Bermuda Tentacles

Bermuda Tentacles is currently available on instant Netflix

Bermuda Tentacles

 

Bermuda Tentacles (2013) – Not rated

When Air Force One goes down over the Bermuda Triangle, the Navy sends its best rescue team. But in saving the President, the team awakens a monster that threatens the entire eastern seaboard.”

I wish I could quit you, Asylum. Okay, I actually wish for good/better health, long life, and perhaps the usual more money than I know what to do with but you get the picture. Why oh why do I still bother to review these things. A few of them have been passable wastes of time but so far only one was actually enjoyable (Sharknado 2) and not because it was good.

Many of Asylum’s offerings make for entertaining trailers but that is pretty much it. Airplane vs. Volcano, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, and Asteroid vs. Earth were all rather painful to sit through.

The one good thing I can say about Asylum productions is that they usually let you know just how bad they are going to be within the first five minutes. They don’t disappoint here – from a non-existent storm passing by a stationary Air Force One to some truly pathetic CGI to some rapid fire exposition as they jettison the President before the downing of Air Force One, all of that is accomplished in under two minutes.

Bermuda Tentacles has the usual assortment of former stars and B-listers. Noted character actor John Savage plays President DeSteno. Former Terminator lead and Beauty of Beauty and the Beast, Linda Hamilton clocks in as Admiral Linda Hansen. Jamie Kennedy pops up as the unconvincing albeit amusing Dr. Zimmer. Equally unconvincing is pop star Mya as Lt. Plumber. Still they are wonderful compared to the non-name actors.

For a movie titled Bermuda Tentacles, one would think that those effects at least would be halfway decent. They aren’t. The tentacles glow and shimmer and radically change size based on perspective. One moment they are man-sized as swat men away then they are plane-sized as, you guessed it, they swat planes away. They’re solid – no, opaque – no, invisible.

Then there is the script. Are you telling me that a naval task force that is searching for the remains of Air Force One would not have any CAP in the air? We’re desperately searching for the President, just not with aircraft or anything. Air Force One’s escape pod doesn’t float?

As per Asylum SOP, simply stay far away from this Turkey this Thanksgiving.

Dante’s Peak – Not Kidding – The End is Nigh! week

Dante’s Peak is currently available on instant Netflix.

One-Line Review: Everything you know about volcanoes thrown into one small town – fun havoc ensues.

Dante’s Peak (1997) – Rated PG-13

“Pierce Brosnan stars in this nail-biting thriller as volcanologist Harry Dalton, who comes to the sleepy town of Dante’s Peak to investigate the recent rumblings of the dormant volcano the burg is named for. Before long, his worst fears are realized when a massive eruption hits, and immediately, Harry, the mayor (played by Linda Hamilton) and the townspeople find themselves fighting for their lives amid a catastrophic nightmare.”

“It’s coffee time! Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee!”

I cannot say that Dante’s Peak has less mistakes than the other natural disaster movies but at least it tries. Most of the faults come from the implementation of what a volcano can do. The plot goes through a laundry list of volcano effects without regard to what would or could happen.

Yes, volcanoes can turn a lake acidic – no, not to the point where it instantly melts a boat. Yes volcanoes can erupt basaltic flows and pyroclastic – no, not simultaneously. Yes, there are pyroclastic clouds – no, a vehicle without tires cannot outrun one. Yes, you can drive onto a lava flow – no, you are not driving off of it.

As the Hollywood studios often do, two volcano projects were rushed into production. Dante’s Peak got released just two months before Volcano (much like this year’s dueling Snow Whites – Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and The Huntsman). Much as I like watching a volcano appear in Los Angeles, Dante’s Peak is the better film.

Roger Donaldson wisely limits the scope to a small town and keeps the focus on a single family (the Mayor, her two children, her mother-in-law and their dog) and the small USGS crew. There is no over-the-top attempt to stop a volcano from blowing, merely an attempt to predict and dealing with the inevitable aftermath.

