WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s a rare thing for me to be left utterly dumbfounded by a movie. Amused? Sometimes. Confused? Occasionally. Angry? Fairly often. But dumbfounded is a feeling only brought on by particular kinds of movies, and Airborne just happens to be one of those movies. It starts off as a simplistic post-911 action thriller, but somehow, through various twists and turns, lands up being a pseudo-mythological, demonic possession movie. It’s quite astounding, really. And then there’s the foreboding. This movie has more dramatic foreboding in it than the Twilight movies had stares. The only way it could have been less subtle is if they had a full orchestra go into full swing every time the camera settled on someone’s face. Don’t believe me? Then read on, dear reader, and for the truly brave, perhaps you can give it a watch.
It’s a frightfully stormy day in Merry Old England, and due to an approaching storm (which, by the looks of the radar images we’re shown from time to time, appears to be a hurricane larger than the British Isles) all flights out of Heathrow have been cancelled. All except one, of course. Onto this plane assembles the largest group of misfits you can imagine: soldiers fresh off a tour in Iraq and accused of using excessive force, an Godfather-type and his two cronies, a raging alcoholic, a doctor accused of malpractice, and a sudden replacement air steward that no one has ever met. Oh yeah, and that mysterious crate that gives off funny noises and occasionally jumps around that’s under the special protection of the British government. With all of this to consider, what could possibly go wrong?
The flight starts out nicely enough. The alcoholic awakens with a raging hangover, the Godfather behaves in a typically refined-yet-thuggish manner, and two randy love birds get it on in a tiny bathroom. It’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect on such a midnight flight. But something is terribly amiss. You know this because the love birds land up being bludgeoned to death and the plane makes a mysterious and unreported change in flight path. Not that flight control back in Britain seems to be overly alarmed. Apparently it’s quite normal for planes to change direction and go to Florida instead of New York without checking in with anyone. Back on the plane, people are starting to disappear at an alarming rate, and even our motley crew of passengers knows that people do not simply disappear while you’re flying however-many-thousands of feet above the ground.
The foreboding is cranked into high gear when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the most top secretist agents in all of Britain take over the flight control centre and threaten to have the Americans blow the plane out of the sky unless they can get someone to respond. Back on the plane, a hostage situation develops over the content of the crate, which turns out to be a Chinese vase worth over $ 10 million. But something isn’t adding up about this hostage situation: the two hostage takers cannot account for all the dead people, which means that something else has been killing off the passengers (and the pilots) while they weren’t looking. Hypothetically this third-party may or may not be the spirit of a Chinese deity that was imprisoned in the vase and is busy looking for a human host that he can possess. Once this has hypothetically happened and he has found the ideal host he will be able to take over the world and fulfill the Mayan 2012 Doomsday prophecy. Can our hapless group of hostages stand up to the might of an ancient Chinese deity and save the world from absolute destruction? Probably not: the foreboding’s gonna slow them down too much.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Britain’s just a breeding ground for conspicuous Godfather-types.
- Britain’s also home to several pockets of irritatingly chatty, global warming-obsessed geography teachers.
- Air stewards must be proficient in mixing drinks and performing sleeper holds.
- If a drunk irritates them enough, flight stewards can be made to break standard health and safety procedures.
- Complimentary drinks are usually all it takes to quell an uprising of plane passengers.
- Most air stewardesses know which two wires to cross to make a plane just drop out of the sky.
- The Chinese gods and Mayan priests were in cahoots when it came to the 2012 prophecy.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
After the joyous time I had watching Piranhaconda I decided that I wanted to indulge in some more Syfy Original goodness. Turns out I had quite a few lying around and, because it’s the height of winter right now, dived into bed, blasted the heater and turned on Alien Tornado. This one wasn’t as heavily advertised as some other Syfy movies, but it’s definitely a lot of fun. If there’s a little sci-fi nerd living deep inside you that doesn’t really care about wafer-thin plots so long as there are shiny things in the sky then you’ll absolutely love this. And if the shining lights fail to grab your attention, maybe you can be tempted by tornadoes that shoot out funnel hands and scoop people up (so that they can be probed, I assume).
