2012 Supernova (2009)

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The Asylum are not a company to pass up an easy buck, and exploiting 2012 fears, along with mockbusting the big budget “2012” (from 2009) was a no-brainer for them. They liked the idea so much that they made three films with 2012 in the title, in fact. Dare I review them all?

Not if they’re all down there with this one. Brian Krause, who was the love interest on “Charmed” and has jobbed around since then, is Professor Kelvin, an astrophysicist in charge of…NASA maybe? He certainly seems to have a lot of people defer to him, but his actual job is shrouded in mystery. Or I wasn’t paying attention, which seems equally likely. Anyway, some sun hundreds of light years away goes supernova, and the (POINTLESS SCIENCE BUZZWORD) is on its way to Earth to kill us all – every now and again, cutting away from the “action”, you’ll see the wave destroying a planet or a moon.

So, we have three strands of film. First is Kelvin trying to figure out a way to stop the supernova from destroying the Earth; second is the supernova heading our way, causing all sorts of environmental disasters on Earth, for some reason; third is Kelvin’s wife and daughter driving about, trying to get to safety. Despite having seen a virtually identical B-story in other Asylum films, this one just felt particularly boring, like they might as well have replaced all their scenes with a blank screen that had the word “FILLER” flash up from time to time.

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If you thought the conclusion of the film was going to be that three non-Shuttle pilots were going to have to fly the Space Shuttle, completely unaided, up to the International Space Station, dock it and fire nuclear missiles to create some sort of extra shielding for the magnetosphere, then I doff my cap to you, sir (or madam).

I sort of expected this film to go in a very different direction. Quite a lot happened in the early running, so I thought there was going to be a disaster early on, and then the cast were going to have to survive the changed Earth. No such luck, as the film just kept on going, like it wanted to pull the trigger on something exciting but didn’t have the time, money or expertise behind the camera. Booo! But what we do get is, every five minutes or so, someone restating what needs to happen, very simply, in case you had drifted to sleep and needed bringing up to speed. And a lot of use of flip-phones, which there was no excuse for even in 2009. What is it with Asylum and flip-phones? Did they buy a box full a few years before and decide they had to use them all?

This movie is a bit of a test of your patience. So little happens that it almost defies you to turn it off – you know how it’s going to end, you’ve got a fairly good idea of which members of the cast are going to survive – but if you’re like me you just carry on. There’s some fun to be had spotting the re-used sets, though. The main NASA area is a wall of dials and buttons which also doubled as the inside of a submarine in “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus”, for example. Also, there’s a couple of Asylum regulars in this one, including my favourite, the excellently named Londale Theus, also from “Transmorphers: Fall Of Man” and “Airline Disaster”.

Anyway, unless you’re really desperate to see every film with 2012 in the title, I’d probably give this one a miss. It’s d-u-l-l.

Rating: thumbs down

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Camel Spiders (2011)

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Don’t let the name of the director put you off – for some reason, Jim Wynorski likes to direct some films under the pseudonym Jay Andrews. Perhaps he’s afraid of people thinking the quality of his films might not be up to scratch if he directs so many of them every year? But if Jim directs some, and Jay directs some, problem solved. Well, apart from the film being no good problem, that is.

Brian Krause, boyfriend in later seasons of “Charmed”, is an army guy in charge of some people shooting at some other people, both groups of whom are behind some rocks. The Middle Eastern baddies, even though most of them are very obviously white guys in headscarves, get killed by CAMEL SPIDERS pretty quickly, and the central thrust of the film is when a bunch of them decided to go and shelter inside a corpse, which luckily for them is a US soldier being transported back home.

Even luckier is the way they choose to get it from wherever it lands to wherever it’s ending up. Not in some military truck or plane, but in the back of a fairly ordinary looking pickup truck, not tied down or secured in any way (oh, and the “coffin” is made out the cheapest materials imaginable). So, when a stolen car being chased by Sheriff C Thomas Howell crashes into them and the spiders escape, you know we’re in for a bad time.

All the Wynorski trademarks are apparent – cheapness, crappy special effects, and poor acting. I guess he’s a man who allows his fetishes to bleed over into his work in the same way Russ Meyer did, so the women who we should be thinking are the young, beautiful, desirable plot-drivers are actually former soft-core porn stars, who’ve spent too much time in a tanning booth and too much time under the surgeon’s knife. I’m not criticising the ladies who choose to look like that, and Wynorski is obviously happy with them, but…ah, maybe it’s just me who thought the visual was odd.

Throw in a bunch of cannon-fodder teens and make sure they spent almost no time inside buildings, because buildings means set building and ain’t nobody got time for that, and you’ve got yourself a movie. It’s by no means terrible, because that would at least be entertaining in its own way. It’s just like every other damn movie of this type, and we’ve reviewed enough of them to know every beat, every twist and despite an ending that could have been a surprisingly fun twist…it wasn’t. If you’re seriously reading this and deciding whether or not to watch it, DON’T. Read through these reviews and pick yourself something decent.

Rating: thumbs down

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