Why are movies killing our planet?

In the graphic-novel adaptation "Watchmen," the Doomsday Clock ticks forward. Nuclear conflagration is minutes away as a rough collection of masked avengers works out a complicated, romantic soap opera. The end of the world as we poor, undeserving humans know it seems like an aside for them. And for filmmakers.

The world also comes to an end in "Knowing." The Nicolas Cage thriller opened at No. 1 at the box office last month. This vexed orb is slated for demolition again in "Terminator Salvation" and, again in "2012" — two surefire summer-season smashes. Moviemakers continue to hone their talent for taking down landmarks and wiping out populations.

Look at the Chrysler Building's spire plummet toward the street: Cool! Watch a tidal wave take down a monastery in the Himalayas: Awesome! We've seen the crash before. Yet the tools make the images of bringing down an entire plane or wiping out a city block that much more dismaying. With ever-more-impressive special effects and computer-generated images, studio pictures already deft at destruction are getting even better at delivering mayhem to the multiplex throng — be it horror, disaster or worse.

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