A downtrodden professor and a gutsy PhD student find a comet the size of Mount Everest on a collision course with Earth and attempt to warn the world, only to meet stubborn resistance from the powerful and the media.
This is one of those Marmite films, you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it, there is no real in-between ground for it to occupy and it’s very fair to say that it has absolutely polarised opinion in a very big way, so on that score, I suppose it has to be a winner because it attracts conversation and attention.
This movie has all the hallmarks of squashing a few different movies together and making them into one film, for better or worse, it really depends on your own viewpoint. It’s clearly trying to be a funny version of Deep Impact, with a bit of Whoops Apocalypse thrown in for good measure, before adding some new technical stuff, like when Kate Dibiasky, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, actually finds the comet in question on its worrying trajectory.
The beginning is very much like that of Deep Impact, the student finding the comet, except that she is actually in the observatory, studying for her PhD and nobody gets killed trying to dash to warn the world, it’s a good solid start, which seems quite well engineered and gives us a good look at the main characters, those being Kate and Dr Randall Mendy, played by Leonardo Di Caprio.
There is also some decent content when our two heroes are taken into a plane, which gave it an air of mystery, but was also a bit of a pre-cursor of what was to come, as the movie then unfortunately goes into ridiculous overload.
America cannot, never has and will never do great comedy like we do on this side of the Atlantic, it is a well known fact. This film tried to go from quite a serious opening, into comedy mode and it simply does not work.
Waiting hours to see the lady US President played by Meryl Streep, one cheap shot by a 3 star General keeps rearing its head, because seemingly they have to hammer it home and they push it way beyond its boundaries.
Some of the film, it must be said is quite well constructed and shows some of what can make things go wrong, due to the ignorance of authority and there’s some quite believable personal challenges as well, which will keep you watching, I also have to say that the moment of doom is quite well drilled and a fairly quaint touch.
However, the construction of it is all wrong due to the start and the end, going from a very impressive technological beginning, into an attempt at comedy, then trying to almost redress the balance near the end is not a good idea.
It is listed as a comedy film, for that to work it would have needed to start off on a comedy footing, nothing particularly outlandish, but something for a good belly laugh, which just does not happen and by the time it does, it’s too late because you have been dragged into what looks like a serious story.
It does have to be said that the special effects are of a decent standard and Lawrence, Di Caprio and Streep do seem to sort of enjoy hamming it up and there is the occasional giggle, but it’s certainly not what you would call a classic comedy.
With impending doom for our planet, high level catastrophic ignorance and some personal tragedy, it is probably not the sort of film to try and make into a comedy, although some of it does work and people are clearly invested in trying to make a difficult subject as funny as they can.
I wouldn’t say to avoid it at all costs, but you certainly need a ridiculously open mind to enjoy it, it fails on so many different levels, better luck next time Netflix.