So, it's been brought to my attention via comments, personal emails and Facebook posts that perhaps in these observation notes, in my zeal to communicate my enthusiasm for Asylum productions, I'm giving away a bit too much in regards to plot details, thus doing the opposite of my primary directive and spoiling a thing or two. As I've said before, the ultimate point of these notes, indeed this blog, is to spark your interest, whet your appetite, and make you want to see the daggum movies. As such, I will try to restrain myself a little more in the future, restrict my synopses from now on to no more than a mere paragraph of general description, focusing my efforts instead on praising the technical and creative aspects of the films. Funny, I think, maybe you won't, that I choose to start this with a film I didn't particularly care for. Either way, here we go:
This is the second of The Asylum's 2012-prefixed films - sandwiched between 2008's 2012: Doomsday and next year's 2012: Ice Age - and, as the title indicates, concerns impending oblivion courtesy of an astronomical anomalous catastrophe: seems a star in a neighboring galaxy goes ape-shit unstable and explodes, "supernova" as the kids call it, and unleashes a deadly burst of space-radiation hurtling towards Earth, where it will eradicate every living thing on the planet; it is up to a brilliant if rebellious astrophysicist (Brian Krause) to compose a radical plan that can save all of mankind from imminent extinction. That plan? Well, that's one of the things on which I'm censoring myself, but rest assured I didn't choose the adjective "radical" haphazardly. Add to this a subplot - one typical in Asylum films; see Mega Fault, Meteor Apocalypse, Titanic II - in which said astrophysicist's family is in constant peril from the first ripples of destruction, and the result is a moderately intense - if overly melodramatic - disaster flick roughly on par with other direct-to-DVD offerings in the genre.
I'm not known to be one who minces words, so I won't start here: this isn't the greatest story, and the dialog is even not-greater. This film, in fact, is a pretty good example of a stellar - pardon the pun - concept that crashed and burned upon execution. This story was too rote, the characters weren't near developed enough - despite admirable turns by the principle cast - and the conclusion kinda sucked. That said, the FX were pretty cool, startlingly cool, in fact, as though lifted from another movie and dropped into this one, a credit to both the visual effects department and director Anthony Fankhauser (8213 Gacy House), the latter of whom makes the best of a mediocre situation by depicting the chaos as sufficiently chaotic and peril palpable. My only critique of the direction would be the repetitive use of the same FX clips, but, given what the budget of such a film was bound to be, I suspect this isn't a short-coming of direction but rather an economic necessity, so, no harm no foul.
As for performances, I like Brian Krause. I can't put my finger on just why, I just always relate to him. Whether it's in this or other genre work - from the classic Sleepwalkers to the more-recent Beyond Loch Ness and Warbirds - there's just something really normal about this guy, in a good way, something we can all empathize with. Given that, I actually liked him in this: intense, focused, gruff, desperate but strong. The Asylum should have him back soon.
The lovely Heather McComb("The Event," "Prison Break," non-Asylum Shark Swarm) as the beleagured wife seeking protection against unimaginable perils, is appropriately frazzled without over-acting, and manages a grace under fire that is admirable and indeed noteworthy. Actress Najarra Townsend (hella shorts) rounds out the cast, showing a modicum of promise in her role, holding her own with the more accomplished actors.
This - global annihilation via extraterrestrial masses - isn't a new concept to either cinema in general (Armageddon, Deep Impact) or The Asylum (2012 Doomsday, Meteor Apocalypse) and while this is far and away not the finest entry in either category, it is a moderately entertaining 85 minutes, thanks to neat-o FX and plausible performances. But, truthfully, in a choice between this film and the actual apocalypse, it's kind of a toss up.
Sorry, they can't all be positive.