The Ultimate Action / Disaster / Superhero / Suspense Film

What dreams do you have about your favorite fantastic novels and films? Do you wake up, as I did last Saturday, at first thinking “that was incredible!” and taking excessive personal credit for the plot?
on May 24, 2012 · No comments

SATURDAY, MAY 19 — Moments ago, my subconscious mind literally dreamed the Ultimate Action / Disaster / Superhero / Suspense Film. And I’ve awakened early on a Saturday morning, before all of it evaporated, to tell you all about this blockbuster story.

By now I've seen this truly fantastic film twice. (What about you?)

It begins with a Spielbergian small-town montage. A farmers’ market, I think. People saying howdy and being Small-Town America.

But what they don’t know is that a Something has Landed. It must have been a meteorite. It landed in a way that a bit flew off and stuck into a crate filled with vegetables.

Next a montage of clips, tracking how this produce is sold, handled, transferred to different carriers. The Suspenseful Contamination has begun.

New scene. It’s a delightful small house at the end of a road (and strangely close to a picturesque cliff in its front yard). Who lives here? Why, Spielberg-esque Struggling Single Mom. She has two children, a boy and a girl, who get into comical sibling rivalries. And this family will soon be drawn together even closer, with Single Mom to show her true strength, because, as I recall, they recently bought some of the meteorite-contaminated vegetables.

(The alien material did something weird, weeks ago, to a container of hamburger meat suspended in fluid, sitting in the kitchen sink, that everyone had forgotten about. The alien material had somehow preserved that meat — a quickly dropped subplot.)

But then Spielberg-esque Young Boy, after being exposed to the contaminated vegetables, is worried because on his hand is a small, oddly colored blister.

This single mom is no fool. She’s also intensely genre-savvy. So she gets her young boy — I’m unsure what happened to the girl — and prepares to take him into the large city to have him analyzed by Scientists.

(And suddenly, dream-fashion, I was briefly the Young Boy myself, making sure to bring my laptop computer, whatever books I was reading, some extra clothes, and even my new-old smartphone, so that I would have plenty to do during my spare time between action scenes. Apparently I was also genre-savvy.)

How do we travel to the city? I’m sitting in the back seat, not of a car or minivan, but a futuristic recreational motorhome. What happened to the “struggling” single mom? This was a sci-fi-pimped-out motorhome; I believe one could have taken over driving the vehicle from the back seat. It had multiple little viewscreens inside. Also, outside the back window, all the world was coming forward to the vehicle, as if it were driving backward. It was actually a wide viewscreen showing whatever was seen from in front.

So we arrive in the big city, and already we catch up with the previous suspenseful-contamination montage. The meteorite itself has been airlifted by helicopter into the science place (university? lab?). It’s in a sealed crate, suspended by cables, and scientists aren’t even going to try bringing it inside. More genre-savvy.

Events here become slight fuzzy. But I do remember this …

People, perhaps moviemakers themselves, were trying to do some mad science in the middle of Spielberg-esque, or perhaps Roland Emmerich-esque, Big-City America. Their reasoning was this: if colliding weather fronts during severe storms can spawn tornadoes, why not come up with some way to combat them by generating our own weather fronts of hot or cold air? So they did. (I think my brain filled this in, as behind-the-scenes.) Naturally, things began to go awry. Instead of fighting against naturally spawned funnel clouds, whatever technologies these mad scientists had developed — ironically — themselves spawned the tornadoes.

Also: aliens. Aliens were coming. (“Audiences love aliens.”)

From here comes the disaster scenes. Huge torrents of whirling wind slamming into cities. Buildings being eaten apart from the sides by black winds and smashing debris. Fleeing people trying to find shelter and escape the carnage. It was great stuff. My subconscious mind’s visual-effects department budgeted high for this.

"This tornado just came and *erased* the Hollywood sign! The Hollywood sign is *gone*!

Also, to my mind’s credit, some originality: these cities were not New York City or Los Angeles. According to some disaster films, those must be the only important cities on Earth; and if they are destroyed, life is no longer worth living and our planet is simply doomed.

Then in the horrors’ aftermath, when cities are devastated and all of humanity reeling …


They attack. My mind’s visual-effects department, having already gone overbudget for the tornado-disaster scenes, budgeted very low for this. Whatever: aliens invade, trust me, and we had already enough terrors to go through because of the tornadoes. But guess who’s there to fight the aliens?

Naturally, superheroes.

Specifically, Tony Stark/Iron Man, Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Thor, and Peter Parker/Spider-Man! (Captain America was not there, as he was still frozen in ice at the time.) This was a trial run of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Avengers Initiative.

