It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like… Snowmageddon

15 Dec
Parody poster

This is not the poster for the movie, unfortunately.

It’s easy to run yourself ragged at this time of year braving the bustling crowds, dealing with difficult drivers, or just listening for the echoing sound of an empty bank account. At the end of the day, you just want to sit down, relax, and curl up with an entertaining movie in the spirit of the holiday. With this in mind I plopped down on my couch and watched Snowmageddon on the SyFy Channel. Disappointingly, it wasn’t about an overblown reaction to a couple of snow flurries.

But it was entertaining.

Now, when I say entertaining I need to make something clear. The movies we’ll be reviewing on this site will never be considered high art. If you want a thoughtful dissection of Black Swan, go somewhere else. There’s a different scale when looking at these movies. I personally look for a few different things out of them: Were they entertaining? Were they so bad they ended up being a good time (Megapiranha)? Did they not take themselves seriously (Ice Twisters)?

There are other things I look for, but you get my point. I’m not going to ding these movies for lacking proper structure or lambaste them because they lack some deep meaning. Are they a good time? Ultimately, that’s the key.

For Snowmageddon, the answer is yes — and no.

The movie is set in the town of Normal, Alaska. Note to towns everywhere — if you name yourself Normal, prepare for every weird disaster possible to befall you. Have these movies taught you nothing?

David Cubitt plays John, ostensibly the lead character and patriarch of the single most cloyingly nice family I’ve seen in a disaster flick. Seriously. It starts with them preparing to fly a batch of Christmas presents to neighboring needy families. Now, I’m a proponent of Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” formula — which states that movies need the main characters to do something early on (or have something done to them) that makes us want to root for them the rest of the movie. But you can go too far with the concept, and this one came really close. I had to keep fighting the urge to root for Snowmaggedon to win throughout the first act of the film.

The townsfolk are all getting ready for Christmas, including BSG’s Michael Hogan, who’s relationship to toasters has gone from frakking to fixing as the town tinkerer. All townsfolk but one, apparently — a lone pair of boots walks up to our perfect nuclear family’s door and leaves a present.

The family brings it inside and let’s their youngest child open it, because that’s what you do when strange boxes appear at your door. The young have to earn their keep somehow, though I don’t remember one of my childhood chores as being a potential bomb shield.

So what’s in the box? Money? Fruitcake? A severed head?

Nope. It’s a snow globe. Nice. I’d have shaken it immediately to see if Ed Begley Jr. would poke his head out of the tiny hospital inside, but that’s just me.

Of course, as soon as they give it to their young son, the evil inside the snow globe manifests. What happens in the snow globe happens in the town as well.

Evil snowglobe

Gaze into the face of pure, concentrated evil.

Typical disaster-in-a-small-town scenes follow in the second act. Things blow up. People die. Children find ways to put themselves in danger to create more tension. Pretty standard stuff, which drags on a little too long for my liking.

But then a weird thing happens.

To say the third act reminded me of the Lord of the Rings would be an understatement. “The Fellowship of the Snowglobe” might have worked as an alternate title, and as the snowglobe tumbled through the air at the end I kept hissing “my preciousss” over and over. It’s not completely the same, though. At least here they didn’t film several additional and completely unnecessary endings.

All in all, it ended up being not a bad way to wind down after a long day of Christmas shopping. It hit the right notes (or at least closer to the right notes than the guy at Fry’s earlier that day rocking out to Lady Gaga with the Rock Band setup). I liked the casting and, aside from the ever present overemotional teenage daughter bit, the acting. The plot was weird, but aside from never finding out who dropped off the damn package in the first place, it wasn’t so bad — for this type of movie.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work on the script I thought this movie was going to be…

Snowpocalypse: 6 Inches of Destruction

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