If I’d been reviewing this at the time, I’d have roundly mocked all the 2012 doomsday prophecies. With the abject failure of anything terribly important to happen on December 21st 2012, I sort of hoped a little that the torrent of bilge spewed out by psychics, ancient alien theorists, Atlantis believers and all the other sadly deluded would slow down; of course, it carried on just like before. Mercifully, though, the trend for end-of-the-world movies has died down, and the good people at SyFy (and the Asylum, and other low-budget movie studios) have moved back to light-hearted giant monster movies, chasing that “Sharknado” dollar.
But this review takes us back to those heady far-off days of 2011, when the credulous were convinced an old calendar from some people who didn’t have the sense to not die out was foretelling the end of the world. In “Doomsday Prophecy”, it’s all to do with the alignment of the galactic equator with the solar system’s equator, or something – basically, it’s one of those cool-sounding stellar things and you don’t need to worry about it other than to know it’s happening fairly soon. The first scene shows the complete emptying of the Black Sea and some rather well done (for a low budget movie) cracks in the Earth, the first examples of this great alignment’s power.
Add to this a modern-day Nostradamus, except this guy is apparently 100% correct in his predictions (plus, they’re actually predictions and not just cryptic poems), called Rupert Crane. After writing his bestseller book full of true predictions decades ago, he disappears, only to resurface as the events start happening. He calls a publisher and insists that they send lowly proofreader Eric (AJ Buckley) to go to the Canadian wildnerness and pick up the manuscript; Eric quite reasonably wonders why him, saying “I have a fight on Monday”- explaining why a proofreader can kick ass, nice! – but goes anyway. Crane makes one other call, to an archaeology professor called Brook (Jewel Staite), asking her to come along too. Huh?
To cut a long story short and not spoil anything, when they get there Crane is dead, and he’s left them a video message about how he never had psychic powers, it was all the result of a magic rod, and it’s Eric’s birthright to carry it and save the world. I may well have not been paying attention, but they give zero explanation as to why this fancy stick is magic, or why only Crane and Eric can use it. Bravo, movie! So, the two of them go on the lam to try and figure out where they need to go (cryptic clues, naturally); and at some point, the Army pick up on what’s going on and send their goons, headed by General Slate (Alan Dale) to track them down, get the rod and…well, Slate has weirdly traditional movie villain plans for it, which came sort of out of nowhere but were a fun touch.
Much the same as our recently reviewed “Earth’s Final Hours” (one of many ways), stuff gets destroyed in this movie. New York is gone! Italy is gone! Perhaps there was a message from SyFy management that resetting the status quo at the end of the movie was not to be done any more, and I quite like it. The scene where Eric’s boss is calling him and realises he’s about to die is really rather well done, for instance. Stakes are high!
As I alluded to above, it’s most definitely not the most original plot. You may have a strong feeling of déjà vu with this one, and it’s not just some left-brain / right-brain trick, it’s due to it feeling an awful lot like an awful lot of SyFy movies. Purely from their movies I’ve seen so far: “Alien Tornado”, “Cold Fusion”, “Collision Earth”, “End Of The World”, “Independence Daysaster”, “Seattle Superstorm”, and “Super Eruption”, among many others. I admit I’ve seen more of these damn things than the average human perhaps ought to, but it’s beginning to feel like they’ve just got bags full of character types, locations and sorts of disasters, and just use these to differentiate their otherwise identical movies.
Still, originality is overrated. “I, A Man” was original, and no-one had a good time watching that. While it suffers from the classic act 2 lull, it’s surprisingly good fun, and it’s certainly helped by the solid acting. Buckley and Staite are both excellent, Dale is fun and completely OTT, Hiro Kanagawa (aka the busiest man in the business, dude is in everything) is great, and everyone else is fine too. Writer / director Jason Bourque, one of SyFy’s regulars, handles everything well…technically, I have little bad to say about it.
Maybe don’t subject yourself to a SyFy movie every night for a week, and you’ll be fine with this one. They’re to be caught accidentally and enjoyed, not tracked down. Perhaps you’ll be able to enjoy the insane Easter Island heads ending and the weird Native American symbols and not just shrug your shoulders with indifference!
Rating: thumbs in the middle