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observation notes: Megafault

This one's kinda hard to pinpoint, mockbuster-wise. As far as the plot goes, it's a lot like 2012 in that it deals with a whole lot of tectonic plates shifting at once, threatening to rip the planet apart; but it also shares a plot, and a poster tagline, with the classic sci-fi film Crack in the World. So perhaps it's better not to think of this one as a mockbuster at all; truly, to do so takes away from what it actually is, and that's a rocking and rumbling action pic with real heart.

The story breaks down like this: a routine demolition blasting triggers a real fuck-up in the tectonic plates, producing not a major fault, or even a super fault, but the dreaded megafault. This megafault's ripping up shit left and right all across the country, racing from east to west, headed for California, and god help us then, because once megafault meets the San Andreas fault and all its ornery tributaries, the West Coast is going to drop into the ocean like a greased fat guy dumped into a hot tub from a wheelbarrow, also greased, sending megatsunamis across the Pacific. It's up to three people, apparently, to find a way to thwart the megafault before it can destroy the world: the director of FEMA (Bruce Davison), a feisty seismologist (Brittany Murphy) and the blaster who started this in the first place (Eriq LaSalle). And as if all this wasn't enough, at the same time they're also trying to find the seismologist's husband and young daughter, whose plane went down somewhere in Kansas. It's a cross-country adventure we're talking about here, people, pack your trail mix.

I really didn't find much not to like about this film. The first thing that usually detracts me is too much science, not enough chaos, an unsatisfying balance of exposition versus action. But not so here. There was plenty of science to back up the chaos, but the balance felt right, felt like ultimately Megafault knew what it was, and that's an action movie.

And man what action. The visual effects done by Tiny Juggernaut are among their best work for The Asylum. An especial hats off to the Washington Monument scene, and the petroleum truck sequence. Top-fucking-notch, no matter what studio has their name on it. Furthermore, the widespread, aerial shots of destruction were frighteningly realistic, and though not as intense as a Hollywood spectacle like 2012, somehow they felt more realistic, for its focus not on the major cities, but the heartland, destruction on a local level, and thus easier to relate to, for me at least.

Make no mistake people, there's no camp to this one. It's a full-on, balls-out, mega-disaster pic, and a pretty fucking good one, too. Throw Don Cheadle and Amanda Seyfried in this (you can keep Davison where he is) and you've got a $27 million opening weekend, at least.

And that above statement is not meant at all to detract from the performers that do inhabit these roles, merely to show how popular perception is often more influenced by who's in a movie than what it's about, or how well it's made. Bruce Davison - what can I say? The guy's an ace, every time. And it was nice to see Eriq LaSalle again; I'm sure he's been working, but I haven't seen him since "ER." He brings that same sort of brooding intensity to this role, that burdened, soulful, weary resilience, an unflappable Job. Brittany Murphy, honestly, is the weak spot. I feel bad saying that (you know...). She was capable at most things, exceptional at others (I've always thought that was her Oscar from Girl, Interrupted), but here she's just out of place. She's believable for half of the movie, where she plays a concerned mother desperate to be reunited with her family, but as a seismologist, and an ace one at that, she sounded like she was just reading words to me. Well-written, well-spoken words, I just didn't see her in the role. But this does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the film one bit. Nice work also by Paul Logan (Mega Piranha), who, I've decided, has the best run in The Asylum universe, and Justin Hartley (Green Arrow on "Smallville") as Brittany's husband, a guy who survives a plane crash, multiple earthquakes and a petroleum tanker explosion, among other hardships, and never takes off his tie. That's commitment.

Megafault was directed by The Man, David Michael Latt, who perfectly balances the precision of individuals' fears with epic, sweeping panoramic portraits of the rioting landscape, the film's villain after all.

Engaging, thrilling, and all around pretty fucking awesome. Megafault's the real deal, and a real fun way to spend an hour and a half.


  1. I enjoyed this one as well, and seeing as how I had watched the 2 made for tv Mega-earthquake films a few months earlier (10.5 1 and 2) i'll admit that for the budget it WAS a damn good film.

    My only quibble..For once I'd like to see a film thats in West Virginia ACTUALLY friggin look like it's in West Virginia. I've lived here my whole life, I've never seen that much flat ground in the entire state. Nor have I seen a strip mine job that looks like that one, that looked more like (what I'm assuming it actually was) a 'pit mine'.

    I know I know more of a regional pride thing than anything else really but damn. Even the 'Wrong Turn' films don't look like WV..except for a few shots here and there and they're at least in Canada (first 2) and Romania (I think.3) which does have a nice forested hilly look to the landscape.

    Ok that went off on a tangent I wasn't expecting.

  2. i'm with you, C. Though i'm on the west coast now, i'm from north carolina and lived in charlottesville, VA for a while (non-college related) and the scenes in this film purported to be set in WVA did not at all resemble the actual landscape there (which is fucking lovely, by the way). vancouver has been used more times than a frat house fluffer.