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STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $19.94
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 190 minutes
SPECIAL
FEATURES:

•Making of featurette
•”Creating Zero Gravity” featurette
•Deleted scenes



The Pitch
“You can’t hide from gravity!” -TV newscaster, Impact

The Humans
Director: Mike Rohl (Chained Heat 3: Hell Mountain)
Writer: Michael Vickerman (Warriors of Virtue)
Cast: David James Elliott, Natasha Henstridge, Benjamin Sadler, Florentine Lahme, James Cromwell.


The
Nutshell

A meteor shower containing magic beans crashes into the Moon unleashing a storm of magic on the Earth. Now, the Moon will crash into the Earth in 39 days unless Dr. Alex Kittner can use his fancy space magic degree to invent a crucial plot device.

The Lowdown

An underground control room. Large screens show swaths
of destruction, a linkup with the European Space Agency, and the
now-elliptical orbital path of the Moon. Gathered here are politicians
and generals, listening intently to a meteorite specialist. Certain
reversals in life betray such an obvious disruption in the order of
things that one immediately knows that something is happening and it’s
nothing good; these include a red sky at sea in the morning,
dogs and cats living together, and politicians and generals paying
careful attention to the warnings of a scientist.

General:
“Why come people cars and trains have suddenly started flying? They
don’t usually fly. This doesn’t make sense and if someone were watching
us they’d want it to make sense.”
Scientist: “A piece of a brown
dwarf star secretly hidden in a meteor shower hit the Moon and the Moon
is close now its special star gravity is sucking people and vehicles and
nothing else off of the Earth.”
Lady politician: “Look I have never
disguised the fact that I never learned to read because I’m allergic to looking at paper and only got this job because I found a business
suit in a dumpster but even I know that that is not a thing that
happens.”
Scientist: “Sometimes in science things happen that aren’t
100% scientific. Moving across the globe these energy levels like my
son’s baseball moving stormfront like a lightning storm elliptical orbit
magnetic storm lightning strikes in form of electromagnetic magnets!”
Old
man politician: “FUCKING MAGNETS HOW DO THEY WORK”
Scientist: “39
days and then we can all walk on the Moon because it will have landed
right….here.”


It’s mildly amusing how a lot of disaster movie makers think that in a news segment the text crawl at the bottom should summarize the same story that is currently being reported on, which would in fact defeat the purpose of such a text crawl.


Pity the poor disaster film genre. It’s really
one of the red-headed stepchildren of cinema. Are there any masterpieces
in this genre? Maybe Tarkovsky’s Stalker, but it’s telling that in
order to find great disaster films one has to blur the lines of the genre. Mostly, such films are merely an excuse for special effects set pieces, plot mechanics brought
into motion and resolved by junk science and oiled by technobabble, and
dull one-dimensional characters trying to juggle their pre-existing
problems with the new problem that nature hates them.

Impact–a
joint US-German co-production which originally aired in miniseries form
on ABC–is no exception. The protagonists are scientists (both of whom
have as their character conflict the struggle of juggling being a
scientist with the demands of their personal lives) so they’re easily on
hand whenever expository technobabble gibberish is needed to justify
whatever stupid thing the writer just had nature do. Such expository
scenes also often features a resident doofus, who is around only to ask
the scientist to explain things in terms a TV audience could understand
(sometimes a given scene’s doofus is playing way dumber than they should
be; if I had a Ph.D. in astrophysics and my paid research assistant
asked “What’s that?” when I used the term “brown dwarf” she’d be fired
on the spot, lunar crisis or no, but Dr. Alex Kittner lets it slide)

The
acting is like any other dull TV drama, unremarkably bad. James
Cromwell, as usual, is pretty good as an agoraphobic grandfather whose
agoraphobia is justified since now the sky is actually falling.

The
special effects are, by and large, pretty bad. The only one that looks
OK is when James Cromwell’s car starts flying. Some of the others
could’ve been CG cutscenes in a late 90s PC game.


Just when all hope was lost, our beloved heroes figured out a way to turn the Moon into a screensaver. And that, children, is how the Aurora Borealis came to be.


The plot is
riddled with holes, scientific and otherwise. One of the silliest
notions is the government trying to keep a lid on what the Moon is
doing. One observatory is the first to notice it, and since the
government grabs up those astronomers, it’s assumed that for a while no
one else is figuring out what is going on. But you can see the Moon from
any observatory on Earth, and astronomical information can be easily
disseminated and peer-reviewed via an aging electronic network known as
the Internet. As for scientific idiocy, one could go on and on, but
let’s leave it at a few quotes from our brave protagonist Dr. Alex
Kittner:
“The basic law of gravity is that smaller mass is attracted
to larger mass.” (Nope. Both objects attract each other, with an
attractive force proportionate to each object’s mass, and inversely
proportionate to the distance between the two objects.)
“Let’s
recheck the Moon’s position!” (“It takes a LOT of energy to move the
Moon appreciably from its orbit. Anything massive enough to do that
would vaporize or at least seriously damage the Moon upon impact.” -The
Bad Astronomy Blog
)
“How do you hide from gravity?” (Good question.)


If you’re president, and the Moon is in more pieces than it was when you were inaugurated, you just know you’re not getting reelected.


There’s
nothing to recommend in this movie. Everything about it seems to shout
that it was made to the minimal network broadcast standards to fill lazy
summer timeslots. And if that was indeed the goal, then the film
succeeds: I cannot deny the fact that this film does indeed have a timed
duration. Every time you watch it it is consistently three hours and
ten minutes long. If you want to watch something and it absolutely has
to be three hours and ten minutes long and for some reason you have no
qualitative requirements, under those standards I give this movie a
grade of “adequate”. Otherwise, stay away.

The Package

Watchable anamorphic transfer. A couple of uninteresting featurettes about how the terrible special effects were achieved. Deleted scenes.

3.0/10