Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I demand a refund

It’s a common enough feeling: I watched a TV programme that was so awful that my first thought was, “well, that’s 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back”. TV3 owes me a refund.

Tonight TV3 presented a “special” called “Eruption,” a programme that was supposedly part of the “Get Thru” campaign this week. But it was so awful, so cringeworthy, so unbelievably bad that it would leave Aucklanders with the absolute certainty that there’s nothing to worry about.

I honestly don’t know where the blame lies—the terrible writing, bad direction, lame acting—but there’s absolutely nothing to redeem this dreck. Even the special effects were amateurish and silly. One of the reasons I watched to the end was that I thought that surely they’d at least have a good eruption sequence; I was wrong.

The makers packed—or is it padded?—their thin script with three separate melodramas, apparently to make us identify with “ordinary” people: Stereotypical Asians, stereotypical brown people, and a stereotypical eccentric scientist, Clive, who sees the looming disaster that his colleagues routinely dismiss even though Clive screams “there are lives at stake!”

Eventually Clive’s colleagues come to realise he’s right (of course), but no worries: Apparently Auckland has been evacuated, anyway. The only people who seem to die are two kids, a policeman, Clive, and an older Chinese lady. Also, apart from a few rocks crashing here there, there’s no damage (a late shot even shows a new, small volcano in the harbour with, apparently, the same boats that were in the pre-eruption shots). A shot with what we must assume is supposed to be a pyroclastic flow, apparently is relatively harmless, apart from causing four of the implied deaths: A video camera continues to record through and is just just fine after it’s hit, because it’s merely knocked over (um, but it killed Clive?!).

A good movie about an eruption in Auckland could certainly be made. New Zealand has plenty of stellar acting talent, special effects wizards, and craftspeople of every description. Why did this one fail so badly? It could be that the makers, the Gibson Group, who are better known for often low-brow reality TV, cheaped-out. Maybe they simply don’t care about story, acting—the usual sorts of things that kinda matter for TV drama.

I’m not including any links. The On Demand can’t be watched outside of New Zealand and I’d never dream of subjecting anyone to this shite. Aucklanders, do yourself a favour: If you’ve been lucky enough to miss this not-so-special, go to the Get Thru website instead. It’s a whole lot more entertaining.

P.S. TV3, if you give me a full refund of that wasted time, I’ll consider toning down this post.


Nik said...

Yeah this sounded interesting based on the concept but I passed on it, sounds like it was a good decision.

toujoursdan said...

I downloaded it via BitTorrent thinking it was going to be NZ's version of that movie "Volcano" from 1997. It was even worse.

I know NZ is a small market and it's hard to make quality local entertainment, but geez.

liminalD said...

Me again, long time no blog-stalk, I know, I know...

'Under the Mountain' is about an eruption in Auckland.

Also, alien slug things


Arthur Schenck said...

Something I could've added to the post: A much better volcano-erupts-in-Auckland video is (or was) shown in an exhibit at the Auckland Museum. Short, too the point and much better special effects—and without the goofy melodramas.

Nik: Good move!

toujoursdan: It's actually another version of TV movie the same company made. "Aftershock" was about an earthquake in Wellington—and pretty much as bad.

The main problem is that we're a small market, but still: We make good feature films, good documentaries (especially nature ones) and the odd comedy. But even passable dramas seems to be a problem. Sigh…

liminalD: Welcome back!! I was going to ask if you meant the cheesy TV version of the feature film version, then I realised: It doesn't matter, because either would be better…