Asteroid vs. Earth

Title: Asteroid vs. Earth

Director: Christopher Ray

Year: 2014

Naming movies 101: put “vs.” in the title somewhere, and you have now become the movie equivalent to Buzzfeed click bait. Basically, the title of the movie is accurate: there is an asteroid on its merry way towards earth and if it hits, it’s bye-bye human race. Thankfully, America gets involved and comes up with a great plan. Instead of blowing up or moving the asteroid off course…

 

…they decide they should move the earth off course.

GENIUS!

asteroid-vs-earth

Pray tell, how does one move the entire earth off course? By dropping some nuclear bombs in underwater trenches and a volcano! Duh. Such is the plot of “Asteroid vs. Earth.” Let’s break it down:

Summary:

The movie starts with some terrible CGI shots of space before showing the outside of what I assume is a large observatory telescope, but that’s only because I’ve been to an observatory. Thankfully, the movie gives the audience no context about this. Instead, they move right along to show us a very awkward, Red Bull drinking man inside the observatory. While the opening credits are appearing on-screen, the man we’ve just seen is rolling around on a desk chair between six or so computer monitors, one of which appears to have some sort of video game running on it. Obviously, this man has a lot of time on his hands. After awkwardly watching this guy do a lot of nothing (even though he’s trying his best to make it look like he’s doing something), a distress signal beeps from one of the computers. The man checks the computer, then looks through a slightly larger version of one of those telescopes you bought from Scholastic back in elementary school. At last, we are introduced to the star asteroid of the movie, and I guess it’s pretty big, because the man on-screen seems to be worried about it. Mind you, there has been no dialogue up to this point. Finally, our man picks up a phone and reports the asteroid in some of the most cringe worthy dialogue you have ever heard.

In the next scene, we meet two men, Chase and Rudy, at a bar who are both eying a woman sitting nearby. Rudy’s a nice guy, so he wingman’s for Chase and using an incredible pick-up line (“My friend is really dull”), introduces Chase and said woman. Chase and the woman hit it off, which is good because she is in the entire rest of the movie. Right as these two meet, the movie cuts to a woman and man who live by the ocean, and are enjoying their afternoon when a storm rolls in. They both proceed to freak out and the man claims that the two of them “have to bunker down,” because they can just tell this is a really big storm. Of course, as the audience, we don’t know what the weather is like out where those two live, so you just kind of have to trust that they know the storm is a big one.

After the storm passes, a Navy Major shows up at the couple’s house and a lot of vague, brief dialogue is exchanged. For example:

“We have a situation.” – Navy Major

“I figured as much.” – Other guy

Thanks for the backstory! From what I can gather, I guess the asteroid barreling towards earth is the situation and this other guy knows how to stop it? As they all start to leave the bunker, the man turns to his wife:

“Marie…” – The Man

“I know the deal.” – His Wife

Good thing she knows the deal, because I sure as hell don’t!

We learn that the man who left his wife is actually General Masterson, who apparently is the guy to bring out of retirement when an asteroid is on its way to earth. We also finally learn the name of the guy from the opening scene: Evan. Basically, General Masterson decides the best way to avoid this catastrophe is to launch nuclear missiles at the asteroid in an attempt to blow it to bits. Not a bad plan. Evan, on the other hand, lets General Masterson know that launching nukes at the asteroid is like throwing pebbles at a tank. The General decides to ignore Evan and has him escorted from the room before turning to a TV screen which has a Skype call with some important looking people on it. From the looks of it, they appear to be powerful people from around the world. Only three countries are represented though: China, Russia, and…wherever the third guy thinks his accent is from. Truth is, these guys don’t matter, and their accents are so bad that I can’t even tell what they’re talking about.

