WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So, it had been a while since I last watched a good, old-fashioned end of the world movie. Since I promised the people at Syfy that I’d watch one of their movies to thank them for the upcoming Aladdin and the Death Lamp and Pegasus VS Chimera (a Tweet to which I got no response 😦 ), I decided to take a shot on Collision Earth. The result? WOW! Just WOW! I love me some questionable science in a disaster movie, but this little baby took it to hitherto unknown levels. I will try my best to demonstrate the lunacy that was this movie throughout my review, but should you ever feel the need to watch the most horrifying attempts at astronomy in a movie at some point in the future, make sure you have a copy of this on stand by for when the moment takes you.
The year is 2011 and mankind is about to take its first steps on the planet Mercury. Why Mercury of all planets remained a mystery to me since it’s not really anything other than a hot Moon, but I decided to run with it and see where the movie wanted to take me. Onboard the spaceship are three people: Veronica, a jack-of-all-space-trades and master of the universe, and two people who don’t matter cause they die relatively early on. These three will never have the honour of being the first humans on Mercury because, just as they arrive at the planet, the Sun sends out a giant solar flare that blasts the ship and the smallest planet in the solar system. This blast leaves the Asian contingent of the space mission dead and the ship in a bit of a bruised state, but that’s gonna be the least of their worries in a minute.
You see, it wasn’t actually a solar flare. For a very brief second the Sun transformed from a normal star into a magnetar. The flare was actually a burst of magnetic radiation that not only knocked Mercury out of its orbit, but also magnetised the entire planet. Since Earth has a strong magnetic field, it begins to draw Mercury towards it, setting us up for a series of catastrophic and preposterous events. Now, to digress for a moment, I would like to address the moment when people realise that Mercury is on the move. Rogue astronomer James, upon noticing that Mercury isn’t where it was a few hours ago, shouts out “A planet doesn’t just move”.
Upon hearing this I actually paused the movie to fight with the TV. Why? Because planets do move, and they move in a number of different ways. They’re rotating on their own axes all the time. While they’re doing that they’re rotating around the sun. The gods were merciful by not placing us in a binary star system, because I don’t think I’d have the energy to school the movie on how that works as well. I never thought I’d live to see the day where I heard dialogue like that, but here we are. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, as you can well imagine, the government is in no way capable of protecting us from Mercury’s collision, and it will fall to James to find a way to save us all. He will be aided by two college students with a pirate radio capable of sending messages to Mercury, an agoraphobic and socially awkward scientist side-kick, his wife, who is busy flying around Mercury, and a weaponised asteroid built for just such an occassion. Interspersed amongst all of these characters will be even more scientific fallacies, some jaw-dropping CG and some recycled footage from Ice Twisters. Enjoy!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Judging from the controls, flying a spaceship isn’t overly different to playing an Xbox.
- Spaceships are so fast they can outrun solar flares.
- Despite it being a complete vacuum, fires regularly occur in space.
- Only YOU can help save the Earth from a meteor collision.
- The sun is fully capable of changing the kind of star it is and then switching right back again.
- A car can protect you from a high-speed, interstellar meteor shower.
- Astronomers are utterly astonished when planets move in space.
- Astronauts are trained to sling shot space ships around magnetised planets, just in case the situation ever calls for it.
- Power surges make the same sound as old dial-up modems.
- Our solar system is just crammed to capacity with weaponised asteroids.
- They don’t teach you how to tie people up in astronomy school.
- No security convoy can match the strength of an Asian woman with a tyre iron.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Movies like this irritate me. So far as unheard of end of the world movies go, this really wasn’t a bad watch and there are far worse ways for you to spend your time. It’s main problem is that it dragged, but not in the usual way that makes you feel bored to tears. Rather it has a lot happen in a relatively short space of time so when you feel that Earth is pretty much on her knees and a resolution to the problem is about to be discovered you realise that you’ve only been watching for half an hour and that there’s still an hour to go. There are some glaringly obvious factual issues floating around but on the whole the acting is quite decent and the special effects are of a reasonable quality. That said, the title of the movie is completely misleading: nothing gets blasted and the arctic is in no way involved in the problem.
Poor little humans, we’re in for another round of ‘let’s meet our maker.’ It was a beautiful day when the people of Australia were watching a total solar eclipse (of the heart) and, much to the joy of health officials everywhere, nobody burned their retinas out. As happens from time to time the solar eclipse has a slightly greater effect on the planet than would normally be desirable. Somehow the combination of the moon passing in front of the sun and our recent tendency to pump our atmosphere full of pollution leads to the ozone layer springing a leak just off the coast of Tasmania. This rather sizeable hole (which is apparently visible from space) is allowing super cooled air from the mesosphere to filter down to the surface. This results in a cold front that begins sweeping its way across the sea towards Tasmania and the rest of Australia.
