10.5 – Honestly The End is Nigh! week

Is 10.5 a full half point above perfect? 10.5 is currently available on instant Netflix.

One-Line Review: Pretty much Category 6 for earthquakes – only for non-judgmental earthquake lovers.

10.5 (2004)

“A 7.9 magnitude earthquake devastates Seattle, Wash. — and as a follow-up, the 8.4 aftershock wreaks even more havoc, even swallowing a moving train, with potentially more devastating aftershocks to come. Dr. Samantha Hill (Kim Delaney), an expert on hidden fault lines, and the president of the United States (Beau Bridges) must work together and race against the clock to save millions of Americans in harm’s way.”

The director, John Lafia, uses a lot of split screen effects. Most of them are used for segues but they really don’t work. The phone call splits are only marginally more successful. By the time this was made, 24 had been on for several years and showed how split screen can be used to enhance tension.

I love that ‘Marshal Law’ gets declared – sounds like something out of Judge Dredd. There is also a hilarious sequence where an earthquake chases a train, collapsing the ground and tracks behind the train and only that area of ground – nothing right or left of it. This continues even after the train rounds a bend.

I love my father-in-law’s saying of “words have particular meanings”. I would like to add that numbers have particular meanings. The Category 6 and Category 7 miniseries consistently threw out inaccurate numbers, particularly when referencing wind speed. If you are going to make a nature-based disaster movie would it hurt to ask a professional to vet the script. 10.5 of course does the same thing for the Richter scale. 10.5 sounds great because we’ve never had one but the reality of a 10.5 would be far more massive.

Our leads are Kim Delaney as the seismologist who has a crazy theory and knows way more than anyone else and Fred Ward as a competent, ridiculously hands-on, pre-Katrina FEMA director. Also on board are John Schneider and Rebecca Jenkins as concerned parents and Beau Bridges as the President of the United States. Yes I know you’d rather see The Dude as President but he wasn’t available. Acting is competent and Kim Delaney is super serious.

I also got a kick that no matter where they were, the scientists always had their building/tent completely shook up by each earthquake. It got so bad that I half expected the scenes with the President of the United States to be portrayed in shaky-cam.

Having come to the last of the miniseries, I realize that the problem is that instead of feeling epic by virtue of having so much extra time to play with, they often seem padded in length with subplots that are irrelevant or at best tangential to the plot/disaster. 10.5 is no exception to this.

Sequel Alert: Even though instant Netflix has Category 6: Day of Destruction and Category 7: The End of the World, they only have 10.5. There is an even sillier sequel to 10.5, 10.5 Apocalypse that I wouldn’t be surprised to see show up on Netflix at some point. Kim Delaney and Beau Bridges reprise their roles.

People Watch: Bratty teen Amanda Williams is played by a young Kaley Cuoco, now enjoying fame as Penny on The Big Bang Theory. John Cassini, who plays Sean Morris in 10.5 and 10.5 Apocalypse, also played Jake Roth in Final Days of Planet Earth.