, detailing a decade-long conflict with the walking dead.
This time around, it’s the turn of Big Foot. The notion of a wild and hairy giant of a man existing out beyond the reaches of human habitation is hardly a new one, and not limited to North America either, although tales were told by the Native Americans, perhaps in a vain attempt to scare the white man back to Europe. Are they the stuff of wild imaginings, or a giant hoax, or perhaps even a previously undiscovered, and long-surviving population, of Gigantopithecus (massive apes)? Let us suspend understandable disbelief for the duration.
Apparently, roughly one-third of “sightings” take place in America’s Pacific Northwest, so that’s where Brooks locates the planned forest community of Greenloop, a place where the well-heeled can escape the horrid influences of modern civilisation, although they hang on to their internet connection, and accept drone food deliveries, thanks very much. The plan is to get back to nature as much as possible, even going so far as to recycle methane from their own endless source.
This paradise is lost when a volcano erupts – the government having suspended the early warning system - which strands these new-agers, and cuts off broadband’s umbilical chord. Every species of forest inhabitant is on the run from the lava’s burn, including a family of Sasquatch, who stumble across the unfortunate commune of brown ricers, attack, and force all back-to-nature good intentions out the window. Some residents, like Kate Holland, whose journal tells the story, step up, discovering hitherto unknown DIY and killing skills, and some go doolally. Kate’s wastrel husband Dan is reborn as a handy man, while camp leaders Tony and Yvette lose it completely. Seattle is only ninety minutes away, but they might as well be on the moon.
The camp is divided between the practicalities of seen-some-hard-times Mostar, who starts cataloguing the food, and the likes of Reinhardt, who stubbornly insist that nature is their friend. An incident involving a mountain lion tells us all we need to know about hopelessly misguided and naive right-on-ness.
Brooks’ novel – a thinly disguised dig at modern man’s cluelessness and hubris when faced with nature’s power, amongst other targets – is another winner, and a movie waiting to be shot, despite its daft premise. You’ll be rooting for the hairy team.