2012: Ice Age (2011)

2012 Ice Age

Directed by: Travis Fort
Starring: Patrick Labyorteaux, Julie McCullough, Nick Afanasiev, Katie Wilson

You have to admire The Asylum for their unwavering dedication to cinematic trash. They are truly an exploitation studio for the new millennium. While their films usually are short on most qualities that we usually demand from good movies, The Asylum are cheerily upfront about it. Can’t not love that attitude.

Their latest disaster “epic” is, to get straight to the point, hilarious. I frequently had a big smile on my face as I watched it. Make no mistake, it is still utter crap – but it is so ridiculous that it’s kind of impossible (at least for me) not to like it.

2012: Ice Age is basically The Day After Tomorrow on a shoestring budget. The concept is admirably absurd: volcanic eruptions on Iceland cause a gigantic glacier to come unstuck and throw itself down the American east coast at a roaring 200 miles per hour (!), crushing everything in its path. You might wonder how Iceland can spawn a glacier considerably larger than the island itself, or how the glacier can zoom at blinding speed across 1600 miles of open sea without ever slowing down, but to ponder such minor details is, of course, pointless. Suffice it to say that this one makes The Day After Tomorrow seem pretty realistic.

Scientist Bill Hart is dropping his daughter off at the airport while at the same time communicating with an associate on location in Iceland. As the glacier heads for the United States, Bill grabs his wife and teenage son and heads for New York in order to rescue the daughter. Their perilous journey — dodging huge chunks of flying ice blown off the glacier, fighting their way past massive highway queues and through incessant digital snow, even dealing with a gun-wielding hitchhiker — is intercut with brief glimpses of the military’s efforts to stop the glacier by throwing various forms of explosives at it.

The silly screenplay is nicely complemented by the sometimes confusing editing style, which occasionally makes it a bit difficult to understand what’s going on, or how one shot relates to the next. For instance: a sequence where the glacier hits Newfoundland is preceded by a few shots of what certainly looks a lot like an alpine village. Are there alps on the Eastern seaboard? Does Canada look like Switzerland? Am I just ignorant? In another sequence, we get a wide shot of an emergency shelter populated by Japanese people in breathing masks, but as our heroes enter the Japanese are gone and the shelter is filled with mostly Caucasians — and not a breathing mask in sight. Also, the choice to shoot some action scenes in close-up doesn’t really add to the clarity of the proceedings. As for VFX, they’re standard Asylum quality.

Lead man Labyorteaux frequently appears lost in thought (perhaps wondering how he ended up here). Julie McCullough starts out doing some frantic comedy-style acting before settling down in a role that more or less consists of tagging along. Afanasiev as the son gets several opportunities to show off his best pantomime “OMG, look at that”-face.

I’m not sure if the filmmakers are actively making fun of the Roland Emmerich school of disaster movies, or if the hilarity is just a side-effect of the cheap’n’quick, who-gives-a-crap production style. Whatever the answer, the result is weirdly entertaining in a way that practically defines the concept of “So bad it’s good”.

As for other Asylum disasters, I found Megafault a bit boring, and 2012: Supernova slightly more entertaining. 2012: Ice Age kicks both of their asses. This is a treat for bad film connoisseurs everywhere.

Rating: ?!/5 (Craptastic)

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