Sunday, June 8, 2014

SyFy vs. The Mynd: Earth’s Final Hours (2011)

aka Armageddon 2012

Uh-oh! A rude white hole spits dense matter at the Earth, which goes right through the planet, destroys the magnetosphere and stops our favourite planet’s rotation. It looks very much as if it’s time for the end of the world again.

CIA agent John Streich (Robert Knepper) is on the scene when the matter strikes, and soon it’s up to him, scientist Chloe Edwards (Julia Benson), his hacker son Andy (Cameron Bright), and Andy’s best friend Michelle (Julia Maxwell) to save the world with a very secret scientific method developed by one Dr. Rothman (Bruce Davison).

Unfortunately, the actual world-saving method Rothman devised has never been tested or investigated much, because the CIA under Streich’s evil boss Lockman (Michael Kopsa) and his evil boss’s evil boss, the doubly evil Arnett (Roark Critchlow), a) wanted to use it as a weapon (of course) and b) preferred the simpler plan of only saving a small part of the world full of the Important People™. Consequently, Rothman has spent the last fifteen years in a secret CIA prison masked as a mental institution.

Streich and his friends are a “let’s save everyone” kind of gang, though, so soon they are not only involved in a race against time (and some mighty destructive solar storms) to save the world, but also against Lockman’s attempts to only save a very small part of it, and kill everyone getting in the way.

Here I thought I had by now seen all SyFy movies actually worth seeing, and then along comes W.D Hogan’s (him of the execrable Independence Daysaster and the excellent Behemoth) Earth’s Final Hours to prove me wrong. Of course (and do I even need to say this?) the plot is patently ridiculous, the science is preposterous, and the way the film’s world works has nothing whatsoever to do with any part of consensus reality, but then, that’s really not what anyone (except IMDB reviewers and other people with a desperate need to prove their superiority over innocent little films like this) looks for in this kind of film.

What we – or at the very least I – do look for in a SyFy disaster movie is the joy of witnessing yet another silly yet imaginative way of destroying the Earth, and the comfortable and even more silly way the given film will go about saving it. We generally also enter with a degree of hope concerning as much destruction as the budget will provide and perhaps even one or two fun performances.

Final Hours doesn’t disappoint here, for the way the world (doesn’t – spoiler!) ends here is indeed silly yet imaginative, gives reason to much movie science nonsense speak (pleasantly disconnected from any of your established scientific facts), the world is saved in an improbable, cheap yet awesome way that to my great surprise doesn’t involve exploding the white hole or Earth, and the little bit of destruction the sun storms wreak is very fun to look at.

As are Knepper’s, Kopsa’s and Davison’s performances, so the surprisingly well done action sequences Hogan provides are a bit of an overachievement (not that I’m complaining), as is the visual (and plot-logical) cleverness of having the whole thing take place in the brightest of sunlight. It’s quite impossible for me to argue with any of this, so Earth’s Final Hours gets my seal of approval.

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