WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
You know, I consider myself a patient if somewhat long-suffering individual so far as b-movies go. I have seen things that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have built up an immunity to things like the Asylum and Syfy Originals, but there are somethings that you just cannot prepare for. 2012: Doomsday is one of those things. Part of the Asylum’s trilogy of disaster movies that also includes 2012: Ice Age and 2012: Supernova, 2012: Doomsday is by far the worst of the trio. With this one they decided to throw in everything and then a few people’s kitchen sinks: the recipe includes Christian theology, New Age thinking and Mayan prophecy, but it was definitely left to cook for a little too long. By the end of it you’ll be so confused you’ll begin to wonder if you hallucinated the whole thing or if you actually saw this movie play out before your very eyes.
Our tale of misadventure and outright confusion begins in Mexico. Sarah is a Christian missionary incapable of displaying emotion or vocal inflection who’s on assignment in a little village in the back and beyond of nowhere trying to help out those good Christian people who are less fortunate and white than herself. The entire village has suddenly become ill and she desperately needs to find a doctor but, when that fails, a random medical student snapping photos of her jogging will just have to suffice. They realise that something is terribly wrong on the way back to the village when they pass a river that’s near boiling point and all the fish are dead and floating downstream. What possible calamity could have caused this?
The whole world going to Hell, that’s what’s causing this. Sarah’s father works for the US government tracking unusual phenomena that may have adverse effects on the planet. Somehow the combination of planetary alignment in the solar system and the sun’s rotation around the black hole at the centre of the galaxy have caused the Earth’s rotation to stop (although in this movie it has no effect on the magnetosphere), enormous storm cells to form and the continents to move around a little bit. It’s a helluva lot of stuff to have going on all at the same time. Thankfully we have Dr. Frank Richards, a man of science and reason to help us out. Well, science and reason until he discovers a crucifix in a Mayan temple and decides that the only logical thing to do will be to take it to a different Mayan temple to fulfill a prophecy as ordained by Fate. Making sense so far? Didn’t think so.
Because we don’t have enough strange people to pay attention to the movie also throws Susan at us. Susan’s a staunch atheist nurse who believes that science can explain everything. Somehow it’s going to explain her strange desire to visit a Mayan temple that she’s only ever seen in a dream as a child. Her mother, a very devout Christian woman, believes this is all part of God’s greater plan for mankind. So now all these odd people must make their way to the Mayan temple to fulfill a prophecy made by Christians in the Americas nearly a thousand years ago while avoiding a variety of natural disasters before time runs out and the entire planet is decimated. Oh yeah, and the rapture’s thrown in amongst all this just for good measure.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The words ‘we need to evacuate’ just dare a volcano to erupt.
- The Mayans were famous for their underground Christian churches.
- Scientists refuse to accept that the Mayans practised crucifixion, and are insulted if anyone even mentions it.
- Doctors often argue about whether to use medicine or just leave it up to God.
- When the world’s about to go to Hell someone needs to be there to take pictures.
- God will plummet the whole Earth into chaos just to teach one blonde woman to believe.
- God, Christ and the Fates often club together to buy humanity gifts.
- Missionaries in villages in the hell and back of nowhere often have no skills that would be useful to the people there.
- Newborn children are the exclusive property of God.
- Mankind has a dormant instinct to flock to Mayan temples that is awoken during times of the apocalypse.
- Distance in Mexico is measured in how many hills you need to climb over.
2012: DOOMSDAY 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.
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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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