When a natural disaster is about to strike the world, John Garrity must do all he can for his wife Allison and seven year old son Nathan. Especially after they were pre-selected for emergency sheltering.
John and Allison had been estranged and this was something that we would learn a little bit more about as the film goes on, but we can instantly tell that they are not fully happy right now. John takes Nathan shopping with him and as they are in the shop he receives a strange message to his phone followed by an automated voice call saying that he and his family had been selected for the emergency sheltering, this was also played to the TV in their home but Allison using a hairdryer did not hear or see it.
They had planned on watching Clarke the interstellar comet as it was going to pass near the earth, although with that strange phone call was it just going to be near? They were in Atlanta, Georgia and when the first fragment doesn’t land near Bermuda but hits Florida instead! Then that automated call happens again instructing them to head to Warner Robins Air Force Base to get on an evacuation flight. Not a good time to have your neighbours round when they did not receive any messages like this, which creates our first truly dramatic scene! A begging neighbour asking them to take her daughter with them, which would have been pointless anyway right as she would have been left alone at the airbase anyway.
I thought this was a truly fantastic start, having planes from airbases heading to a mystery location as part of evacuating people. They were carefully selected depending on the trade they worked within so this was something that surely had been put in place for a long time incase of any extinction level event. That is what Clarke suddenly turned into and was a giant cluster of objects that would bomb the Earth over the next two days. I was immediately invested and quite frankly was excited as to what the evacuation plan would look like and the bunkers that had been set up.
It was not to be so plain sailing for the Garrity family though as young Nathan decided to swap his blanket into the bag for his insulin being diabetic. This causes John to return to the car to get it, past the people at the gate as that is happening Allison reveals their son is diabetic and that actually means he cannot go on the plane. Each person was supposed to be checked and not permitted to travel with any illness. This sees the family separated and John even ends up on a plane until he finds out that Nathan would have been rejected.
This is the start of the family being ripped apart and it creates such a truly tense atmosphere. Upon rejection Allison decides the best thing to do would be to travel to Lexington, Kentucky where her father lives. Although that was something else that wasn’t going to be easy and I am now going to mention one scene that really annoyed me, the car scene! You know where the kid was truly thick and didn’t just jump out of the car and run from the crazy man.
Anyway that was my only real gripe with the film as I thought it was a truly great disaster film, really building and adding to what we already have within this sub-genre. It has a lot of heart and raises many different issues really managing to highlight the different ways people would act when facing the end of the world. That was what I really enjoyed about it, different characters the family came across were only doing what they thought could keep them alive. That last ditched attempt to survive and I felt as though that was a very good aspect of this film.
The emotional values were very good as well with Nathan at one point asking if its true that your life flashes across your eyes when you are about to die. I thought that was interesting and thought the ending was going to be linked to that as the black screen lasts for quite a while. But that was not to be the case, either way if that had been the ending instead of the actual ending I would have more than happy either way. The actual ending is very good as well, everything highlighted in the film makes you wonder just how you would react if ever faced with this situation.
Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin made a pretty good team in the film and both carried the characters in the best possible manner. Butler having to fight for survival and ending up doing things he never thought were possible. Baccarin showing that a mothers love and desire to get to her son really can work and pay off. Roger Dale Floyd was very impressive as well considering his very young age. Scott Glenn was a nice little more cameo than supporting role really as well as Holt McCallany.
Easily one of the best disaster movies that we have had released (so far).