From the director of Megasnake and Spiders 3D said the promo tag. I didn’t hold out much hope for Meteor Storm if I am honest! For once though, this film punches up rather than down for its budget. Its heart is in the right place and whilst its cliché and riddled with science problems, it deserves a bit of love.
The Disasters Faced
Meteors, comets, falling buildings, falling bridges, falling everything, a news crew that MUST GET THAT SHOT and bad mobile reception at exactly the wrong time. Also, there is a crime against the periodic table but I’ll leave that for later!
Dr Michelle Young is looking forward to seeing a lovely comet shower and as part of her science project, she’s brought out all of the telescopes and students to enjoy it whether they like it or not. Her assistant Harper would much rather chomp down on a pizza and is only ever seen not eating twice during the entire film. Sadly for Michelle, these comets are tiny meteors that are homing in on her home town and they make it through the atmosphere and start smashing up the city.
Her children Kara and Jason are over at the pier when this first meteor wave strikes and Kara’s boyfriend Brad is injured. Michelle, already worried about them, spots them on TV in the background of a report. This is a problem for her not-husband-right-now-but-will-be-by-the-time-credits-roll husband Tom who will spend most of the film riding his bike around in leathers evoking the bad boy with heart of gold look. He, as part of the disaster relief team, is going to shirk most of his responsibilities to find the kids whilst Michelle goes off to study the meteors which seem to be causing all kinds of issues.
Thankfully Tom finds Kara, Jason and Kyle in the street but not before commandeering the TV crew who ran the footage and dragging them around for plot reasons. Lena is on camera duty whilst insufferable reporter Kyle may look suave on the camera but he is a wimpy idiot in reality. He does give some of the movies best lines though as he portrays the media as a horrifyingly self indulgent mess. Its probably true. Tom tells the TV crew to take injured Brad to hospital but they just dump him in the streets to go sniffing for a more juicy story. He looks like he has been shot by a meteor – quite why no one will help him is the films biggest mystery!
Eventually he is flagged down by Michelle’s sister Laura. Laura works on the school campus for the kids and sorted him out earlier but assumed he’d be taken to hospital earlier. She has spent the film helping lemming residents who want to run around outside during a meteor shower. Now she’s off to evacuate the city under orders from Tom and General Brock, who is organising the evacuation from the army perspective.
General Brock will spend most of the film bullying Michelle and Colonel Jack about why they haven’t solved everything yet in typical disaster movie fashion. What they do discover is that there are three waves of meteors coming and the third contains a giant rock that could mean the end of mankind as we know it.
As Michelle, Brock and Jack work to prevent the third wave ever hitting, the rest of the cast are stuck dealing with the second wave and its problems. Laura is stuck on the Golden Gate Bridge which gets hit. Brad, who doesn’t seem to understand the word hospital has fallen asleep at the top of an apartment block. Kara and Jason decide to go after him but end up trapped in a lift. This means Tom will be back on that motorbike with Lena and Kyle in tow wanting that juicy story. Who will survive? What’s causing the issues? Will the final meteor cause it all to end? Stay tuned!
Why is it worth watching?
Despite (in spite of?) the directors legendary credentials Meteor Storm is a very tightly wound movie. The opening segment see’s an opening mini storm which sets up everything and introduces us to the main cast at large. Of course we have the all new ideal American family at hand. Separated parents who we know will be back together by the end. We have stupid children who do things like run off on their own and use lifts in a burning building (oh dear). We have the military acting pissy and a news crew who are all grit. All the characters are heavily clichéd but in an endearing way as if you are in on the knowing of it in advance.
Whilst the film lacks the big budget for huge effects, it does better than more recent efforts with its staging and effects. Instead it focuses on the science (cheaper to have people looking confused in a lab) and relationships. The leading duo do a remarkably good job of having internal dramas without everything becoming a soap opera and the films much better for this. The film basically follows a storm – aftermath – science bit – revelation wheel several times before the finale. This ensures things aren’t stale and the science parts are kept down to small bite size chunks.
