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Quantum Apocalypse

With my previous experiment with Jones and Apocalypse fare, I feel like this is going to be painful. An asteroid is heading to earth in a very syfy looking monitoring center. Suddenly the comet shifts it’s path.  The screens go blank and alarms blare as the satellite connection is lost.
HOW MANY ASTEROIDS ARE YOU GOING TO TOSS TO EARTH JUSTIN? HOW MANY?

This thing is so Asylum and TV movie and SyFy that it hurts. Disaster movie, melodrama…dogey CGI…The dollar store is too good for this thing!  In fact, acording to IMDB, The title “Quantum Apocalypse” was the result of a joke: Writer Leigh Scott had an e-mail conversation with Dread Central reviewer Scott “The Foywonder” Foy (a frequent harsh critic of Sci-Fi Channel Original Films) about the Channel rejecting the previous title “Judgment Day”. Foy remarked the reason that the title was rejected was that it didn’t have a colon like many other Sci-Fi Channel films (such as “Caved In: Prehistoric Terror” and “Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep”) and jokingly suggested the title “Judgment Day: Quantum Apocalypse”. Scott liked the title “Quantum Apocalypse” and asked for permission to suggest it to the Sci-Fi Channel which approved it.  
In addition to a CGI Aurora Borialis in the sky, it’s going to mes with cell phones and radio waves – and we may be looking at something else to create an extinction event. But the weird part is something is out there changing these things course – something that looks a lot like the vortex from Transmorphers….. and in  a few days it’ll be in position to affect the Earth.
We cut back and froth fro the government bunker to the Mayor of the city of Parish and his family -Wife,  the typical teenage boy, the cute little girl and the Mayor’s rain man autistic adult brother. It’s a charming group and honestly I’m actually more interested in their story than the asteroids. Still, while the Mayor’s wife complains about the phones being down and the son is trying to make time with his girlfriend, a couple of quirky scientists arrive at the bunker to try and figure out how to stop this outer space anomaly from destroying the world. What they really should be doing though, is talking to the autistic character. He’s brilliant and has this thing cold figured out.Big props to Rhett Giles by the way, for taking a character that could EASILY have been a stereotype or a parody and giving him some real heart. This character, Terry, is the single most interesting and compelling character in the movie.
While the punk rock scientists are throwing in the towel and calling it the end, Terry is watching the skies with his telescope. Birds darken the skies (I swear,  I feel like we’re back to Biblical epic again….) Terry has a plan and he buying parts to assemble a machine. Hopefully it’s a good plan, because Russia and China want to nuke the vortex. (and yet, I’m equally involved in the son trying to work up the nerve to kiss his girlfriend).
Terry convinces his brother Ben to drive him to Houston because he’s got the answer on how to save the planet…but is it too late? The vortex is here and it’s brought  tsunami with it.
At the end of the day, this thing gets real points for some good characters. The town’s first family really humanizes the global threat, boiling down a big picture disaster into something more manageable and effective. And that’s really the thing. If this movie has a real flaw, it’s at the beginning – it’s all the stuff at the space center. It’s all weak – the characters and the look. It’s kind of like when you’re looking at something forced perspective – you mind knows somethings wrong, but you can’t quite reconcile it. That’s what all this space center stuff looks like. cramped with Jone’s signature flat lighting doing nothing for them. (we could also drop ALL the stuff with the president too. he’s never convincing in the role and it does nothing to move the film along). Some moody atmosphere and warmer filters would go a long way there. But it’s also the lack of connection with the government characters – ESPECIALLY the scientists. Quirky girl and straightman  have no chemistry. Interestingly, neither did Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith in Independence Day, but we invested in those characters long before they teamed up because we spent time with them individually. Even more importantly, we spent time with them BEFORE the crisis. Outside of it. Give me a couple scenes with these two individually before the skies darken,  and I think the bunker scenes get much better.

Perhaps it seems like I’m being overly hard on this film. Perhaps I give off the impression of a hateful troll, pecking away on a basement computer covered in cheeto dust. But the thing is, if I hated this thing, I’d just say “Pass” and move along. I’d just forget it. What frustrates me here is I see the potential for a GOOD movie here – even with these same budgetary and time limitations. This is arguably Jones’s best work and it has the ability to stand up with any summer blockbuster in terms of story and emotion. Why do I think this? Because the movie changed my mind while I was watching it. A little past halfway through I went from “Awful syfy film, pass” to “Actually good movie – provided you can turn off your brain on the ridiculous overworked premise and get past the flat bunker scenes” It’s still a recommend, despite the Playstation one CGI and goofy premise, because it really does stick the landing and gives us a clever ending that would feel equally at home in a good episode of Doctor Who.

This is one of those I’d love a redo of – reediting and fixing the bad parts, because despite some subpar element,s the good character bits and over all story still manage to shine through.

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