Now understandably nobody really wants to be caught in a fast-approaching cold front where the temperatures drop to -80 degrees fahrenheit (-62 centigrade for those who, like myself, find degrees fahrenheit confusing). Unfortunately for those people living in the line of fire the government isn’t really prepared to believe that the planet’s ozone layer is ruptured and freezing people in a split second, so a few people have to turn into frozen lollies before anyone actually sits up and pays attention. This is an end of the world movie so of course we have a rogue scientist in the form of Jack Tate to help us overcome this minor issue. As with many rogue scientists Jack’s family is in a state of turmoil and he’s in the process of divorcing his wife and losing the trust of his teenage daughter. Could this crisis possibly bring this family back together again?
So now what is the government going to do about this little problem? Well they’re certainly not going to listen to Jack, the one man who might just have all the answers. While the government twiddles its thumbs Jack tries to get his family to safety and sticks his wife with the in-laws and takes his daughter back to his lab. While in the lab he will try to come up with the best solution to Earth’s current situation and possibly fix the screw up of a plan the Australian government has come up with on its own. The situation will become slightly more complicated by the fact that the ozone hole above Australia in some way sent ripples out across the planet and opened holes above other major cities in Europe, Asia and North America. The race is on to find a way to plug the holes before all of Earth gets turned into a giant ice palace.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If meteorologists get drunk enough they could easily solve all the world’s problems.
- Divorce lawyers are quite happy to be called blood-sucking parasites.
- Fireworks and chinese take aways will not buy you your daughter’s loyalty.
- For some people a ship full of condensation is the craziest thing they’ve ever heard of.
- A hairdryer will fix the most waterlogged of hard drives.
- Diabetic meteorologists need excessive amounts of chocolate to do their work.
- Any fool who bangs on his keyboard hard enough will eventually hack into an American military satellite.
- A true gentleman will gladly offer to do a little insulin shopping in -50 degree weather.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
At this stage in the game I’m well acquainted with movies made by The Asylum. Although they usually tend to throw out really z-grade versions of far superior movies this wasn’t a real mockbuster, although if I’d be lying if I said it was entirely original either. Instead I’ll go with ‘Inspired by events from The Day After Tomorrow‘. The poor acting and general sub par CGI aside the main issue I take with this movie is that the title is misleading. There isn’t an ice age! At best there’s a lot of implausible snow, but certainly no ice age. That said, if the movie was good and full of enjoyment it wouldn’t be here for End of the World Month 🙂
So the world’s end begins in Greenland where an enormous volcanic range is about to blow. Our entire base camp has been evacuated except for one fool who’s been left behind to relay information to his boss Bill. Bill is currently stuck in traffic dropping his daughter off at the airport so he’s in no immediate danger but Fool in Greenland has to make a very daring attempted escape for his life. Sadly his helicopter is blown out the sky by some flying ice / volcanic ash, but he managed to accomplish his goal of telling Bill that an entire ice shelf has detached from Greenland. Bill, being a family oriented man, ignores what he’s being told and tells Fool in Greenland that he’ll check the data when he gets back to the office in an hour. While he was occupied on the satellite phone his daughter, Julie, got tired of waiting and hopped out the car to catch her flight to New York.
Keeping his promise to check the data when he got back to the office, Bill realises that the world (i.e. America) is up to its knees in crap. The ice shelf / glacier / ice berg (no one can decide what it is) that blew off Greenland is hurtling itself towards the States at 200 mph and threatening the entire eastern coast. Bill decides to try and get his family, made up of his possibly ex-wife Teri and son Nelson, to safety. His son is one of those people who has an ‘I’m surprised / shocked / saddened’ acting range and we’re never quite sure how he’s feeling at any given time. Not to crush any dreams but Nick Afanasiev, who plays Nelson, really has no future in acting and I hope he realises that soon and pursues a more realistic career path. Teri and Nelson decide not to run for safety and instead opt to go with Bill to New York to save Julie and her hanger on Logan.
This, of course, will not be a simple search and rescue mission. Apart from the main threat of the glacier / shelf / berg that’s hurtling towards Manhattan the ice also seems to have special powers over the world’s climate. These include: tornadoes, blizzards, hurricane-strength winds and the ability to completely block out the sun. Then there’s the human factor that needs to be taken into account, although there’s a relatively low-level of looting and general chaos in this movie. All that really happens is Bill’s held at gunpoint for his truck but it sinks into a frozen river 2 minutes later, so it really was all for the best in the end. Throughout their journey to New York friendships will be forged, family ties will be tested and complete strangers will be killed by giant chunks of flying ice. Truly, a testament to the power of the nuclear family.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Summit meetings are far more important than out running enormous glaciers.
- You know shit’s going down when no one at the White House answers their phone.
- Men are very turned on by the possibility of having sex on a dirty New York pavement.
- Back in the day science classes were there to teach you how to blow cars up.
- A good general defence policy includes nuking things now and dealing with the fallout later.
- It’s entirely possible to safely fly a light aircraft through a few tornadoes and a blizzard.
- Norway lies half way between Greenland and New Jersey.
- America, being infinitely awesome as it is, is fully entitled to declare war on a glacier if it feels like it.
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