Whilst leaning in to cliché characters, I found the film enjoyable from a slightly sadistic perspective of background focus. It is clear they are shooting without the ability to have loads of extras or changes done to the environment. This means you can see normal people just plodding around shops during a meteor shower aftermath when its meant to be chaos. Traffic jams just look like a few cars waiting for a green light – that kind of thing. Usually a film tries to hide it but with Meteor Storm its glaringly obvious for some reason and it adds a bit of silly fun to the mix.
I also spent much of the movie wondering if and when Kyle would be killed. I wasn’t disappointed.
The meteor sections are fun to watch because some of the CGI is awful – especially the orange explosions. What’s worse is the green screen effects where you can see how things have not been blended well and things look really 2D. It isn’t quite monster movie bad though and I’d say that standards have dropped worse since this movie to make it now look a bit better over time compared to initial launch. Where things do pick up are in the bigger set pieces. The collapse of the Golden Gate Bridge is done well enough for its budget.
Meteor Storm has an endearing cast because they are all so one note but largely just want to help. Michelle is calm and doesn’t rise to Brock’s bullshit. Tom is fireman-like in his need to save everyone. It is never explained why they aren’t together at the start of the movie but they aren’t exactly hating each other either. Kara has the swirliest hair in a disaster movie for some time. Jason is just there to annoy her. Brad just looks lost the entire time. Laura seems lovely and nurse-like.
My favourite duo are Lena, who puts down Kyle at every opportunity she can with a smile – and Harper – who is grossly underused in the movie. Lena and Kyle are a stupid double act that works because they are enjoying themselves with it. Harper is so funny because she seems utterly disinterested in the entire film. In every scene she is just eating pizza. Her character arc is moving from eating pizza not concerned to eating more pizza whilst looking at the TV pretending to be concerned. Its glorious, I love it.
I want people dying not being saved!Kyle expressing exactly what the media thrive off of…
Three memorable moments
- Laura not understanding that her car has other doors or a boot to get out of so she can escape from the collapsing Golden Gate bridge. Come on woman!
- Trying to explain the periodic table has gaps in it to fill up things we know exist but we’ve never seen proof of yet. No.
- Bye bye Kyle. You had that coming.
The obligatory weird moment
At the first meteor wave poor Jack is hit by a Meteor (I assume – it’s never explained). He then spends the entire film unable to get medical attention! For some reason the children take the entire night and morning to walk vaguely about down populated streets with flowing traffic stating they can’t get to the hospital. He is staggering, bleeding and at one point vomiting. No one helps. No one calls an ambulance. No one gives him a lift. No one does anything. What the hell is wrong with everyone?!
When they eventually get there via the TV crew, Jack gives up because there’s a road block. Eventually instead of getting medical treatment Jack then wanders home, bumps into Laura who doesn’t help either and takes some pain killers and falls asleep and is left in a crumbling building. This then means our brave children, too lazy to take the stairs up 26 levels to get to him and rescue him decide to use the lift in a burning, crumbling building. Slow claps all round. They then get stuck and cause the rest of the cast to turn up! The whole set up is one of the worst constructed plot devices I’ve ever come across and is utterly hilarious because of it.
The drinking game
Harper isn’t in the movie enough to make a drink when she eats game so I’ll go with ‘background characters who aren’t in the movie spoiling the illusion’ drinking game instead.
Meteor Storm is elevated from utter tosh by its credible acting, tightly paced flow and some characters whose decisions are so stupid you have to watch to see what situations their ineptness takes them next. Coming in at a tight hour and a half, its fun, mindless and cheesy but instead of outwardly going for that edge like say Megasnake, this disaster movie straddles serious relationship drama with silly idiotic behaviour and gets the tone spot on for its budget. Better than expected.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 – OK
If you enjoyed Meteor Storm then you may also like…
- Tornado Valley – has the same wholesome feel but with a comedy villain too.
- Impact – a similar set up but as a 3 hour two-night TV special and gravity problems!
- Asteroid – Made for TV 2 nighter but cutdown to movie size where the asteroid hits this time.
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