Donaldson has some nice stylistic touches such as having Linda Hamilton look out a car window during the event and have her worried face reflected in the glass while we see the explosion. He likes it so much that he repeats that basic shot twice more. Real footage of Mt. St. Helens is melded convincingly into Dante’s Peak, lending some authenticity to the proceedings.

There are a lot of jarring continuity issues that pulled me out of the film: disappearing clothes hanging by the hot springs, a busted in window made whole again, a truck emerging from the river dry, writing on a cast disappearing. There are shoes, goggles, and glasses that appear and disappear. The worst one though is clearly the one-lane bridge that is sometimes the width of one lane and sometimes wide enough for two lanes and a shoulder.

Dante’s Peak answers the question of what did Linda Hamilton do after the Terminator movies. She is just fine here as the mayor and mother of two. Pierce BrosnanĀ  is his usual charming self as the vulcanologist who knows more than his colleagues. The child actors (Jamie Renee Smith and Jeremy Foley) acquit themselves well as does Elizabeth Hoffman as the cranky old grandmother. In short acting is solid but not award-winning.

Dante’s Peak is engaging and, if you can forgive the prominent errors, really starts to rock once the Peak blows. I’m beginning to think that what I like about disaster films are all the errors but if that were the case I would enjoy hacker movies more.

Terminator 2 – Second Verse Same as the First week

This week I have decided to cover the unjustly derided vehicle known as the sequel. This is Second Verse Same as the First week. Terminator 2 – Judgment Day is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – Rated R for strong sci-fi (not Syfy) action and violence and for language.

“In this sequel, director James Cameron delivers scene after scene of action-packed thrills. A bigger, better Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is gunning for a shape-shifting T-1000 who is out to kill John Connor (Edward Furlong), the son of Sarah (Linda Hamilton), the original Terminators nemesis”

As with Alien/Aliens, Terminator is a better film than Terminator 2 but Terminator 2 is the more enjoyable film. Cameron is a master of wonderful cuts. In the opening he segues from children playing on a playground to a rather stark vision of the future.

As he did with Aliens, Cameron has also interwoven a theme here. In T2, the overall theme is an examination of what it means to be human. This is more pronounced in the extended version which I was surprised to discover this was. This version contains a scene with Sarah talking to Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), an extra scene with Arnie being worked on, an extra scene with workaholic Miles Dyson, and others.

Cameron loves to have strong female protagonists in his films. This is one of the things I love about Cameron as the action film genre often has a “Men Only” sign on it. Here Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is very buff and capable if somewhat psychologically screwed up. Linda Hamilton does a fine job of grounding many fantastic sequences.

Besides his genius at pacing that I mentioned yesterday, Cameron also excels at injecting appropriate humor into deadly, often grim, encounters. I say “appropriate” because the humor is funny without detracting from the seriousness of the situation.

The opening action sequence where Arnie acquires clothing has great action and humor. Unfortunately if you stop to consider it, the scene makes no sense. For an example of what The Terminator series looks like without humor, watch Terminator Salvation.

Arnold returns as a different T-800 and all jokes aside about his robotic delivery, he makes an excellent Terminator. In the first film he was the ultimate Terminator but here he is practically obsolete next to the new T-1000 model.

Robert Patrick plays the new liquid metal Terminator and the smoothness of his face really lends credibility to the changes. Of course a large part of the new Terminator are the special effects used. It seems with every film, Cameron graphically pushes the envelope of what can be accomplished.

Edward Furlong plays John Connor, future leader of the human race. Unfortunately John Connor at this stage is just a juvenile delinquent. Furlong is pretty good but it is often difficult to see where his leadership qualities will spring from.

Joe Morton has a small but meaty role as Miles Dyson, whose discoveries lead to Skynet and ultimately armageddon.

It can be no surprise that I wholeheartedly recommend one of the greatest action films of all time. The special effects hold up quite well.

Netflix presents T2 in high-definition for those of you with adequate internet connections. The picture is better than DVD quality but a bit shy of the Blu-Ray.

People Watch: Xander Berkeley (Mason in 24) and Jenette Goldstein (Vasquez in Aliens) have brief roles here as foster parents to John Connor.