That’s “Stone-aydoes”, not some weird latin American word.
This film was so close. Throughout all its 90 over the top minutes, any indication at all that anyone in the production knew how stupid it all was, just one little wink to the audience and I’d have been championing this film as the greatest SyFy Channel movie of them all, better and more fun than “Sharknado” and “Ghost Shark” and all the others, for sure. But, sadly, it appears they thought they were making just another quickie movie, and all the ludicrousness was accidental. Shame!
The film starts with a group of tourists at Plymouth Rock, the famous stone which represents the colonisation of the USA by white folk. My mind immediately went to Malcolm X, an inspiration to me and people like me, and his famous quote about the black experience “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us!” After a tornado appears and, thanks to the moronic tourist, sucks the tour guide to her death (do tornados suck people up at such a distance?) we cut to a street scene, and a couple of guys playing a game of 1-on-1 basketball. Bit of banter then boom! Plymouth Rock literally lands on a black man, crushing him to death.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure this bit out. Were the filmmakers completely unaware of Malcolm X, or the film based on his life, or the countless uses of that phrase in popular culture, and this was just a weird coincidence? Some sort of terribly miscalculated joke? Or a reference to the plight of black people? Although it’s unlikely to be the latter, given the fact that this poor fella is the last black person in the film, pretty much, and certainly the only one with a speaking part.
As we get going, one of the adults from “One Tree Hill” is a science teacher who, for some reason, is doing a science experiment outside (well, the reason is it was too expensive to rent the space indoors to film). He’s a former Harvard scientist, his friend is a wisecracking TV weatherman who attended Harvard with him, his sister is a cop in Boston, and the three of them meet in the basketball court, trying to figure out what’s going on. Aside from a couple of boring kids who only exist to get in trouble so the science teacher Dad has to go and rescue them, the last piece of the main cast is the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files, who’s entirely separated from the main cast, in a lighthouse. They could only afford to pay him for a day, it would seem, so his sole interaction with the rest of the cast is a phone call, and he spends most of his time looking through binoculars at giant water-tornados.
The stonado first does its thing at Boston harbour, and aside from the fairly poor special effects, it’s a good scene. People are being crushed right, left and centre, but our heroes still get in a rather funny conversation about child-rearing techniques. Oh, in case you were wondering why the tornadoes only pick up stones, that is a mystery that gets revealed at the end (along with why the stones start exploding).
The thing you’ll notice about this film is it’s “haha all our friends are dead” taken to the extreme. Absolutely no-one appears to give the slightest toss about the carnage going on around them – examples, I hear you ask? The weather guy is doing a TV report, a stone takes out the woman stood right next to him, he sidesteps her corpse and carries on talking. Boston doesn’t cancel the rowing event in the harbour, despite the dozens of deaths from a freak weather condition the day before. Boston University only cancels its football game when rocks start hitting the stadium. The daughter’s best friend dies, and she’s laughing and joking with her Dad minutes later. One of the main cast (no spoilers) dies seconds before the end, but that doesn’t stop them having a laugh and walking off into the sunset together.
I didn’t hate this anywhere near as much as I expected, but it was inches away from being SyFy’s first great film. I have to conclude it was played straight rather than for laughs, and that just means incompetence reigned.
Rating: thumbs down (sorry)