You know a film is kind
of bottom of the barrel when it's lead star is some dude from Dr. Quinn
Medicine Woman. You figure that if Joe Lando had done anything worth
mentioning in the 17 years since that series went off the air, they would
not have to use that old title as his "you-know-him-from" credit. Of
course, compared to his co-stars, Dr. Quinn is a huge credit – the
other leads come from the likes of The Young & the Restless, General
Hospital and a supporting actor from The Shawshank Redemption.
So right away, you know
that this post-apocalyptic thriller is not exactly going to be blockbuster.
However, not all films are necessarily going to have a star-studded
mega-cast. Earthfall is lean and mean b-filmmaking, not exactly
good, but with a certain amount of attitude to match its miniscule budget.
Actually, comparatively the special effects aren't all that bad, though
there is a rather limited use of them.
Earthfall of shows
you what a Roland (2012, The Day After) Emmerich film would look like
if he had a budget of about $20,000 and a cast of about 10.
The story is pretty
simple, or one might say simplistic. The earth has been caught in a huge
meteor shower – much like the one that killed all the dinosaurs – been
knocked on its side (north and south are now east and west) and been pulled
out of orbit in the solar system. This causes massive meteors coming down
on Earth, as well as lots of oddball weather explosions.
The main characters of
the film are pretty much one family. Steve (Lando) is an author who is
having trouble finishing his latest book – little does he know how
unimportant that manuscript is soon to become.
His wife Nancy (Stafford)
is a scientist is away working at some weird covert NASA kind of agency.
She was apparently so far away that she couldn't come home for Thanksgiving,
but so close by that she can drive home in a matter of hours after the
Daughter Rachel (Tontz)
is going to an outdoor rock festival with some friends (though there seem to
be no other festival goers anywhere nearby.)
When the end comes, Steve
is determined that despite the odds he has to find both his wife and
daughter. It seems like a handful of people have survived this apocalypse,
but hey, his wife and daughter are the only people on Earth that matter to
He and a friend who also
survived named Tony (Degruttola) get into Tony's van and hit the road in
search of Steve's family. Tony is mostly there for comic relief – the dude
is kind of drug-addled, but honestly Steve is a real dick to him,
particularly since he is the one friend Steve has who is still alive.
They drive through a
surprisingly serene wasteland – they only see one dead body and while there
is lots of damage, none of it seems "end of the world" serious. In fact,
they mostly just seem to be in the deserts. They survive a whole set of
slightly less than fascinating adventures, including aftershocks, roving
killers and of course a big government conspiracy.
In the meantime, the wife
and daughter are also some of the handful of survivors and as irrationally
sure that their family are the only survivors.
Earthfall is a
pretty bad film, but for what it is it could have been even worse.
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