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Solar Attack (2005)

by on 2013/01/06

Solar Attack (2005)

“Wait a minute. Are you serious? You’re asking me to nuke the North Pole?”

* * *

Perhaps oddly enough, I find I have little to say about Solar Attack. If you check the cover, you could likely predict your own level of enjoyment.

No seriously, look at it. Just a glance over to the right – or up, depending on your device – and see for yourself. Tense guys, threatened by explosions from the sky.

A solar attack!

Okay I kid and yet, probably as oddly, I do have an interest in such things. I spent a year in university charting the path of sunspots. Every few months, the news runs those stories on solar flares, and the doomsay havoc they’ll wreak on post-industrial society. And EMPs (Electromagnetic Pulses) are another point of interest for me.

Which reminds me, you might need to brush up on abbreviations to enjoy this sci-tastic affair.

The CIC, President Ryan Gordon (Louis Gossett Jr.) is contacted by Lucas Foster (Mark Dacascos), a former employee of SNEL (the Solar and Near Earth Laboratory). Foster has spent 98 million dollars of his own personal fortune – damn those fat-cat scientists! – acquiring an MAV (Micro Air Vehicle) to measure greenhouse gas imbalances. He predicts unprecedented CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) activity will detonate excess methane in the atmosphere, leading to EMPs and an ELE (Extinction Level Event).

(Not since an early Justice League movie has the techno-babble flown so far, fast, and furious.)

Amid plummeting satellites, deadly aurorae, burning countries, civil unrest, and nuclear brinkmanship, Foster proposes the unthinkable, destroying the land of Santa Claus. Grudgingly supporting the eccentric playboy’s plan are Admiral Lawrence (Pontypool’s Stephen McHattie) and ex-wife Joanna (Warehouse 13’s Joanne Kelly).

Wikipedia compares the flick to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. For my part, I jotted down The Core and On the Beach, both claustrophobic vehicles involving apocalypse. A part of my mind was also thinking The Day After Tomorrow for its “kind-of sort-of inspired by science” conceits.

Fortunately I managed to avoid excessive critical thought, and enjoyed the ride for an hour and a half. Sure, I could nitpick — Russian officers speaking English, an odd preoccupation with both Albany and Buffalo, some creaky visual effects, and some outright broken performances — but on balance it’s mostly okay. If not awesome, at least solid. There are lots of plot complications, moments of genuine suspense, occasionally good acting, and immersive sound design.

It’s like a decent TV movie. Which is apropos, I suppose, because originally that’s exactly what it was.

* * *

Rated PG

91 minutes

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