Anchor Bay // 2011 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 4th, 2012
Ice Quake is the fraternal twin of Megafault, another terrible made-for-TV movie about earthquakes. But where that film had E.R.'s Eriq La Salle, a veritable cordwainer of silky-smooth acting, this production has...Santa Claus riding a snowmobile.
Is Ice Quake repugnant? Indubitably! But before I sabotage your brain cells any further with my frigid critical reaction to this gelatinous mess of a film, let's take a moment to look back on a random good memory and hang onto that. "Remember the Jamaican bobsled team from Cool Runnings? Those funny guys were adorable!"
Now back to the pain. In a transparent pecuniary gambit, Syfy threw together this PG-rated, Christmas-themed disaster movie about a spunky military geologist (?) who scrambles to save the entire world from getting blown up by a gigantic methane gas pocket. That's right: we're all going to die from Earth flatulence.
Actually, as moronic as this sounds, the whole "Fart Eschatology" is pretty much the only entertaining thing at work here. Part of me wanted to see the methane go off, if only so we can see the sequel set in a dystopian future where the remnants of foul-smelling humanity struggle to survive through rudimentary agrarianism and sporadic coprophagy.
Alas, the good guys win and defeat the Ice Quake, saving the contiguous United States from obliteration, while subjecting you and me to an experience as uncomfortable as an hour-long Bowflex workout. I would have been happy with a milquetoast effort, but this is worse than bland.
The typical problems with these low-budget disaster actioners plague Ice Quake: terrible visual effects, weightless characters, and a nonsensical solution to the problem (Hint: it involves large-scale explosives, which doesn't make a huge amount of sense considering the flammable nature of methane gas).
These familiar flaws are augmented more than usual, as the effects are rougher (neither the quake, the ice shards the quakes belt out, nor the culminating explosions are remotely believable), the characters stiffer, and the big finale utterly confusing (when faced with the prospect of the planet getting incinerated, the military geologist brass figure there's not enough time for an airstrike, but plenty of time to set a complicated array of explosives on top of a mountain).
If you intend to support Anchor Bay and the British Columbia filmmaking industry with your hard-earned cheddar, at least the Blu-ray will look and sound nice. The high definition 1.78:1/1080p widescreen transfer is clean (really protecting the whiteness of the snow with startling clarity!) and the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix pounds out the ice quake soundscape effectively. One extras: a brief making-of featurette.
Ice Quake is the home entertainment equivalent of having deviant spousal relations with Chewbacca.
Guilty. A complete snow job.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated PG