Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Another "Eve of ..."

CERN just dropped 300 TB of Large Hadron Collider data free online.
Oh goody!

Things had been quiet on the "God Particle" front and Large Hadron Collider so far this year. We were reminded of the old excitements as we watched a two-part mini-series on Netflix at the weekend: The Eve of Destruction. It's a too long 3-hour TV movie served up in two 90 minute slices. We didn't hate it, it did bring up, albeit in a somewhat garbled way, many of the ills of modern life on planet Earth: the greed of corporate bosses, the manipulation of nature for corporate gain, the dangers of human error, the dangers of well-meaning eco-terrorism, for instance. Eve of Destruction is a mix: one part mild sci-fi and one part disaster movie, on a moderate budget, special effects are limited.

Plot (hat-tip to Moria)
In Denver, Karl Dameron and Rachel Reed head The Proteus Project funded by GMO foods magnate Max Salinger. Their project, the DRIL Trigger, when activated, will tap dark energy and provide a source of unlimited power. However, a test run causes an energy discharge that kills a technician. Lineman Ruslan, a Russian immigrant, panics when he sees the purple glow the reactor emits into the sky. He tries to get to Dameron to warn him, saying that he was witness when the same experiment was conducted in Russia a decade ago and ended up wiping the entire town of Lhitiska off the map. Dameron is troubled by these claims and starts to investigate what happened. Meanwhile, the unscrupulous Salinger, who has an important government contract dependent on the success of the Proteus Project, starts putting pressure on the team to ignore the negative results and push ahead. At the same time, Dameron’s daughter Ruby has been drawn in by the radical protest group P53. She is able to get them one of her father’s security access passes, only to find herself dragged along as the group plans to blow up the power plant. As the experiment is activated, these coinciding factors create a runaway surge of dark energy coursing through the power grid that threatens the entire planet.

There's the kernel of a good movie there, but Eve of Destruction was either too long or too short to make absolute sense - even with disbelief suspended. The basic tale, with some repetition eliminated, and faux scientific chat pared down, could easily have fit into around 100 minutes. Using the same basic premise and two long episodes - plus much bigger budget - the ending could have been vastly improved. Heck - the whole world was being destroyed one minute, but a few linemen (nice touch having linemen as "the cavalry" for a change) stopped the "malfunction" (or whatever). Everything is hunky dory once again, but the big bad boss, evil look in his eye, and his sidekick are about to hop onto a plane to Mumbai where another of those collider thingies is already installed. The rest of the world, bless 'em are still trying to put out the fires, draw breath, and dig out the millions of dead bodies. Denver has been more or less obliterated....but hey, a fighting father and daughter are reconciled....and... here come the end credits!

Best actor in the film, by far, is Aleks Paunovic (Ruslan) the immigrant Russian lineman. Steven Weber (Dr Karl Dameron), Christina Cox (Dr Rachel Reed), Treat Williams (Max Salinger) aren't too bad, but at times were unconvincing.

There's an old pop song, sung by Barry McGuire with the same title as this movie; there was a 1991 movie with the same title too. It'd have been a good idea for producers of this 2013 movie to have stirred the old grey matter a bit longer to find a fresh title! Something about linemen would have been good, they never receive much applause, and they have been doing dangerous and essential work for decades.


mike said...

As time clicks onward here on planet Earth, a plethora of eve-of-destruction scenarios has evolved. No need for a meteorite impact, gravitational wave blowing by, or solar flare the likes of which never seen before. We humans initiated doomsday with various triggers over the past 60 or 70 years and we are continually adding triggers. It's in our ancient-stories-told heritage, too, with the Garden of Eden, great flood, Atlantis out of control, etc.

I doubt I would have watched "The Eve of Destruction", but thanks for the "don't"...LOL.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Love that song, always have, long before I knew what a lineman is! I used to think, when first heard it, it was something to do with railway lines. :-)

Yes, indeed, we now have a cornucopia of destructive choices before us. :-(

After last night's disappointing primary results we regressed into the early 1940s in England with "Foyle's War", it was kind of comforting in a perverse way. In the episode we watched the Yanks have just rolled in to the small south-England town in which the series is set. LOL! Some locals are not impressed, some Yanks are not impressed at having to put up with the inconveniences they find, and the fact that they have been sent to "save" us...etc. Because we know that it all turned out well in the end - that must be the comforting part.