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Absolute Zero

Absolute Zero

Year of Release: 2006
Genre: Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 3.2 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0 /5

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?

How the hell'd I get here?

How the hell’d I get here?

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.

Tough crowd.

Tough crowd.

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!).

It's a bit nippy out, don't forget to put on your thermals!

It’s a bit nippy out! Don’t forget to put on your thermals!

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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Quantum Apocalypse

Year of Release: 2010
Genre: Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 3.0 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

As IMDB will testify, there are many kinds of apocalypses out there but let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like a quantum apocalypse. It just sounds like the world will end a lot more stylishly and hardcore than with other kinds of apocalypses. To this movie’s credit there are only a few points where you actually wish the world would end rather than have the movie carry on which, in this sub-genre, is quite something. It’s full of strange characters saving the world that, if this were to actually happen, would leave me rather concerned about humanity’s future but, since that’s not the case, we can all just sick back, relax and watch the world be vacuumed slightly to the left.

Let's see them keep a stiff upper lip now...

The end of the world all began one evening in a dark and geeky control room. The good people of the USSA (what I understand to be the movie’s rough equivalent of NASA) are monitoring a comet making its way through our stellar neighbourhood and about to make a flyby of Mars. Everything’s going fine until one moment when the scientists turn their backs and this mischievous comet decides it wants to take a sharp right in space. This puts it on a direct collision path with Mars where it proceeds to blow about a third of the planet into space. Everyone’s obviously concerned because now there’s an awful lot of Mars floating around and they need to make sure that none of it’s heading our way. One scientist has a brief flash of genius when he suggests that, while monitoring the pieces of Mars, it might also be interesting to find out what caused the comet to veer off course so suddenly and catastrophically.

So, we're going to leave the fate of humanity in the hands of these two?

To this end the apparently wanting-in-the-genius-department people of the USSA bring in Trish Zane and Tom Lively. These two are the rock stars of the scientific community and the only ones able to figure out what the strange purple half-octopus flying around Earth is. Deciding that very few people would know what a strangelet is the movie decides to go with that. In this instance it’s basically a much better coordinated and far more purple black hole with limited suction. This thing is slowly making its way towards Earth and its effects will gradually become worse. First it’ll be the usual things like tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes with certain areas experiencing localised anti-gravity and, when it eventually reaches Earth, the entire planet will be sucked in and its matter deconstructed and rearranged. I, personally, was hoping it would be rearranged into a beautiful floral tapestry but since I had no control over how the movie progressed I powered on.

Tidal wave: 1, Lady Liberty: 0

It’s agreed on by the rock star scientists, regular scientists and the movie’s decidedly white American president that, should the purple strangelet reach us, we’re all pretty fucked. There’s 31 hours until it strikes (a time which doesn’t change for the greater part of the movie) and someone needs to devise a plan on how to stop the thing. This is where the other half of the movie’s characters will come in. Ben, his wife Lynne, !!!AUTISTIC!!! brother Terry and kids Leo and Samantha are just a normal American family trying to hold it all together as the world comes to an end. Terry, however, knows a lot about astronomy and might just know how to halt the purple octopus’ advance on Earth. Now he just needs to convince his family and the American government that he has a vague idea of what he’s talking about.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • The Oval Office is just for show. The president’s real office is only marginally bigger than a broom cupboard.
  • Mayors answer to no one.
  • Cars owned by high school students automatically smell like mildew.
  • Al-Qaeda and the Chinese are always suspects when dark matter black holes appear in space.
  • Anti-smoking rules do not change just because the world’s coming to an end.
  • 3 nuclear missiles are enough to cause a polar shift.
  • There will come a day when we all look back on Earth’s near destruction and laugh.

QUANTUM APOCALYPSE TRAILER

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