Category 7 – The End is Really Nigh! week

Category 7: The End of the World, a sequel to Category 6: Day of Destruction, is also currently available on instant Netflix.

One-Line Review: A sequel that ups the ante in special effects, hires a few more guest stars, and gets an even sillier script.

Category 7: The End of the World (2005) – Rated TV-PG

“In this gripping follow-up to the made-for-television movie Category 6: Day of Destruction, Gina Gershon stars as beleaguered FEMA director Judith Carr, whose worst nightmares play out when severe “superstorms” envelop the planet. Millions of people need her organization’s help, and she’s assisted by outcast scientist Faith (Shannen Doherty) and storm chaser Tommy (Randy Quaid) in trying to learn how and why the destruction is happening.”

“Now that look tells me you think I just chucked a great opportunity to get heard, get funding, stop being the weatherman in the iron mask.”

“It’s worse than Chicago!”

How do you top the two-hour destruction of Chicago from Category 6? How about destroying Paris in the first three minutes? Apparently Category 6 did so well that not only was Category 7 greenlit but the effects budget was upped and there are a lot more ‘stars’ here.

Destruction here visits, to varying degrees, Paris, The Mall of the Americas (reused footage from Category 6 – common in this miniseries), Mount Rushmore, the Pyramids at Khufu, Miami, Hong Kong, and, as usual, New York. We also get the biblical plagues of frogs and flies.

Brian Dennehy was apparently no longer available to sit in his chair so our wise yet embattled leader is newly appointed FEMA Director Judith Carr, played by an earnest Gina Gershon. Brigid (Lindy Booth of Cry Wolf and Dawn of the Dead) is the stereotypical intrepid under-appreciated reporter.

Randy Quaid is the only member of the original cast to return, which doesn’t make sense on more than one level. His storm-chasing Tornado Tommy somehow gets an upgrade here. Also even though he is in a body cast, traction and separate casts for each limb, he just removes all of those when the call of duty comes in. He still has a neck brace that he loses the first chance he gets and is apparently none the worse for wear. He also takes the time to chide a trailer resident who won’t take shelter from a twister when he took a joyride in one in category 6.

James Brolin and Swoosie Kurtz play Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker clones Donny and Penny Hall. Nicholas (Alex Krycek of The X-Files) Lea plays Monty, a loyal follower of the Halls. Kenneth Welsh, who played Vice President Becker in the previous year’s The Day After Tomorrow, gets downgraded here to Chief of Staff Alan Horst (although his character serves essentially the same purpose). We also get appearances from Robert Wagner, Shannon Doherty and Tom Skerritt.

Tom Skerritt plays Colonel Mike Davis, a government weather pilot. Now obviously with a problem of this magnitude, you don’t want a namby-pamby weather plane. Colonel Davis gets an SR-71 that he performs some incredible maneuvers with – not great, simply not credible! Not only that but they are maneuvers, heck almost an entire scene, lifted from X-Men.

The one thing I really don’t understand is why they can’t get the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale right. It would seem to be Ecological Disaster 101 and would cost them nothing. That and the chief scientist constantly mispronouncing the word Mesosphere were the most irritating things in the series.

Sadly this was filmed fairly early in 2005 and released in November 2005. I say sadly because between those two points Hurricane Katrina hit. The government here is just about as effective though FEMA is considerably more effective on television. As with Category 6, we are also saddled with a number of irrelevant subplots to put the teenaged children in danger.