Meteor Apocalypse DVD Review
Written and Directed by Micho Rutare
2010, Region 1 (NTSC), 88 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on February 23rd, 2010
Joe Lando as David Dematti
Cooper Harris as Lynn Leigh
Claudia Christian as Kate
Sueann Han as Candace
Cecile Johnson (Celestial) as Pastor King
When an oversized chunk of rock floats through space on a collision course with the planet Earth, the President of the United States approves the use of nuclear weapons in an attempt to save the planet. The nukes destroy most of the rock, but the strike creates a massive shower of meteorites that begin assaulting California and Nevada.
David Dematti (Joe Lando) is a Nevada-based research scientist whose life is thrust into chaos as he responds to an urgent late night call to return to the lab. Upon arrival he finds a fellow technician on the floor, apparently dying from drinking tap water, now contaminated by the space debris. The remaining security staff runs away as the building is destroyed by falling meteorites. David returns home in time to see his wife (Claudia Christian) and daughter placed in a government truck during an evacuation of his neighborhood.
While Las Vegas is destroyed by heavenly wrath, David is on a path to reunite with his family. His first stop is at a market to get more bottled water, but instead he finds an unconscious woman in the parking lot. He manages to revive her with a shot from a medical bag he carried from his lab. Her name is Lynn (Cooper Harris) and she joins him on his quest to find survivors of the occasional meteor showers.
The government is trying to contain panic levels until a solution can be found, and is ordering Top Secret security measures that run counter to the safety of many of the people already detained in shelters. A fed named Candace (Sueann Han) secretly leaks information to those on the outside in an attempt to save lives before a second round of soace junk annihilates Los Angeles.
David and Lynn survive various obstacles including an action sequence involving rogue FBI agents and ATV bikers in a high speed gun fight over a truck load of bottled water. Sure, the tap water is contaminated, but the leap into Mad Max territory is a bit premature after only a single day of apocalypse. Our heroes must contend with rioting crowds, abandoned labs and destroyed refugee camps before making their way to the relative safety under a bridge.
Meteor Apocalypse is billed as “A Christian Apocalyptic Thriller” and even features a Bible quote on the front cover. References to religion are kept to a minimum for the first hour, but the film switches gears at exactly the 60-minute mark as we meet Pastor King (Cecile Johnson, aka Celestial). She discovers our heroes while distributing a shopping cart filled with bottled water to the needy, and invites them back to her church sanctuary.
Pastor King delivers some Biblical wisdom in a proverb and smiles a lot, but the character feels hollow and exists only to satisfy a script note from a religious investor. The church sequence plays out long enough for David to learn a lesson and then the place is evacuated just in time for a meteorite to destroy the building.
Meteorites occasionally show up long enough to blast a generic environment or push our heroes from one location to the next. The finale is set within the charred remains of a burned-out forest, but the story lumbers to the finish line without a genuine resolution. David may finally be reunited with his family, but the meteorites are still approaching.
Joe Lando (Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman) is serviceable as our Everyman hero, David, but the character is too bland to resonate. Claudia Christian (Hexed) receives top billing for what amounts to less than ten minutes of screen time devoted to a character that is peripheral at best. It is nice to see her again as she continues to make the most of supporting characters (memorably as Mrs. Haverchuck on TV’s Freaks & Geeks), but she is not given much to do here except look either happy or scared.
Cooper Harris (Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus) shines as Lynn Leigh, the real star of the film. She is instantly likeable, sympathetic and convincing as a woman saddled with a dull companion on a horrible road trip. Harris is starting to make a name for herself at The Asylum, and will next appear in the eagerly anticipated Mega-Piranha.
Micho Rutare fills the director’s chair this time around, but brings nothing fresh to the genre. He succeeds at having co-written a script (with Brian Brinkman) filled with action and suspense only to deliver an instantly forgettable movie that feels like somebody is simply going through the motions in order to move onto the next directing gig.
Meteor Apocalypse is the latest cookie-cutter title rushed through production to pad the growing catalog of end-of-the-world-epics-on-a-dime that are filling store shelves. The entire production feels opportunistic in that the central plot is recycled from countless other Asylum fare (2012, Supernova, Megafault, etc.) and religion is shoehorned in to appeal to a broader audience. The mash-up results in mixed messages regarding faith and annihilation, but squanders any sincerity by relying on stale gimmicks and threadbare plot lines. With any luck, The Asylum will retire the disaster sub-genre for a couple of months and focus of monsters and mockbusters.
Video and Audio:
The Asylum delivers another solid 1:78 anamorphic transfer that is respectable in the presentation of black levels and the muted color palette. There are no compression issues or digital macro-blocking.
The 5.1 surround mix is sufficient, but only comes alive during the apocalyptic sequences of mass destruction. A 2-channel stereo mix is also provided for those deprived of surrounds.
The Asylum continues the tradition of brevity in presentation with a short featurette cleverly titled “Man vs. Meteor: The Making of Meteor Apocalypse” which presents 7 minutes of talking head interviews with members of the cast and crew and a look at the daily production.
Following this is a short gag reel, offered for the sake of flubbed lines and assorted low-budget shenanigans.
Trailers for this and other Asylum titles round out the special features.
The film received the Dove seal of approval which makes for an interesting read regarding the Dove Worldview and content description.
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