Global Meltdown, released in 2017, feels like a tribute act to shows such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. These shows pitch faction against faction in a certain situation and see’s which side wins after copious amounts of bloodshed. Place that formula into a 90 minute TV movie around Yellowstone and you have Global Meltdown – for better and for worse.
The disasters faced
Humans against humans, tremors, volcanoes, acid gas, humans again, more humans and heat charged methane explosions… oh and the death of lots of CGI sheep.
Global Meltdown’s science is… interesting. After seeing the death of lots of sheep in a small village, our lead lady and researcher extraordinaire Karen arrives to unsettle the town with her predictions of Yellowstone erupting. It doesn’t take long for things to escalate with a tsunami elsewhere parachuting in news team Davis and Erin to tell the village the end of the world is upon us. The village begins to prepare for evacuation to higher ground but is taken over by gas eruptions from underground sending those who survive packing with little resource to support them and leaving their town in ruins. The film then takes a turn towards The Walking Dead. Cade, played excellently by Michael Paré, hoards resources and wants to rule the camp without compassion as a survivalist. Karen, however, is much more humane and inclusive but as the situation becomes more dire and more lives continue to be lost, the group starts to fall apart as the need for survival becomes paramount. Cade eventually snaps and decides that only one group should really survive and decides to go after Karen and her band of survivors instead of looking after his own and as Yellowstone goes up – its a race to see who will make it.
Why is it worth watching?
Good question. Global Meltdown is a muddled mess but it does have some things going for it. Firstly, despite some terrible lapses in script and physics, the acting is in general of above average for this type of movie. All the leads do well with what they are given. Global Meltdown is also bloodthirsty. Its high body count was welcome, as you weren’t sure exactly who would survive and it is not afraid to go after some of the lead characters either.
Where Global Meltdown worked best for me was in the midsection of the film when Cade, Karen, Davis and Erin all place themselves onto where they see their morals in an apocalyptic situation. Cade’s character is fascinating because you think he’ll just be an idiot but then he is also kind – but his thoughts are purely on survival and so he will trade and befriend who makes sense at that time. That also means he’ll be happy to betray anyone too. It’s a very American possession/rights way of thinking and the film shows this has its advantages too. There’s a particular scene where they have a very injured person but Karen will only support them. Erin thinks about suffocating her to end her pain and therefore letting the group continue on but she cannot go through with it and is spooked that it even came into her mind. Cade shoots the fatally injured character to end the debate. It made me think how I’d play out in that scenario.
If only more time had been spent to make the rest of the film that interesting, intense or emotive. Other issues are treated with typical by-the-numbers thought but at least the film never stands still. The final twenty minutes is where the film falters most as the storyline makes so little sense in the grand scheme of things. Yellowstone is about to explode – so let’s kidnap people over silly things that really don’t matter! The film feels like it needed another ten minutes too as it ends abruptly with a ‘huh?!’ resolution. I’m usually not so much of a fan of 2 parters but this had the legs to really go for it if the script and pacing had matched the scenes I’d mentioned before. Alas, it is not, and it isn’t so grab the popcorn for the laughs either side.
Whilst some of the Yellowstone sections aren’t terrible, almost everything else is. The worst offender is the tsunami section which is so laughable it makes the reaction to it comedy gold. As most of the film takes place in the forests or desert, the sets are suitably sparse.
I’ve mentioned that Cade is an interesting character, sold short by a clunky script and pacing. Karen and Davis are interesting as whilst the romance is bubbling they don’t really give into it, and other characters have their moments. I did find it mildly amusing that Ashley the child seems to ditch her real father immediately for Karen despite him seemingly being a nice guy. No one really stands out as a favourite, I feel like I’ve seen almost all of them on The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones already.
‘Why’s she getting more!’
Cade, whilst pointing at the child being fed more beans than him.
Three memorable moments
- The moral dilemma over choosing to end someones suffering early
- The acid gas section for its stupidity
- Cade being a discount baddie with his trade deals
The obligatory weird moment
Aside from when really terrible CGI makes everything quite funny, the whole film has a weird time issue. It feels like the film takes place over the course of about 3 or 4 days but every set, every interaction and every time food and resources are brought up, its as if it’s been weeks as everyone is either dead, long gone, or now cannibal looters.
Lastly, the back of the UK DVD box says that Mayor John Mitchell and Karen are married. There is no Mayor John Mitchell in the film whatsoever and Karen seems to be busy fancying Davis. What kind of weird back of the box subplot happened there?!
The drinking game
It’s America. It’s the apocalypse. There are guns everywhere. Take a shot each time a gun is referred to as leverage in an argument. Either that or whenever you realise that the character of Vince is still alive! He has about 10 lines all film – how the hell did he manage that!
Global Meltdown isn’t terrible, it’s just a victim of its own box its designed for. At exactly 90 minutes, it wants to offer thrills it has no budget to show and emotional pulls that it doesn’t have the time (or script) to invest in. The made for TV 90 minute format can work wonders for short, sharp disaster movies, and this isn’t a bad addition as its more human focussed than most. It just lacks the time and talent to pull it off fully.
Rating: 2/5 – Poor
If you liked Global Meltdown then you may like…
- 2012 – for doing Yellowstone and people running away from clouds better
- When Time Ran Out – for seeing how two factions never win against volcanoes!
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