Eventually, General Masterson comes to his senses and goes to talk to Evan. Evan explains that he’s got the perfect plan to avoid the asteroid: move the earth. Yes, move the earth. According to Evan, the asteroid coming towards earth has a diameter of 200 miles, which is pretty freaking huge, except…the earth is a lot bigger than that…? Either way, Evan’s plan involves dropping nukes in a large underwater trench that leads to the core of the earth, which will cause a detonation that will cause the tectonic plates to shift which will cause earthquakes with a magnitude of 18.0, and for SOME REASON this is what moves the earth. General Masterson thinks this is a great idea, and decides to combine the plans: launch missiles at the asteroid, and if that doesn’t work, then drop nukes in the ocean! Oh, by the way, we are later told that Evan’s plan could cause 50% of the earth’s population to die. No big deal, right?

And there you go. The magnificent plot of “Asteroid vs. Earth” set up in about 15 minutes. What does the other hour and 15 minutes have to offer? Well, that guy Chase and the woman he met at the bar come back, and we find out that Chase is actually a Lt. Commander in the Navy and the woman is Marissa Knox, an expert on the trench that the military is trying to blow up. Both of them are put on the submarine carrying nukes to the bottom of the ocean, in addition to serving as the movie’s generic and awkward love plot.

Turns out, the missiles being launched at the asteroid aren’t working, so they have to drop the nukes into the trench. This causes massive earthquakes all over the earth, and (SPOILER ALERT) one actually kills our favorite, babbling, Red Bull drinking character, Evan (noooo, I cared about him so much because he was essential to the plot). Luckily, Marissa Knox is not only a trench expert, but a volcano expert and lets the military know that the only other way to move the earth is to drop the nukes into a volcano, which would have the same effect as dropping the nukes in the trench, but hopefully this time it’ll work. Chase’s wingman from the bar, Rudy, turns out to be a marine and is the one tasked with getting the nukes to the volcano. Unfortunately, the volcano erupts as Rudy and his team are making their way to the top, and his entire team gets wiped out. Rudy then picks up the two nuclear warheads with his bare hands, and makes it the rest of the way before dramatically falling backwards into the volcano. Apparently this explosion does not cause any noticeable earthquakes, and Rudy saves the day as the large, CGI asteroid slowly passes by earth, which I can assume means they managed to push earth off course, and we end the movie with Chase and Marissa safe and sound, kissing each other as a mushroom cloud forms in the distance.

What a ride. Now, that is the main plot of the movie. I didn’t even talk about some of the other things that were happening while you weren’t paying attention. Just to name one, the entire city of Hong Kong gets demolished by a slightly smaller asteroid that was travelling with the other asteroid. There’s also the part where Chase and Marissa are talking about how the nuclear missiles start to give off more radiation as the sub gets closer to the trench, but continue to stand around in their street clothes. Or how about the backstory they try to give Rudy as he makes two random phone calls to a guy known as Terry. Who is Terry? Is he Rudy’s best friend? Is Rudy gay and is Terry his partner? Apparently he doesn’t matter because we never find out. Plotholes galore!

This movie lets you know what it’s about with the title, it sets up the plot quickly, and then spends the rest of the time trying to maintain excitement while failing to do so. According to the writers of this movie, if something is not going wrong, it’s not exciting. They pile on problem after problem, all the while trying to make you feel some sort of emotion for the characters as they’re killed off. The issue is that the dialogue is so bland and so bleak, that none of the characters appear to have any sort of personality at all. The actors are actually not the worst in the world, except for the guy that plays Evan. He speaks so fast and changes his inflection so much, you can never fully understand what he’s saying. He also recites his lines like he’s been an actor for about 10 minutes, meaning everything comes out extremely forced and uncomfortably awkward.

On top of that, the entire plot is ridiculous. Push the earth off course with nuclear bombs? This sounds like the plot to a terrible sci-fi mov…oh wait.

All in all, this movie was a lot of fun to laugh at, and luckily wasn’t too painful to watch. The camera work and quality is professional enough, and the special effects appear very cartoon-ish, but that’s fine, because the entire movie is a joke. This movie really gives you what you’d expect: a giant asteroid almost crashing into earth.

Score:

On a scale of asteroid vs. earth – asteroid, and would highly recommend to physicists

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