If you read my last science fiction movie review, you might be surprised to see another science fiction movie featured on my blog. However, if you know about my loyalty to the actor Sebastian Spence, this shouldn’t stun you. For the record, he is the initial reason I agreed to watch this film (do note that I said initial–keep reading). A friend of mine raved about this film, and I determined that I was compelled to see it for myself. And I wasted no time.
On first glance, you may notice that Sebastian Spence’s name is not mentioned on the DVD case or as one of the main stars of this film. True, his part is relatively small. Nevertheless, as you will discover, dear reader, his part is essential, especially to the nail-biting conclusion. I honestly was not sure what to expect of this film, but the decision to watch it was already made. I mean, after all, it starred my favorite actor, so…
Permit me to say from the outset that I am not a science fiction fan. Very few movies or books from that genre ever resonate with me. All too often, I am not impressed with the acting, the special effects, nor the story. I have even been known to make fun of science fiction films. I typically cannot take them seriously.
Notwithstanding, from the inaugural scene of this film, I was captivated! The acting was sensational as were the special effects. I found myself awestruck and completely immersed in everything about this film. It was clear that this was a cut above the typical science fiction television movie. I settled in for what I was confident would be a mind-blowing action film even though it was in my least favorite genre. I no longer cared about any of my preconceived notions.
Dear reader, you may be amazed that I would recommend this film even it were not starring my favorite actor, but I certainly would. I call Sebastian a “bonus” in this film, for there are so many notable performances throughout as well as thought-provoking story lines.
Gina Gershon plays the newly appointed head of FEMA (Judith Carr) and also the sister to Sebastian Spence’s character (Gavin Carr). I was not familiar with her work prior to this film. She was the perfect foil to Sebastian’s character as well as the leader who put everyone else’s welfare above her own.
Add in Robert Wagner as their father (Senator Carr), and you have quite a trio of characters. I never doubted any of their interactions. Of course, Robert Wagner is always the consummate actor and this movie was no different. Although an unlikely group of personalities, as a somewhat dysfunctional family who ultimately have to work together, it made for an entertaining and sometimes lighter portion of the story.
There is one segment of the film that was quite fascinating to me. With this being an “end of the world” film, the spiritual significance did not escape my notice. Although I am a committed Christian, I am never offended when film and television make fun of the hypocrisy of those who call themselves Christians. And I was particularly drawn to Donny and Penny Hall (played by James Brolin and Swoosie Kurtz, magnificently, I might add). If anyone knows me well, it should not astound them to discover that I loathe hypocrisy, and these two are the epitome of that. From the reenactment of the plagues in Egypt to playing upon people’s emotions by declaring the end of the world was near so people should give all their money to this ministry, it was disgustingly entertaining. As a side note, all of the people connected with this “ministry” got exactly what they deserved–indeed poetic justice.
Before I move onto my initial reason for watching this film, let me mention one other actress–Lindy Booth (Brigid). I know for a fact I’ve seen her in other films–I looked up her previous work, and while familiar, I can’t mentally place her. (Update: Thanks to my kind friends, yes, I know she was A Christmas Wish on Hallmark–thanks!) I was immensely impressed with her work in this film. And to be honest, I found the interactions between hers and Sebastian’s respective characters absolutely adorable. In fact…
I didn’t even mind the bedroom scene (and if you know my views on such things, dear reader, you would find this non sequitur). Although there were intense scenes between the two of them, they did add a sweet aspect to the story. And their characters had dynamic chemistry. And in those forceful, aforementioned scenes, she was utterly brilliant and creditable.
Finally, we come to Sebastian’s role. I was very pleased to see him playing the nice guy. Don’t get me wrong–I love his versatility as I have mentioned before, but once in a while, I still welcome seeing him playing one of the good guys. He still gets a tremendous chance to act. Oh, indeed. Whenever there appears to be some kind of emergency, his character is always there, cool as a cucumber and very ready to save anyone who needs his help. And when I say emergency, there is everything from poison frogs to the deadliest storms on record.
During the first part of this mini series, his part is small but memorable. Thankfully, the second part was yet to come.As disaster is imminent, he gets some fantastic footage in an SUV in the midst of the blinding rain and winds. (I found myself smiling in spite of the gravity of the scene. How was it that all the other cars on the road had windows blown out and his character’s car was still all in one piece? The magic of the movies!) He bravely persevered in spite of the odds against him. Oh, yes, I do love him in those spine-tingling, action-packed scenes. I don’t think my eyes were ever off the screen during part two of this film, and his character had plenty to do with that. His gallant, valiant behavior was authentic to the core. Yet again, Sebastian has done a remarkable job of thrusting himself entirely into the role. I never questioned for a moment that this was not reality (oh, except for the above-mentioned scene’s fleeting thought). Indeed, this is the finest Sebastian Spence science fiction film I have seen (only my second one though).
For the more sensitive readers, I am happy to report there is only violence, no blood and gore. My daughter is eleven, and I’ve already told her this is one she would probably enjoy. The profanity is very brief and almost unnoticeable. And there is only the one innocuous bedroom scene I already indicated.
In conclusion, there is one other thing I would like to say. Upon the movie’s conclusion, I actually said aloud (yes, I do have a habit of talking to myself), “All science fiction films should be like this one.” While I will not admit yet to being a science fiction film aficionado, I have found that I am much more open to viewing them. One thing of which I can never be accused is having a closed mind. At least on most things.
Oh, and one additional note. Something told me that this film was one Sebastian enjoyed filming. I am pleased to report that I was right.
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