Monday, July 18, 2011

Super Eruption (2011)

Super Eruption is a made-for-TV disaster movie that aired on the SyFy Channel. When the movie begins, it’s a bit disconcerting because you’re immediately thrust into Yellowstone National Park in the midst of a volcanic eruption.
Thank God for the “Two Days Earlier” flashback. It changes everything. Even the prologue becomes moot and changes.
Kate Brooks (Juliet Aubrey), is Yellowstone’s head geologist and volcanologist. Based in her high-tech tower with a view of the entire park, she and park ranger and former firefighter Charlie Young (Richard Burgi), are monitoring some strange goings-on at the park.
Animals are fleeing the Old Faithful geyser area, birds are flocking and migrating away from the park, visitors are burned in boiling stream water and being blown into the air by spontaneously formed geysers. Huge cracks open in the ground, stranding motorists in their cars.
Charlie’s daughter, Claire (MyAnna Buring), and a young ranger named Josh (Alex Wyndham) are trapped in the fire and barely escape death while trying to save stranded park visitors. If it isn’t for Charlie, who parachutes into the fire and ash, they might have been killed.
In the meantime, Kate experiences something strange at the tower. It seems she is receiving video messages from herself, coming from sometime in the future. Her future self warns her that Yellowstone is going to erupt, and that it could start the end of the world. Future Kate then gives her step-by-step instructions in phases that should alleviate the eruption. It's what changes the prologue.
They have to work fast, for the Disaster Management Agency is working on alternate plans that Kate knows won’t work.
Future Kate provides the solution, along with the procedure: Find a way to solidify the magma and plug up the caldera.
Super Eruption is typical of the many made-for-TV disaster films I’ve seen. Most of the special effects are pretty much top shelf and the tension is quite palpable. Except for some ragged pacing occasionally, the story moves along at a nice pace.
Once the “future/present” communication occurs, one has to accept it, suspend reality, and believe the scheme will really work. It’s not very plausible, in my opinion, but for movie purposes, it works.
Grade: C+

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