Category 6 – The End is Nigh! Week

I am a complete sucker for disaster movies. I grew up during their heyday in the 70s and my mom took me to many of them (Airport 75, Airport 77, The Towering Inferno, etc.). The genre pretty much died until CGI revived it recently and raised the ante.

One-Line Review: Umm, it’s better than Category 7.

The television miniseries Category 6: Day of Destruction is currently available on instant Netflix.

Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004) – Rated TV-PG

“In this miniseries, meteorologist Andy Goodman (Brian Dennehy) begins tracking a trio of nasty storms brewing in the United States. Meanwhile, Chicago is battling a record heat wave, but residents have no idea the worst storm in history is about to pummel them as the three weather systems collide over the area. This sets off a deadly chain of events leading to the national power grid’s collapse and potentially massive damage.”

 “No I should’ve listened to my gut.”

Well perhaps I should have listened to my gut as well. Category 6 is not good but is a passable few hours if you are desperate for disaster.

The special effects range from really awful to pretty decent for an eight-year-old made-for-TV miniseries. Strangely nature’s (or space aliens’) destruction of landmarks is highly enjoyable but mankind’s destruction of them is still horrifying (9/11 being the most obvious example). The miniseries uses a lot of stock footage to good effect but then they’ll throw in loopy stuff like hurricane footage from Florida complete with palm trees and tell you it’s in the midwest.

Performances are just okay. Since disaster movies typically feature well-known movie actors, this disaster miniseries throws in a number of TV and movie stalwarts.If you ever wonder what happened to Jo from The Facts of Life, Nancy McKeon stars here as a self-doubting reporter.

The lead male role goes to Thomas Gibson (Greg of Dharma & Greg) who shows almost no signs of life here. The miniseries’ big catch is Brian Dennehy as the wise weather know-it-all Andy Goodman. Sadly, while I like Dennehy, here he just sits in a chair and reads his lines. Check, please!

Also along for the ride on name recognition are Dianne Wiest as the most independent Secretary of Energy ever, Shirley Abbott and Randy Quaid as Tornado Tommy Dixon. I’, normally not a fan of Quaid but he seems to be the only actor with some energy in this miniseries. Yes Quaid is normally manic but given how snooze-inducing the rest of the cast is, manic works.

There are a huge number of errors in Category 6. From the aforementioned hurricane footage to an inability to understand how cellphones work, the gaffes are fast and furious. Chicago residents will be howling at Nancy Mckeon’s pronunciation of landmarks to Old Town precinct (not only is there no Old Town but they don’t use precincts) to Buckingham Fountain being identified as City Hall to Canadian storefronts. Apparently many of the locations didn’t get the notice that there was a blackout as signs are lit up.

The real gaffe award should go to the scriptwriter for writing major plotlines that have nothing to do with the approaching (ugh) perfect storm and rather lame dialogue for all concerned. Do people watching a miniseries entitled Category 6: Day of Destruction care about energy profiteers and a possible Chicago blackout? Can people keep track of the three converging fronts? No wait make that two – no wait it’s three – oops now two again? Did anyone read the script?

People Watch: Look for Dean Norris (Hank from Breaking Bad) and Glenn Morshower (Secret Service Agent Aaron Pierce on 24) in brief roles as 747 pilots.