2012: Ice Age (2011)
Starring Patrick Labyorteaux, Julie McCullough, Katie Wilson, Nick Afanasiev, Kyle Morris
Directed by Travis Fort
Imagine an outright parody of Roland Emmerich disaster epics in which a series of volcanic eruptions in Iceland cause a glacier 1,000 miles long and 1,000 miles wide to break off and begin speeding down the eastern seaboard of the United States bulldozing the state of Maine, the city of Boston, and every other land mass it crushes as its continues on a path towards New York City. Let me repeat: the glacier breaking off doesn't trigger a mega tsunami - the glacier IS the tsunami. And somehow this fast moving glacier also causes apocalyptic wintery weather to befall every location in its trajectory. As the military tries in vain to destroy the glacier with nuclear weapons and all manner of explosive bombardment, one fractured family from Maine attempts to outrun the steamrolling continental ice shelf in a desperate race to reach New York City by car, by foot, by plane, by foot again, and by car again, braving the frozen elements, insane hitchhikers, on-coming jumbo jets, and giant flying chunks of exploded glacier, in hopes of rescuing their neglected daughter (and her useless boyfriend) even though they aren't even sure they'll know where to find her once they get there.
Now imagine if it wasn’t a parody. Imagine if the cast never acted like they were in on the joke. Imagine if the filmmakers never treated the scenario as a joke. I say smart move because handling the material this way made it much funnier than if it had played intentionally for laughs.
If you're going to bs your way through a disaster flick with circumstances that no amount of scientific mumbo jumbo could ever possibly make sound even the slightest bit plausible, then you might as well go all-out and make it some primo bullshit. This movie is 24-karat bullshit. If there was a Richter scale for cinematic bullshit, The Asylum's 2012: Ice Age would break that needle. The scientist dad in this film has a computer program with an option for calculating theoretically impossible disaster scenarios. Writers Paul Sinor and Victoria Dadi, without question, must have this same feature as part of their screenwriting program. Bravo, gentlemen. As well you, director Travis Fort. I salute all of you for giving life to a cheap disaster flick so unapologetically ludicrous.
Patrick Labyorteaux is the dad. You may remember him from the show "J.A.G." and such academic comedies as Summer School, Ski School, and Ghoulies 3: Ghoulies Go to College. Playboy's Miss February 1986 Julie McCullough is the mom. She's probably more famous for getting fired from her stint as Kirk Cameron's girlfriend on "Growing Pains" after uber fundamentalist Cameron demanded her character be written out of the show because women that pose naked are sinners that deserve to burn in hell for all eternity and he can't risk his piety associating with such jezebels or something along those lines. The only thing that needs to be said of their acting or anyone else in the cast is that they all deserve Oscars for keeping a straight face throughout.
Remember The Day After Tomorrow? Remember how Dennis Quaid's character was so doggedly determined to get to ice age New York City to be with his son (presumably so they could die together since he sure as hell never gave any indication he had a rescue plan)? That's because families stick together in times of crisis. Remember how Quaid's colleagues did not hesitate to join him on what was ostensibly a suicide mission? That's because those two doomed men also understood and appreciated the importance of family in the midst of life's greatest turmoil even if it wasn’t their own. Just like how the military in b-movies understands that the solution to life's greatest turmoil is to nuke the ever-loving shit out of whatever is causing the turmoil.
The special effects... Oh, they're special alright. Laughable computer effects and even more laughable green screen work. Scene after scene after scene filled with obviously artificial snow. All of it as ambitious for its low budget as it is mesmerizing in its unabashed fakery. If you told me this was a Cine Excel production instead of something produced by The Asylum, I would not hesitate to believe you.
Luckily, the shortcomings of the f/x work cannot be considered a detriment when the action is staged in the most discombobulating way possible and edited in a manner that could make Michael Bay dizzy. Or, perhaps, my disorientation was merely a side effect of my cerebrum being overloaded by the double whammy of the stupefying imagery my eyes were absorbing and that part of my brain that likes to think making the grievous error of trying to make a lick of sense out all the various what, when, where, why, and hows of it all.
No joke; I frequently felt like I was in a daze for much of this movie. Was I unsure what was happening or was I confused because I had no clue why on God's green earth certain things were happening? How does a glacier move at 200 mph? How does a speeding glacier affect weather patterns? Why would anyone running around a major city amid full-scale evacuation chaos with sirens blasting and people screaming think repeatedly yelling the name "Julia" over and over is going to get the attention of the specific "Julia" they're looking for? When that doesn't work, they try firing a gun in the air while standing atop a fire escape continuing to yell her name.
But it does work. The unstoppable glacier does plow the East Coast of the United States at breakneck speed. The glacier does trigger arctic temperatures, blanketing snow, freezing winds, and even icy tornadoes. Absolute delirium.
A family slipping and sliding in their SUV as they drive across the frozen New York Harbor, barely dodging falling chunks of the glacier being blasted off by fighter plane missile bombardments, determinedly trying to reach the Statue of Liberty, inside of which they intend to take refuge from the advancing continental ice shelf because – beats me. Why they deem the observation deck of the Statue of Liberty suitable shelter as a monolithic land mass heads directly for it left me as perplexed as everything that preceded it.
I... I just don't know what else to say. Few films have left me as gleefully gobsmacked as this spectacle. I'm not even 100% positive I was even entertained by it so much as I was in sheer awe of it. The Asylum would be wise to never make another disaster movie again because I don't know how they could ever possibly top 2012: Ice Age.
Hold on. I think I have an idea for them. The rings of Saturn are knocked out of their orbit and begin speeding toward Earth, slicing every celestial body in their path like an intergalactic buzzsaw. That could work.
3 out of 5