They kicked alien butt. I only remember one moment in which all four superheroes had been thrown into a garbage dumpster, along with at least two others guys who were dressed like Spider-Man, but in too-baggy costumes and no muscles. But the heroes didn’t stay down for long.

… Then the movie scenes switched to filming the movie scenes, and the costumed heroes all got out of the dumpster and took a break and were handed water bottles.

Joss Whedon was directing. You Whedon-ites will turn Hulk-green with envy to learn that Joss and I got along well. My mind replicated him accurately, with that orange beard. (Was this a Spielberg/Emmerich/Whedon joint production?) We chatted about what came next in the filming, and then I realized, well, if I’m to know all this and we’re getting along so well, why could I not interview him for the newspaper for which I work?

But when I asked, Whedon was reluctant. He only wanted to hang out and chat, no interviews. So after each of my repeated requests, he ignored me and simply continued talking to himself — all the time with his best attempt at snappy clever dialogue — while holding up his hands to imagine and block out his next series of shots.

Whatever happened next, The Avengers (and I’m sure Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, made a cameo) must have won. The aliens were defeated. But, of course, the storm-ravaged cities were still crumbling. People wondered if they had any hope.

But of course, we needed one other element …

Morgan Freeman, the Stately Courageous President! He was there (along with another guy who looked like him?), holding up his hands, and kindly reassuring the world that all was not lost. We will rebuild, he intoned. The human spirit cannot be vanquished. And so hope will arise from the ashes.

Queue credits. I can’t believe my mind made it that far, or that — before all the details faded — I managed to awaken early on a Saturday and capture the gloriousness of this Ultimate Action / Disaster / Superhero / Suspense Film for you readers. I hope you enjoyed it almost as much as I did. This, however, must be the end.

… The End(?)

What dreams do you have about your favorite novels and films? Do you wake up, as I do, at first thinking “that was incredible!” and taking excessive personal credit for the plot?

E. Stephen Burnett explores fantastical stories for God’s glory as publisher of and its weekly Fantastical Truth podcast. He coauthored The Pop Culture Parent and creates other resources for fans and families, serving with his wife, Lacy, in their central Texas church. Stephen's first novel, a science-fiction adventure, launches in 2025 from Enclave Publishing.
  1. Haha!  This is hilarious.  I love hearing about funny or epic dreams, and I love telling about my own, when I have “good” ones.  Sadly, most of them don’t involve movies or books.  I did, however, have many dreams about LotR back when I was I was a young teen unhealthily-obsesssed with all things Tolkien.  When I explored Harry Potter for the first time last year, I read all the books and watched all the movies in rapid succession, so I was immersed in the series for weeks and had multiple dreams about broom riding and wizardry.

    And more recently, whatever TV show I’m watching with my husband will sneak into my dreams: Doctor Who, Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes.   Not too long ago I dreamed that the Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to determine that I was pregnant with twins.  (I *am* pregnant and I’ve always wanted twins, so I hoped it was a sign…but no, apparently the sonic is not always accurate. :D)

  2. Bainespal says:

    That is interesting.  Your “frame story” of waking up and reporting a dream makes it seem like Medieval dream-vision literature.  (I’m not suggesting that you’re faking the dream; I believe it.)  Epic, indeed.  There must be a resurrection theme in there somewhere, given the President’s last words.

  3. Literaturelady says:

    This was hilarious!  It reads like a dream, yet it also reads like some superhero film story a screenwriter would really come up with, dropped plots and all.  Thanks for sharing!
    My novel/story character dreams are so far apart that it’s a real treat when they come!  Before each Walden Media Narnia film came out, I had a weird dream about the Pevensies.  And another dream featured Fflewddur Fflam, though don’t ask me what he was doing with a motley crew of other storybook characters in a high-class hotel.  🙂

  4. Bainespal says:

    Here’s a thought on the “screenplay” — The Young Boy should be the one to fight off the aliens, perhaps with the help of other people who were contaminated by the meteorite and found themselves with superpowers.  Maybe the Avengers can do the physical marvels, if they have to be in there, but the Boy should have been given a specific ability as a result of his contamination in order to stop the aliens.

    This way, it will set up a theme of Providence.  How did the meteor just happen to crash and contaminate the food supply just before the Aliens attack?  And why did the contamination just happen to give this one Young Boy the great Ability (whatever the Ability is) needed to combat the aliens?  But what was the meteorite anyways? What is in that sealed crate…..

    Mr. Burnett, if you ever find yourself with the influence or resources necessary to put the making of a movie into motion, will you consider bringing this dream to life?  Please? 😉 

  5. Galadriel says:

    Most of my recent dreams involve the Doctor (different rengenerations even), but it really  bugs me when I have a cool dream and wake up to realize it would make a rubbish story.

What do you think?