release year: 2003
viewing setting: home DVD, 2/9/2009
synopsis: Something strange is going on at an Arctic research station.
impressions: This is a bad movie, but not in and of itself. Rather, it's a bad movie for two huge reasons. First, the DVD case advertises it as an underwater monster movie, which it's not (the supposed monsters turn out to be giant, intelligent, alien electric eels.) I guess I could blame this on the studio and not the movie's creators...it's possible that the cast and crew had one type of movie in mind, and they made it, and then the studio said "hey, this isn't what we want, so let's package it to look like what we do want!" Who knows? Not me. Second, the majority of the important, plot-establishing dialogue in the film is IMPOSSIBLE TO HEAR because the people who created this movie chose to put dramatic music in the background of every such scene. I am not exaggerating. This problem can't be overcome with the volume control because the music gets louder as the dialogue gets louder. If you're in the movie business and you're reading this, take note and don't make this mistake with your own movie. It rendered this one practically unwatchable. Other, less significant mistakes: a "hard to port" command followed by a "hard to stern" command (stern is the back of the ship and this is not a valid ship-navigation command)...the United Nations having an important meeting in a large theater...computer screens filled with nonsense data...a computer screen message that the station is "loosing pressure"...torpedoes that zoom through the water for ten minutes or more. This is the kind of movie where the United Nations can apparently make decisions about the fate of the world without directly consulting major governmental leaders.
something this movie has that no other movie has: a lineup of multiple nations' submarines, all firing their torpedoes at the same time...kind of a submarine firing squad, if you will
acting: David Keith is the man of action. Simmone Jade Mackinnon is his scientist wife, who channels Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio from The Abyss which was a much better movie with this same basic theme. Mark Sheppard plays an idiotic politician who repeatedly demonstrates that he doesn't care about the lives or safety of anyone else...yet others continue to obey his orders. Heck, near the end the other two even go back and rescue this guy, and THEN let him run around loose so he can steal the minisub later on and doom them to certain death. In real life, the competent hero-type would snap this imbecile's neck early on and thus remove him from the situation.
final word: An Abyss imitator that's packaged as something else. Coupled with the audio problems, this leads me to recommend that you don't even try to watch this one.
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