No movie about marauding alien tornadoes could conceivably begin without a troubled father/daughter duo, so let me introduce you to Judd and Kelly Walker. They live on a farm in a little town in the middle of Who The Hell Cares, USA. The day started out perfectly normally for the two: Kelly continued to be a blonde genius from the sticks and Judd spent his morning grooming a horse. Things take a mysterious turn when, from out of nowhere, a very shiny and sparkly tornado appeared and started ripping up the farm in a remarkably coordinated attack for a mindless wind funnel. Father and daughter escape any serious kind of harm, but the farm’s been badly damaged. In the aftermath we also learn about Kelly’s dead mother and how Judd squandered his daughter’s college fund, setting us up with daddy issues that will see us all the way through to the end.
We’ll come back to Judd VS Judd in a moment but first we need to meet Gail Curtis, an amateur storm chaser who runs a blog. This blog has somehow gained her a level of notoriety, which for me raised a few questions. At the risk of it sounding like sour grapes, how exactly does one become famous from running a storm chasers blog? And do amateur storm chasing bloggers really have the enormous number of groupies that this movie suggests is possible? But I digress. Gail notices that, whilst there are a number people reporting these strange tornadoes, neither the news or weather stations have said a single thing about them. Being the bright and clever female storm chaser she is Gail also thinks that it’s a bit strange that these tornadoes only touch down and destroy major utility buildings or areas of military importance. Maybe, just maybe, these aren’t your regular run-of-the-mill tornadoes after all…
Gail’s suspicions are also raised when the FBI, apparently led by Beverley Leslie, arrive to investigate the tornadoes. Co-incidence brings Gail and Judd together, and Kelly just happens to be a huge fan of her blog. Kelly also managed to record a very strange sound that came on the radio when one of the tornadoes touched down, a sound that seems remarkably similar to a kind of code. By pissing the guys in the FBI off enough Judd and Gail manage to find out that the Earth is, in fact, being invaded by aliens that use the weather as their biggest weapon. Despite the FBI’s flamboyant best efforts the future of mankind (and Chicago) will lie in the hands of a blogger, a grizzly farm owner and a blonde high school student. What could possibly go wrong with that?
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Young women should be made to bale hay to earn their keep.
- Amateur storm chasers need to pass a master class in ‘oh my God, what is that?!?’ faces.
- There is no father daughter crisis so terrible that it can’t be turned into a so-so country song.
- Fat people aren’t reliable storm chasers.
- Farmers are ready to form a lynch mob whenever the words ‘the city’ are uttered.
- Abducting humans is the alien equivalent of grabbing a toy bear in a claw machine.
ALIEN TORNADO TRAILER
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
This movie and Arctic Blast (I’m pretty sure that Arctic Blast is this movie’s spiritual sequel) raise the question of who thought that playing with the atmosphere to create doomsday-scenario movies was a good idea. Neither movie is horrendously bad, but the flip side of the coin is that neither one is particularly good. All the same it is End of the World Month and, if you’re a particularly cold-hearted individual, there can be a strange attraction to seeing the world being both destroyed and frozen over in a matter of moments.
One thing that’s beginning to emerge more and more as this experiment progresses is that the road to hell is paved with scientists with good intentions. Joanne is a lovely woman who has been deeply affected by the plight of people in areas plagued by drought and famine. Apparently Kansas and Ethiopia are on par with one another so far as these things go, which I’m not so sure of, but her intentions are good. Along with her colleague Damon Joanne has devised a revolutionary new technology that not only seeds clouds to make it rain but that will actually make the clouds in areas where there isn’t enough moisture for natural cloud formation. Now I can assure you that watching this pan out on-screen is about as thrilling as watching paint dry in slow motion but is apparently necessary if we’re to appreciate how this team of rag-tag scientists is going to save the world from their own creation.
The other thing that has become overly apparent throughout the course of Earth’s multiple ends is that groups of scientists should never be allowed free reign of any experiment. Nobody ever foresees the inevitably destructive outcome that their actions will have. Thankfully our brave audience has Charlie Price to fall back on. Charlie was once one of the world’s most recognised and respected scientists before he was forced out of the community for unmentioned reasons to pursue an exciting career writing trashy sci-fi novels about how the world will end through a number of man-made and natural disasters. In this world of enormous coincidences Charlie just happened to be holding a book signing in Generic Small Town, USA where Joanne was conducting her experiments. One moment the sun was shining and everyone was happy and the next thing you know buses and cars and all manner of debris are flying around in a very darkened sky.
