ORBzine - Disaster Movie Reviews



Sunshine The Earth is dying, which allows us to experience a bunch of cliches. A group of explorers pilot a nuke to restart the sun [ The Core ]. But while within its hypnotic, mind-bending presence [ Solaris ] they discover the last expedition that went missing [ Event Horizon ].

Danny Boyle delivers his first adaption of an Alex Garland novel since The Beach. Neither author nor director is renowned for Science Fiction works. But what in the hands of an inferior director would become the ultimate B-Movie, here is an excellent drama.

The cast are excellent as well. Cilian Murphy [ Batman Begins ] is the Physicist who built the bomb, while Rose Byrne is the pilot and Michelle Yeoh is the biologist. Yeoh, best known as a kung-fu star and Bond Babe, delivers a reminder of why she was so appreciated in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon !

The problem with the crew is that the never address the obvious, which makes them appear stupid. The film takes an uncomfortable switch from drama (internal conflict) to thriller (external conflict), but the crew (and the film in general) takes so long to address the fact that story appears uneven.

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  • The Core

    The Core Jon Amiel delivers a flashy, OTT, CGI SPFX-driven piece of feel-good Americana. The science is dodgy in the extreme, but it's just an excuse for America to save the world. Either the Producers didn't bother doing any research, or the whole thing is set in an alternate reality. Either way, who cares? Just buckle in and enjoy the ride!

    Scientist Aaron Eckhart ( Paycheck ) discovers an anomaly in the Earth's electro-magnetic field. He tells the US Government's top expert, Stanley Tucci ( Eighteenth Angel ), who confirms that the Earth's core has stopped rotating. Together they convince the Pentagon to support them ...

    Tucci's friend, Inventor Delroy Lindo ( A Life Less Ordinary ), has built a tunnelling machine that will take a small crew to the Earth's core. Nuclear weapons scientist Tcheky Karyo ( Wing Commander, Crying Freeman ) can detonate a mega-nuke to re-start the Earth's core, and save the world. The machine's pilots are Astronauts Hillary Swank and Bruce Greenwood ( I, Robot ). Ground-crew, so to speak, includes uber-hacker Rat [DJ Quails - The New Guy] and NASA Mission Commander Alfre Woodward .

    For such a flashy, OTT, CGI SPFX-driven ... Let's face it, there's a hell of a lot of acting talent jammed into the exploration capsule! They all give excellent performances. This in itself raises the movie above the likes of Armageddon !

  • Deep Core
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  • The Day After Tomorrow

    The Day After Tomorrow Climatologists Dennis Quaid [ Dragonheart, Inner Space ] and Ian Holm [ Fifth Element, Lord of the Rings ] discover that climate change will happen harder and faster than anyone ever expected. US Vice-President Kenneth Welsh [ Twin Peaks ] denies there is any danger. Typical anti-American propaganda, of course - I mean, would any senior US politicians actually disclaim Climate Change?

    Jake Gyllenhall [ Donnie Darko ] is trapped in NYC when it gets flooded and frozen. His dad must lead a rescue effort ...

    Roland Emmerich delivers his regular bi-annual sci-fi epic. The climate change issue angered certain elements of the USA, although the fate of New Orleans has made it seem frighteningly real!

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  • WW3 (AKA Winds of Terror)

    WW3 In the USA, people start dropping dead of a mysterious plague. Vanessa Williams takes charge of the investigation.

    Meanwhile, FBI Boss Terry O'Quinn [ Millennium, Lost ] sends Timothy Hutton to collect his uncle, Bio-weapons expert Lane Smith [ V, Lois & Clark ]. By incredible coincidence, Hutton's wife is a doctor who deals with a lot of the plague victims.

    The villains are purported to be Al Quaeda terrorists. In a sick irony, this was aired on US TV in summer of 2001, a couple of months before 9/11. Not to mention the Anthrax scare that came after it.

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  • Meet The Applegates

    Meet The Applegates Humans pillage the South American rainforest, home to a race of human-sized insects. A family of the insects [including Ed Begly Jnr and Stockard Channing ] disguise themselves as humans and move to smalltown USA.

    Unfortunately this apparently middle-class family is corrupted by the influences of suburban life.

    The film's environmentalist message was common when it was released, in 1991. Unfortunately it only took 15 years for the politicians to make the right decisions!

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  • The Blob (1958)

    The Blob This is one of a slew of 1950s B-Movies about aliens invading small-town midwest USA. What sets it apart is the fact that the star is a very young Steve McQueen [The Great Escape].

    A gelatinous alien blob starts eating the townsfolk. Steve and his girlfriend must stop it before it picks everyone off.

  • The Blob (remake)
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  • Thing From Another World, The

    Thing From Another World, The This is an atmospheric 1950s black and white effort, not blatantly political (i.e. either anti-commie or anti-McCarthy), though the conventions of the genre (alien invader, mad scientist) may be interpreted that way.

    USAF Arctic weather station scientists discover a UFO - a flying saucer embedded in the ice. The occupant is accidentally defrosted ad goes on the rampage. It's not a shape-shifter, it is a lot more simplistic; instead of a mass of prosthetics the monster is a very tall man (Gunsmoke actor James Arness) in a suit as a bipedal plant that drains blood from its victims.

    The scientists, poor deluded fools, try to communicate with it. The military (of course) know better, and try to destroy it before it can escape and depopulate the world. The heroic USAF boys (and token woman, who is intellectual but doesn't do any fighting) must save the world.

    Watch the skies!

    This inspired John Carpenter 's amazing 1982 remake.

  • The Thing (1982)
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  • The Thing (2012)

    The Thing (2012) This is a period piece, set in 1982 - a prequel to the John Carpenter Masterpiece. The premise is simple: scientists at the South Pole discover a shape-shifting alien, and it kills them off one by one.

    The cast are mainly unknowns - they play Norwegians, and are presumably the genuine article. They are joined by lady scientist Mary Elizabeth Winstead , a scream queen from slasher flicks like Black Christmas , as the heroine. This invokes the Last Girl trope, an element of the Dead Teenager movies that Carpenter deliberately avoided. In all fairness, this does raise the question - could Jamie Lee Curtis have replaced Kurt Russell in Carpenter's film?

    This film apes the 1982 one in structure, copying it on a scene-by-scene basis. It attempts suspense, but there is far too much CGI. We see the monster far more than we ought to!

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  • The Thing (1982)

    The Thing (1982) The first week of winter at the South Pole, and the US science station is cut off by bad weather. A dog wanders into camp, chased by two crazy gun-toting Norwegians. The Norwegians don't last long, and the dog is allowed into the camp ...

    It turns out that the dog isn't what it seems to be. The camp has been infiltrated by a shapeshifting monster! Chopper pilot Macready [Kurt Russell - Escape from NY ] tries to save the day.

    John Carpenter delivers a magnificently tense and visually OTT effort. This is more than just a remake of the 1950s effort - SO MUCH more!

  • The Thing From Outer Space
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