Considering I live in a place nowhere near any coast and have no naval people in my family, I’m fascinated by old-timey naval expeditions. The First Fleet to Australia, the doomed attempts to navigate the North West Passage, the “golden age” of piracy…I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading books about them all. So when I started watching this and discovered it was inspired by the journey of the Fury and Hecla in 1824, I was immediately more interested than I would have been by a SyFy Channel film with this title.
But despite an interesting concept, that title is good and misleading. Frost giants more traditionally look like this –
In 1824, the Fury and Hecla are trying to navigate the icy wastes of northern Canada, and witness a meteor land on Earth, which has passed by Saturn and grabbed a mysterious creature on its way (it didn’t make much sense to me either). We get little bits of their story throughout the rest of the film, but it’s mostly about a scientific survey team near Fury Beach, where the original boat sank, sharing their space with scientist guy Dean Cain, who’s trying to recover the wreck of the Fury, as he’s a descendant of James Clark Ross. They do recover it, and as well as the journal of the voyage, thought lost, there’s a pretty unhappy ice alien tagging along.
The majority of the film is a bit like “The Thing”, but I suppose it’s difficult to have any ice-station-monster film without getting those comparisons. Dean Cain is the outsider to the group, and Lucy Brown is one of the scientists there, as well as being his former lover. Lucy Brown! She’s ridiculously beautiful, and has mainly worked in British TV, which is a damn shame as she’d make a fantastic lead for some smartly written US cable show about a lawyer or a doctor with a complicated private life. Or one where she gives monsters a good belting. Check this gif out from UK TV show “Primeval”:
Anyway, enough of me talking about women I have a crush on. The alien appears to be made out of ice, but kind-of isn’t, which causes problems for the crew trying to kill it. Luckily, the place is lousy with people from the extremely multi-ethnic and -national cast wanting to heroically sacrifice themselves, so it’s going to have a tough time.
There is a problem or two with the story, and the way they use history. The Fury is blown up to trap the ice alien in this film, whereas in reality it was abandoned due to damage from the ice. They had enough time to completely empty it and leave the stores on what is now Fury Beach, because when Ross came back 5 years later he was able to use those same supplies to help his new ship out. It’s not one of the great mysteries of the sea because most of the crew survived and went on to many other expeditions, but I suppose the actual history didn’t have an ice alien in it either, so I shouldn’t grumble too much.
It’s a pretty good film! Aside from the not-great alien effects, this film has clearly had some money spent on it, and the acting is strong too. There’s perhaps a smidgeon too much of people behaving as dumb as a box of rocks in order to stretch the running time, but it’s a minor price to pay for what is a fun little SyFy film.
Rating: thumbs up