And the coincidences just keep on coming! Joanne, obviously aware of the fact that a small town’s near annihilation was not in the original test plan, goes to investigate the damage. She runs into Charlie and it’s revealed that they’ve known each other for donkey’s years. Charlie, using a little blackmail, convinces Joanne and Damon to take him along on their investigation to see what’s going on and how they can go about stopping it. Within a matter of moments Charlie has a theory as to what’s going on: the little machines flying around creating the clouds are doing so by draining the area of any moisture to form the clouds. As a result freezing cold air from the upper areas of the atmosphere are feeding down the way and creating the freezing tornadoes. This of course flies in the face of all scientific reasoning and no one’s prepared to believe him. Hopefully, through the use of a number of horrible analogies from his various novels, Charlie will be able to convince everyone that his plan is the best one and the only chance that humanity has to avoid becoming frozen popsicles.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- People thrown out of the scientific community can always fall back on being trashy novelists.
- Women only need to pee when someone’s told them that they can’t.
- People should never lose sight of the fact that they’ve made it rain.
- One should never smack a hornet’s nest in serious situations.
- Weather is known to be a fairly common occurrence across the globe.
- Bubonic plague is the only reasonable excuse for missing a TV interview.
- There is a big difference between a hug and trying to stay alive.
- You can justify breaking and entering by claiming that a series of doors are accidentally locked.
- It’s easy enough to ‘borrow’ access codes to US government satellites.
ICE TWISTERS TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Oh, The Asylum. There’s not an awful lot of good things that can be said about them but credit must be given to them for almost single-handedly keeping End of the World Month going. 2012: Supernova forms part of their 2012 (loose) trilogy of disaster movies. I’ve already reviewed 2012: Ice Age and, like it’s sibling, this movie is inspired by events in another movie. I’m going to hazard a guess that this one got its idea from Knowing. The whole thing is one giant technical inaccuracy and I spent most of my time looking at the TV absolutely gobsmacked that they thought this kind of storyline was going to hold itself together. But then I reminded myself that it was a movie by The Asylum and suddenly it all made a lot more sense.
200 years ago in a far off constellation a star went supernova, destroying its solar system and sending deathly rays out in every direction. This supernova was so destructive, in fact, that its horrendous gamma ray beams are still every bit as destructive 200 years later, and they’re heading right for us. NASA is trying to prepare a crack team of the most ridiculously stereotypical people you can possibly imagine: Kelvin, the no-nonsense all American guy, Dzerzhinsky, the mummified-in-Vodka Russian with a terrible fake Russian accent, and Dr. Kwang Ye, a Chinese female who knows nothing in this world other than how to save the Earth and how to glorify The People’s Republic of China. I’m actually fairly certain that we could get the Asylum arrested for this type of stereotyping; I’m sure the UN would have something to say about it.
Before we can save the Earth, however, we need to actually get Kelvin to the damn NASA base where this whole project is being coordinated. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, even more stereotypes appear, this time in the guise of Middle Eastern men with thick accents waving semi-automatic weapons in the air. They don’t seem to have any clue what it is they’re doing because first of all they try to shoot Kelvin and his family and then, when they have them cornered in a warehouse, ask them a number of questions, mainly about why the Americans have been taking nuclear weapons up to the International Space Station. Thankfully other government agents rock up and shoot the bad, bad non-Americans. Kelvin then heads off to the base while his wife and daughter head home to get some things and plan to join up with him later.
So the supernova is on its way, it’s already blown up a remarkably solid Pluto and is now busy jetting its way past and through the moons of Jupiter. What’s the plan? Well, the scientists agree that the Earth’s magnetosphere is not going to be enough to protect us from a direct hit from the supernova (duh, it just blew up Pluto), so what they’re going to do is blow up a few hundred nuclear warheads above the magnetosphere to give the Earth some extra coating and seal all our juices in nice and tight. We’ll deal with the horrifying effects of nuclear fallout across the planet later. Problems arise when the approach of the supernova begins to affect the planet’s weather, triggers earthquakes and randomly makes Mount Vesuvius erupt again. Couple this with the fact that someone’s trying to sabotage the launch to the ISS to detonate the warheads and we’re in for a tepid, adrenaline-lacking race to save mankind from total annihilation.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Nobody really wants to know the identity of the people aiming a machine gun through their car’s window.
