Military Disaster Gorn
A massive military force is slaughtered to show the horrors of war.


(permanent link) added: 2011-03-01 11:22:00 sponsor: FrodoGoofballCoTV (last reply: 2011-12-10 13:49:16)

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Do We Have This? Should We Have This?? Probably Needs a Better Description / Needs a Better Name. Seen It a Million Times. Rolling Updates underway.

Taking a name vote:

I'm also looking for a consensus on whether to split or examples as shown or only by media type.
The Call goes out. A military force is assebled. They go off to battle boldly and confidently. If this is depicted in detail, expect to see a Million Mook March, Flaunting Your Fleets, a Badass Army showing off their precision skills, or other Scenery Porn.

If the battle is shown, it will typically show armies or units wading into each other and systematically being wiped out one by one.

Cue the aftermath: fields filled with the dead and wounded, seas filled with sinking ships, an Asteroid Thicket comprised of destroyed Space Planes, rows and rows of fresh graves, etc., and (if they're lucky) disorganized clumps of survivors or damaged vehicles limping home.

Differs from Scenery Gorn in that:
  • Scenery Gorn is usually over the entire background scene or setting; Military Disaster Porn can occur in a smaller area, and you can see a hint of Arcadia, Crystal Spires and Togas, Ghibli Hills, etc. in the background or foreground as a contrast.
  • With Scenery Gorn the cause of the destruction may be unknown or if known, unimportant to the plot. With Military Disaster Porn, while the details of the conflict itself may be handwaved, the root cause of the destruction is never in doubt nor unimportant to the plot.
  • The emotional component in Scenery Gorn is a combination of awe and horror at what must have happened to create such a scene, and if taken Up to Eleven, hopelessness. In Military Disaster Porn, there is a necessary added component of loss and sacrifice. The landscape may be salvagable, but the lives can never be restored.

Usually Played for Drama.
  • The writer may be making an antiwar statement in general, or trying to show the pointlessness of the particular conflict. There's also often a suggestion that lives and resources were not merely lost, but squandered, whether due to callousness, desperation, ignorance, etc.
  • The scene may be used to highlight the sacrifices that the people of that era, whether the era occurred in Real Life or only within the story, had to make. For a member of a Martyrdom Culture, this may be considered a good way to die.
  • It can show the danger to anyone facing whoever (or whatever) might inflict a defeat of such magnitude on their opponent, sacrificing an entire Red Shirt Army to The Worf Effect.
  • It can serve as a justification and Call to Adventure: the enemy has reserves, but out of desperation, with the forcess they'd intended to use devastated, friendly commanders may decide they must rely on a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to carry out the mission instead.

Aftermath Shown Only

Comic Books:

Film - Animated
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, the Ingary navy suffers this sort of defeat. We see the parade going off to fight in the background; later the damaged ships return as the local authorities try to discourage the locals from panicking.
  • In Mulan, the discovery of the destroyed army following the song "A Girl Worth Fighting For".

Film - Live Action
  • Oh! What a Lovely War. The film closes with a long slow pan out that ends in an aerial view of soldiers' graves, dizzying in their geometry and scale.
  • The Star Trek movie. The Enterprise arrives at Vulcan and finds the remains of the fleet.
  • In All Quiet on the Western Front, had a particularly gorny shot showing a soldier's body that kept moving after death, perhaps because there was some critter inside.

Music:
  • In the first verse of the They Might Be Giants song "Certain People I Could Name", the narrator describes such a scene, but focuses less on the bloodshed and more on the mannerisms of one character.
    The few surviving samurai survey the battlefield
    Count the arms, the legs and heads, and then divide by five
    Drenched in blood, they move across the screen
    Do I need to point or do you see the one I mean?

Poetry

Battle and Aftermath Shown

Film - Live Action
  • In the movie Gettysburg, Picket's charge.
  • In Saving Private Ryan, Allied forces have cleared Omaha Beach of the Germans, you can look back and see the dead and destroyed covering the beach. Even a "successful" battle manages to look pretty bad.
  • The Starship Troopers movie when the fleet is attacked in orbit around Klendathu.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Firefly pilot, the battle in Serenity Valley.

Poetry
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Tennyson

Occurs multiple times:

Comic Books
  • Happens all the damn time in Les Tuniques Bleues (The bluecoats), a comic book serie about the american civil war.

Live-Action TV

Anime and Manga:
  • Happens Once an Episode in Gall Force. Lampshaded in Gall Force: Stardust War:
    Captain Nebulart, speculating on the outcome of the war: "Only Stardust will be left."
  • The Robotech and Macross francises, most notably the battle between the Earth military forces and Dolza's fleet, which devastated both sides, and is later referred to in-universe as "The Zentraedi Holocaust".
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