Burn, baby, burn! Casper Van Dien, Vincent Gale and Stefanie von Pfetten star in Meltdown: Days of Destruction.
Director – J. P. Howell
Screenplay – Rick Drew
Producer – Harvey Kahn
Despite warnings from scientist Nathan (Vincent Gale), his boss proceeds with an experiment to blow up an earthbound asteroid with a nuclear probe as a publicity stunt for his satellite firm. The asteroid is destroyed, breaking off into three pieces, and luckily avoids Earth; however a piece the size of Iceland – yes, that’s the size of Iceland – grazes the atmosphere and offsets the planet’s rotation, sending it on a collision course for the Sun.
God help us – wait. Nope, these are just more dumb-asses bringing this all on themselves.
With the planetary temperature slowly rising to near-fatal heights, police officer Tom (Casper Van Dien), who’s dating Nathan’s news reporter sister Carly (Stefanie von Pfetten), must escort his family to safety before it’s too late.
Not to be confused with what might’ve been a working title for a Megadeth song, Meltdown: Days of Destruction manages to do the impossible: namedrop both Deep Impact and Armageddon – two films dealing with asteroids colliding toward Earth – in a film about an asteroid colliding toward Earth. At first when you hear Vincent Gale’s scientist talk about the “Deep Impact” probe, you kinda roll with it as maybe a coincidence. Then, later, another character cries about how this is leading to “Armageddon”, and from there you’re just waiting for someone else to bring up something about “The Core”. Oddly enough, those two pointless references are the smartest aspects of Rick Drew’s screenplay.
Do I expect scientific plausibility here? Hell no. I mean, even the Star Wars saga is as plausible as gravity causing things to fall up. However, it’d be nice if a little effort went into their ludicrous scientific explanations. They blow an asteroid to bits and start celebrating, all while a piece of it the size of Iceland (’cause nothing’s more terrifying than a chunk of asteroid the size of the 17th largest country in Europe) is skimming away about 80% of the Earth’s atmosphere, like a cheese grater, as it hurtles past the planet. Then their celebration is short lived when they find out the planet’s orbit was thrown out of whack and it’s heading toward the Sun. How does it all get fixed? Well, by a wonderful scientific marvel of outer space known as a lazy plot device: the solar system just magically self-corrects itself.
You know, like when your phone auto-corrects your crappy spelling.
Also, if a temperature of 110° F is enough to start getting cars to explode, the auto market in Arizona must be utter horse shit.
And yet, throughout this entire catastrophe, I couldn’t help but notice that not many of the characters seemed all that concerned about the fact that their planet’s making a beeline for our beloved central star that’s roughly 10,000° F on the outside and 27,000,000° F at its core.
The humidity’s gonna be the least of your worries.
See, here’s what I imagine. In a perfect world, a scenario like this would cause the following:
- Severe social disorder
- Racism, sexism and most every other “-ism” you can think of
- Raping and pillaging
- Mass hysteria
- Extreme panic
- Cheating on your significant other ’cause at this point, fuck it, why not?
- Burning your children on a sacrificial alter
- Tucking yourself in the fetal position and kissing your ass goodbye
That’s a perfect world setting though. What Meltdown: Days of Destruction provides is the following:
- More talking
- Looks like Officer Tom’s upset that his daughter’s dating someone who appears to be a douche.
- Perhaps they didn’t get the memo?
- Carly doesn’t like the fact that Tom’s ex is tagging along with them.
- These assholes just won’t shut up.
- Kimberly thinks Carly’s a bitch.
- Seriously, you are heading straight for the sun.
- Tom warns C.J. he better not hurt his daughter.
- There’s literally no upside to where the planet is heading.
- Tom’s living in la-la land. He knows better than to think with a life and death situation as presented, his daughter’s cherry didn’t get popped at least six scenes ago.
- What good is moving to the Arctic when the entire planet is engulfed in flaming hot gases that will incinerate you on the spot?!
- Kimberly and Carly kiss and make up. Well, thank God for that.
- Bonnie wants Tom back.
- Carly knows Bonnie wants Tom back.
- Both Carly and Bonnie are now sad about their dilemma.
- I think these people were brainwashed by Kellogg’s Raisin Bran into thinking the Sun is just like the bright, jolly fella they see on the box.
- Why bother worrying? What caused this is pretty much the equivalent of making a texting typo.
- Tom realizes he assumed C.J. was a worthless thug but he turned out to be the calm, rational voice of reason. And that, kids, is why you don’t judge.
- That message was brought to you by NBC’s “The More You Know.”
- Samsung Galaxy. Milky Way Galaxy. I rest my case.
- Whether by swallowing the Earth whole or by finally going out in a supernova blaze of glory, I’m rooting for the Sun to shut these people up for good.
Good Lord, the Gilmore girls don’t gab as much as these guys do.
Laughably bad through every second of its running time, Meltdown: Days of Destruction makes Deep Impact and Armageddon look like the thesis Stephen Hawking wrote to earn his doctorate. I would maybe forgive any cheesy effects or hysterically preposterous science babble if it meant getting the main characters to shut up, but no, we’re stuck with what probably started out as a love triangle soap opera, with a side order of daddy-daughter issues, that ended up getting an apocalyptic disaster wedged in due to studio demands.