09 July 2009

It's the End of the World as We Know It (Except Not Really)

Love me, love my vices: I am an unabashed disaster movie fanatic. All I ask for is a good, old-fashioned natural disaster -- be it a new Ice Age, a dying Earth's core, a no-longer-dormant volcano awakening under the streets of L.A. -- some decent special effects, and possibly a tidal wave, and I am one happy camper.

So imagine my delight when, three weeks ago, I saw a preview for Impact, a (good, old-fashioned) TV miniseries about an asteroid that hits the moon and sends it not only out of its orbit but headed towards Earth! Appointment TV! I curled up with Q on the Sunday of Impact's premiere and watched a fairly expendable cast of characters deal with the possible end of humanity!

(Except not really, because does the world ever really end in movies like this? I mean, someone always comes up with a brilliant plan that involves sending people into space and ends with a room full of cheering scientists and civilians, brought together by circumstances but now forever bonded -- like a microcosm of the world! -- by the close call.)

But Impact was fantastic. By which I mean fantastically bad. I'm really not sure what I liked best about it:
  1. The "romance" between Alex and Maddie, which never went further than a kind of forced hug.
  2. The crotchety old grandfather, as played by James Cromwell, who hits a guy (who is, admittedly, threatening Cromwell's grandchildren) with a cane and then promptly drops from a heart attack brought on by the exertion of -- smacking a guy with a cane?
  3. That once Crotchety Grandpa dies from said heart attack, his grandkids catch a ride to D.C. with the guy who was previously menacing them. They get into a car with a stranger who then gives them candy.
  4. The fact that, in part two of the miniseries, Natasha Henstridge's role is reduced to reaction shots in which she basically stands with her mouth open. Seriously. That's what she does for two hours.

But I think my favorite part was this dialogue at the end of part one:

President of the United States: So... what
happens if the moon hits Earth?

Maddie: Um, there won't be an

Oh, Mr. President. Obviously you will not be the one developing the magical electromagnetic plan to get the brown drawf out of the moon's core and set the moon back in its regular orbit (or send it out into space? In two pieces? Or put its two pieces in a new, not-dangerous orbit around Earth? I don't know; there were a number of plot points I was not clear about at the end).

Anyway, the other day I discovered that NBC is doing a miniseries starting this Sunday called Meteor, which is about -- wait for it -- a meteor! Which is three times the size of Mount Everest and heading straight for Earth! I can't imagine what the characters will do to stop it, but I'm thinking it might involve astronauts...

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