Waiting for the Ball to Drop – Earth’s Final Hours Reviewed

11 Jan
Hourglass Earth

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Earth's final hours...

When a small chunk of dense matter is about to smack into the Earth, it’s best to not try and block it with your back. That’s the main lesson I came away with after watching SyFy’s latest disaster flick, Earth’s Final Hours.

The latest entry into the “Oh my God, we’re all about to die!” genre starts off with a small piece of dense stellar matter smashing through the Earth (and through a very, very unlucky scientist).

Two FBI agents (X-files, anyone?) are on hand to witness this live-action adaptation of “The Human Donut”, though only one figures prominently in the film. Robert Knepper plays John Streich (pronounced strike, a very b-movie action-film name), a recently transferred FBI agent with a felonious hacker teenage son. Side note: is there some requirement now that all disaster movies need the misunderstood teenager? They seem to exist solely to either get in danger (and artificially ratchet up the tension) or to go from belligerent hindrance to vital cog in the solution during the climax (and artificially ratchet down the difficulty). This time it’s the latter, which could be worse – at least he doesn’t spend half the movie being chased by a cougar.

This wasn’t the 24 clip I was looking for, but it’s pretty damn funny. Plus, it does have a cougar…

It isn’t long before scientists figure out what’s going on – the Earth’s rotation has stopped. Only a tiny sliver of land will be habitable after a few days, though even that won’t last long with the Earth’s magnetic shield dropping fast.

An institutionalized scientist holds the key to mankind’s survival, along with the device he helped build years earlier. But can it save the Earth, or just that slice of land the government wants to protect? A mad scramble begins between the good guys (Streich, a plucky FBI scientist he picks up on the way, and the son +1) and the bad guys (Homeland Security) to find out what the scientist knows and where the device is now.

I liked this movie more than I thought I would. The exposition scene where they realize what is happening was actually well done, switching between two conversations and upping the tension. And I love that the government attempts to hack into an old computer were thwarted by a floppy drive. Even the climax was nice and tense, which doesn’t always happen in this type of film.

Visual effects were pretty good for the budget, which probably has a lot to do with only having to create fire and plasma effects instead of cheesy creatures.

You never know what you’re going to get with these Saturday night SyFy movies. For every Ice Twisters, there’s a Rock Monster. Fortunately, this one falls into the first category. Or through it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I feel this sudden urge to find a Krispy Kreme…

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