- The art of kidnapping someone and taking them alive relies on shooting wildly in random directions.
- Some people view saving mankind from utter annihilation is just another part of the day.
- Wishing for nuclear warheads isn’t going to make them appear.
- An entire NASA launch pad only requires 3 minutes to undergo a complete safety check.
- It’s preferable to destroy the planet slowly than allow it to be destroyed in one cataclysmic blast.
- You don’t need clouds to have thunder and lightning.
- Timing when something is about to destroy Earth is really just a matter of guesswork until it actually hits us.
- The kindness of strangers will usually end with you taking a lead pipe to the back of their heads.
- Computers just make space shuttle technicians lazy cowards.
2012: SUPERNOVA TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Just look at that movie poster, it’s like something the Discovery Channel would use to advertise their latest documentary. While I remain sceptical so far as this movie’s educational benefits are concerned I can vouch for the fact that it’s one of the better movies I’ve seen this month. Not better in the sense that it has brilliant actors or deserves awards or anything, but better in that it’s a fun variety of cheese. If you like trashy sci-fi with a few good laughs then you could do far worse than Earth’s Final Hours.
What I like about this movie is that it’s very forward thinking in the end of the world department. Realising that black holes are very last season in the whole apocalyptic movie industry the guys behind this one decided to take the end of the world in an entirely different direction. What if the earth was hit, not by a black hole, but a white hole? It’s crazy, I know, but it was just the thing this movie needed to really make it stand out from its competitors; it adds a completely different dynamic to mankind’s absolute destruction. White holes, unlike their more emo counterparts, compress and then expel matter away from themselves. So, rather than the whole earth being compressed and vacuumed up into nothingness, Earth’s Final Hours has a small chunk of compressed matter blow straight through the planet. See? Very forward thinking movie.
Now I can hear you all asking, “But James, how would we know if a white hole had blown something right through the Earth?” That, dear reader, is very simple. All you have to do is let a rogue scientist (preferably one who’s trying to evade the US government) loose in a number of fields and let him go about collecting data on the phenomenon. He’ll set up a whole bunch of instruments and satellites to gather any information he can, but ultimately the best way to know when something’s happened is to keep an eye on him. First of all you’ll hear a giant explosion in the sky and the atmosphere will rip open slighty. Now atmospheric rip can obviously be the result of a number of things, so you now need to look at the scientist’s chest. If it is a piece of expelled white hole matter it will find its way to him, blow through his chest and then through the Earth. If this happens, you will know that you are witnessing a genuine apocalypse by way of a white hole.
By this point you all probably have 1000 different questions, not least being what kind of effect all this would have on the Earth. Well, the thing is, something that compressed and hitting the planet at that speed would not only go straight through but would also exert enough energy to completely halt the planet’s rotation. Not only is this hugely inconvenient because of the effect it would have on daylight savings but it would also result in the complete collapse of the magnetosphere, the layer created by the Earth’s rotation that protects us from solar radiation. All we can hope for in these dark days is that somewhere, somehow, there’s a mad scientist locked in an institution with knowledge of a satellite system that can restart the Earth and a rogue CIA agent and his family who care enough about humanity to help the mad scientist out. Will such a hero answer our desperate call? Watch and be amazed!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Driving through a big open field is very different to working in Washington DC.
- You know you’re a good person if you hack into a city’s financial system to save old ladies from being evicted from their houses.
- Turns out that if you dig straight through the Earth you actually land up in Australia, not China.
- When a child becomes too old to be sent to his room a parent’s next best option is to send him to prison.
- Just because the world’s coming to an end doesn’t mean you can’t go visit your aunt.
- Millions of dollars worth of security devices can easily be bypassed by hiding behind a bin.
- The lack of computers with floppy disk drives will be mankind’s downfall.
EARTH’S FINAL HOURS TRAILER
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