Thursday, July 25, 2013

Meteor Apocalypse

Are you ready for another blockbuster from Faith Films? The guys who brought you 2012 Doomsday and Sunday School Musical? Well, this one, Meteor Apocalypse, makes those other two look good.

Nah, I’m kidding. Nothing could possibly make 2012 Doomsday look good. Meteor Apocalypse is slightly better, but not as good as SSM. Which is like saying taking a dump is better than explosive diarrhea, but not as good as having a wizz.

But enough of that crap. Meteor Apocalypse, billed as an End Times thriller, is about the trouble that ensues when a comet threatening the Earth is blasted to fragments by the US government, only for those fragments to rain down on the planet.

David (Joe Lando, from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) is some sort of emergency response person. His wife Kate (Babylon 5’s Claudia Christian, who gets top billing in spite of only being in the film for less than ten minutes) and daughter Alison (Madison McLaughlin) wish he’d spend more time with them. “Why did you bother switching to days when you’re on call seven nights a week?” Kate asks as David is called in to help deal with the meteor crisis. “It’s my Job, Kate,” he replies. “What d’you want me to do?” Having established the required amount of family drama, David rushes off to do his stuff. If only something would happen to make him realize how precious his family really is.

The first meteor poisons the water supply, and people start getting sick. David confers with his sick friend Mark, who dies just after giving him some medicine that will slow down the poisoned water’s effects. Then a random meteor shower destroys the building, but David escapes with the meds just in the nick of time.

Mark’s pal Sam in Las Vegas is working on a cure – he tells David this, and apparently no one else. The government moves in and starts quarantining the sick people, including Dave’s daughter Alison. He arrives home just in time to watch helplessly Alison and Kate are hauled away by army goons. David himself escapes, only to waste time wandering in the wilderness. Why he didn’t simply get back in his car (which was available) or the car of one of the goon-abducted sickies (also available) is a question best left for film critics.

On his way to Las Vegas to help Sam make a cure, David meets a sick woman named Lynn (Cooper Harris). She also has drama (ex boyfriend, ex job, ex dog), but it fails to make her interesting. Lynn’s function in the film is to look sickly, and it uses up the entirety of Cooper’s acting talent.

David and Lynn find a jeep and continue on toward Vegas, until another random meteor shower destroys it. Over the course of the film, David faces five random meteor showers, but emerges from each unscathed. Somebody up there must like him.

Meanwhile, Random Government People are hard at work. There are always two types of RGPs in movies like this: the ones working to solve the current crisis, and the ones who get in their way for no good reason. Both groups provide much-needed exposition.

David and Lynn reach Sam just in time to save him from some guy with a gun. They put their heads together (David and Sam, not Lynn or the gun guy) and quickly concoct an antidote to the poisoned water. And not a moment too soon! More gun guys turn up to make things difficult, but David and Lynn escape with the help of some FBI agents. Things look promising for our heroes until a bunch of bikers turn up and kill the FBI guys, only to be scared away by random meteor shower #3. One of the FBI agents lives long enough to tell them (David & Lynn, not the bikers) that a giant comet is heading for L.A. Which is where the quarantined people are! Including Kate and Alison! David rushes off for L.A., and Lynn comes with him because her character has nothing better to do.

At no point does it occur to either David or Lynn to turn their antidote over to the authorities. David’s mission is surprisingly single-minded for a Christian movie – he’s taking the cure to his daughter, and everyone else can fend for themselves. In this way, Meteor Apocalypse is very similar to Sunday School Musical – no consequences are shown for bad behavior. David does use half his supply of antidote to save a little girl, but that hardly counts; David wasn’t even sure it would work. He basically used the girl as a guinea pig to make sure the cure could help his daughter.

And, like Sunday School Musical, there is very little to suggest that this is in fact a Christian movie. David’s wife Kate asks him early on if he’ll come to church with her that weekend, and David and Lynn take shelter in a church in L.A. In that church, a priest named Pastor King (Celestial) talks to David about faith; she is the only one to mention the name of Jesus in the entire movie. It doesn’t do her any good; she and her church are wiped out by random meteor shower #4.

Back in Washington, the RGPs’ bureaucratic exposition continues. Most are in favour of saving those quarantined in L.A. However, a bearded RGP is of the opinion the sickies should be left to their fate to avoid a jurisdictional misstep. “You’re sentencing them all to death!” a good RGP cries. “If I could wave a magic wand I would!” the bearded one retorts. Clearly he’s a villain – he’s in favour of using magic! The good RGPs do manage to evacuate some of the people in L.A. before the comet arrives, destroying the city in the cheapest and most pathetic CGI I’ve ever seen.

Before that half-assed apocalypse, however, David and Lynn escape L.A. and track down the evacuated quarantined people in the mountains. Lynn tries to kiss David, but he refuses. This seems a fairly insignificant moment in the film, but according to the Bible Study questions in the disc’s special features, this is the moment when David is faced with Temptation (other questions deal with the film’s supposed Biblical accuracy). That he doesn’t give in to Adultery proves he is an upstanding Christian guy. When Lynn succumbs to her sickness shortly after, and refuses the cure so that David can keep what’s left for his daughter, she is seen to have redeemed herself for her attempted defilement of David’s marriage.

Basically, Lynn is a helpless female in need of rescuing, who becomes a Temptress for five seconds. If her entire purpose was to be a temptation for David, why did they wait for the very end of the movie? If they are trying to teach viewers about the sin of adultery, they have failed miserably.

After Lynn’s death, David is menaced by one last meteor shower before finding Kate, curing his daughter and getting rescued by a chopper. So the hell what? Joe Lando is a serviceable leading man, but the script from Brian Brinkman and director Micho Rutare (who also co-wrote Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus) doesn’t give him much to work with. This is Rutare’s second motion picture as director, and like SSM it was shot in 12 days. Faith Films, it would seem, is too cheap to go over that pitifully short schedule. I’m not sure that an extra few days would have made much difference, though. More love seems to have gone into the making of featurette; it’s the only time that Cooper Harris displays any kind of energy. Honestly, why couldn’t one of those random meteor showers have hit during pre-production and saved the world from this godly mess?

Meteor Apocalypse
Likely To Convert - 0
Production Values - 4
Acting/Direction - 3
Likely To Be Sat Through - 3
Unintentional Hilarity - 4
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 2

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