Monday, May 03, 2004

Shake, rattle and roll

Tonight, the wife and I watched the comically-horrible 10.5, NBC's earthquake mini-mini series. Thanks to TiFaux, the 4-hour event cost us only 2.94 hours of our lives.

My words will fall well short of explaining just how awful this thing was. From the opening scene of a bike rider outracing a quake (and the falling Space Needle) in Seattle to the climactic bit in which the head of FEMA meets his fate down a blast shaft with a nuclear warhead atop him, reverse-Slim-Pickens style, 10.5 was a breathtaking piece of God-awful television.

I especially liked the little bits of bad television such as an aerial pull-away shot of San Francisco achieved by rolling the previous approach shot backwards (again, thank you TiFaux for letting me confirm this when I noticed a bus going backwards) or the news flash shown on the fake TV station declaring "Marshal Law" in L.A.

Then there's the central "save the world" idea hatched by the geologist (and amateur nuclear physicist) who figured that planting nuclear warheads down six of the aforementioned shafts would fuse together the faults, thus preventing the looming "big one". So they drill down 324 feet into California bedrock, drop nukes down the shafts and backfill with gravel. And we are to believe that, instead of creating the world's biggest shotgun (think about it) and leading to widespread nuclear destruction across the Pacific Northwest (the "satellite" image they showed of the blast indicated nuclear fireballs about three times the size of Portland), this move somehow helped the situation.

And in the end, with the FEMA director lying only 120 feet down the shaft with the warhead on top of him, the last nuke didn't totally seal off the Southern California faults, leading to the 10.5 quake that turned L.A. in to an island and moved the coast back to Barstow. And it was in Barstow where all the main characters just happened to end up at the evacuation camp, so the movie ends with the new coastline development stopping 18 inches from the feet of a hobbled geologist.

Everyone at the camp is a bit shaken after this, but they quickly put the loss of Lord knows how many lives and about 10% of California behind them as they gaze upon the beautiful new gulf.

Did I mention this movie cost the wife and I 2.94 hours of our lives?


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