WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So there I was, minding my own business, when I was suddenly struck by a terrible case of the shakes. I broke out into a cold sweat, my mouth was bone dry, and I was starting to see double. I had gone into soft science withdrawal. It’s a terrible thing when it happens, and you need to have a sci-fi b-movie ready for when these symptoms strike. Thankfully, I’d saved Absolute Zero for just such an emergency. The movie manages a number of feats: it’s a b-grade disaster movie that wasn’t made by either the Asylum or the Syfy Channel, it’s mind-numbingly painful to watch, and the science is so soft that it would make a marshmallow roasting over Satan’s arse seem like titanium. Prepare to witness the movie that dares to ask the question: how soft is your science?
Meet Dr David Kotzman, a brilliant man working for Inter Sci. Dr Dave specialises in looking at the effects that temperatures plummeting to absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius, or -460 degrees Fahrenheit for my American readers) would have on life on Earth. They’d be fairly devastating, to put in mildly. But Dr Dave has a theory, you see: he’s convinced that the last ice age didn’t occur over a period of hundreds or thousands of years as modern science would have us believe. No, he believes that the ice ages are brought on when parts of the world suddenly plummet to absolute zero for a few seconds, freezing absolutely everything in sight. For all we know this theory could have been brought on by a night at an opium den, because the movie really isn’t going to explain how we got there. Then again, the theory could have been inspired by the constant thumping porno beats that play when he’s doing his research. Suffice to say Dr Dave is going to get an opportunity to test out his theory soon enough.
You see, there’s been some very strange weather going on across the globe lately: thunder storms over Antarctica (which are apparently very normal), ice bergs floating through the harbours of Florida, tropical weather in New York, and the list just goes on. How are we ever going to find out what’s going on before it’s too late? With cave paintings, that’s how! Dr Dave meets up with an Inter Sci research team already out in Antarctica (presumably building the emergency opium den) and, with a little help from global warming, manage to find a cave full of fully frozen people. Using a tiny microscope and a few spare grad students that just happened to be lying around, Dr Dave concludes that the world’s magnetic poles are about to shift themselves. This will have devastating consequences across the globe, as everything along the equator suddenly finds itself fighting off the onset of absolute zero (dun dun dun!).
Can we stop all these terrible things from happening? With this much soft science? You must be joking! Unable to save the world from succumbing to this frozen nightmare, Dr Dave has to at least try and save his grad students and his ex-girlfriend who he’s never forgotten and conveniently met up with just before the disaster struck. Luckily she’s a specialist in ancient cave drawings, and using the ones from Antarctica she arrives at the same conclusion as Dr Dave: the world is about to be thrown (rather haphazardly) into the next ice age. It’s a race against time as temperatures continue to plummet, funnels of freezing air strike at random, 10-year-old girls speak monotonously into walkie talkies, and lifeguards take over half an hour to evacuate a paddling pool. The world will never be the same again after it succumbs to… ABSOLUTE ZERO (dun dun dun!)
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Global warming means grad students can now spend a semester out in Antarctica.
- Even the president doesn’t have the authority to pull university students out of Antarctica.
- You can just book commercial flights to Antarctica these days.
- When light freezes, it’s time to get the winter jerseys out.
- Even with a doctorate degree in the field, it’s very easy to confuse archaeology for anthropology.
- Antarctica once held a small, but thriving, colony of ancient Egyptians.
- We can date 10 000-year-old cave paintings to the exact day they were drawn.
- Only in America can big corporations think that they can stop the weather from happening.
- The Earth’s axis of rotation has absolutely nothing to do with the seasons.
- There’s nothing quite as ineffective as an optional evacuation.
- Strip clubs provide excellent landmarks in times of crisis.
- Absolute zero is really dangerous, but people can still survive quite comfortably at -158 degrees Celsius.
- Always remember to keep your emergency power supply dangerously far away from the bunker that’ll save your life.
ABSOLUTE ZERO TRAILER
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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:
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.
ARCTIC BLAST TRAILER
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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.
2012: ICE AGE TRAILER
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