Our first image of this film sets the tone, but doesn't quite prepare us for the hilarity that will ensure further along in the movie. As we witness a biker successfully manage his way through destruction without even a scratch, our idea of reality is lost. Being able to outrun the Space Needle is sheer lunacy, and I will not go into the misleading way that they represented the Space Needle's structure (as most have in other reviews). I was laughing while this scene was happening questioning my choice of this film. Then, as if pulled from the pages of Sam Raimi's early work, we witness a train be completely eaten by the earthquake. Paper mache in full effect, it is as if it is chasing the train in this horror story styled moment that leaves so much to be desired. I couldn't tell if our characters were concerned about the tragedies that were befalling their state or the way that the director, John Lafia, represented the catastrophe with very cheap effects.
I cannot merely say that the graphics are what ruined this film, because everything was equal. The acting and the story were equally as poor giving us one of the largest (and lengthiest) television duds I have ever encountered. Beau Bridges as this sympathetic President was horrible. I could just see President Bush watching this movie at home and saying to himself, "The earthquakes hate our freedom they are freedom-haters". I really could hear these words when I watched this film. I mentioned Bridges, but the acting was bad on all counts. The family dynamics that ironically all of our characters are fighting was a HUGE cliché that only created more implausibility to our story. Oh, our lives are horrible, but a huge disaster like an earthquake could just bring everyone closer together let's watch and see! There was one point when I thought that John Schneider was going to break a window to a car, jump into via the window, and speed away talking about how "ain't no Boss Hog gonna git him". That would have been horrible, but at the same time semi-redeemable for this film.
Finally, I need to say to everyone that was involved in this film and for future natural disaster filmmakers, nuclear power does not solve all of our problems. I do not think we have harnessed the ability to stop Mother Nature from taking her course, and that no matter how hard we try, events will happen that will be catastrophic. We need to realize that this Earth was here long before nuclear power, long before humans, and will be long after we are gone. Sometimes I wish I could watch a film where the characters just allowed nature to take its course, and we could see the raw beauty of our world. I hated the fact that this earthquake was this evil train-eating beast that needed to be tamed. I felt that if earthquakes had a union, they would not be too pleased with their representation in this film. I was hoping for some good acting, some decent graphics, and at least a story that would spark the interest, but instead I ended up with three goose eggs.
Overall, if you can't tell already, I really disliked this film. There was no redeeming value to it at all. I remember friends and co-workers talking about this series when it was on television and how they couldn't wait to see the next part. All I can say to them is that they need to get outside more often. If 10.5 doesn't give you enough of a reason to throw your television out the window, then I don't know what will. Avoid this film like the plague, and I promise you that your overall level of life comfort will be much better. A definite Mr. Yuk sticker deserves to be placed on this film!
Grade: * out of *****