While SyFy has made several movies which were very good and a whole heap of them which were terrible, they’ve also made many many more of them which are just sort of…there, and the more you see of those movies the more you realise they could have probably been made by a Script-Bot 5000. You’ll recognise the ideas – there’s a couple who are either estranged or just in different locations for much of the movie; their teenage kid is often central to solving the crisis. Lots of travelling, and lots of dodging the villain of the piece, which is often a result of mankind stretching too far (digging too deep, harnessing too much power, etc.)
Rather than just reprint the review for “Alien Tornado”, let’s recap. A school is about to have a science fair, and the people in there for Saturday detention are setting it up. Megan is the super-genius who’s developed some device for producing X bosons (a particle that only exists on gas giant planets), and Will is helping her out, despite apparently being a bit on the dumb side. Will’s Dad is the gym teacher, Megan’s dad is a bit of an inventor, so you can see how their paths were set for them from childhood.
Anyway, the Device not only causes the red spot on Jupiter to disappear, but huge red storms to appear on Earth. The kids are trapped in detention, the parents are scattered all over town, and some distance away, a couple of real scientists read the evidence collected by Megan, realise she’s for real, and immediately get on a plane (man-scientist has a pilot’s licence, of course) and head for the town and the storm. Things get serious quickly, though – New York and Boston are completely destroyed, among other places; and the only thing that can stop these “destruction particles” from tearing the planet apart is sending a special rocket into the atmosphere, which Will’s dad has been building in his shed.
The cast is decent enough for a SyFy movie – Will’s dad is Mitch Pileggi, best known as the FBI director from “The X Files”; and the lady scientist is Erica Cerra, best known as the deputy from the SyFy show “Eureka”. Everyone else is fine, and the special effects are okay too. It’s solid looking.
The problem is act 2, as so many SyFy movies have. A cop drives up the school, being chased by the electrical storm (luckily, this electricity moves much slower than normal electricity does) and crashes; she survives, but only so she can get driven to hospital and blown up on the way. Absolute filler. It’s full of not-terribly-exciting scenes where someone will drive frantically around trying to avoid getting blasted; it would have been nice if the threat had developed or escalated in any way.
The twist (that Will is the real genius of the pair) is as obvious as it is bizarre. Why did he hide his incredible talent from his parents, and let them think him an unmotivated dullard? Why didn’t the scientists decide to check the weather before they set off in their flimsy little plane? And how many times can you say “X boson” before the words cease to have any meaning?
I mentioned above about New York and Boston, and that’s perhaps the most crucial part of the movie, and the one that’s largely ignored. The “save the day at the last minute” trick can’t happen, because the last minute has come and gone – this little science experiment is without a doubt the biggest disaster in the entire history of the human race, killing tens of millions. So, okay, they successfully destroy the storm (as if there was any doubt) but what happens ten minutes after the end of the movie, when everyone we’ve just seen gets thrown into the deepest, darkest hole imaginable for the rest of their natural lives?
It’s not terrible, just very very ordinary, and with plot holes big enough to X. Hey, if they can’t think up an original script, I’m not going to think up an original insult.
Rating: thumbs down