Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Nature Unleashed: Earthquake": low budget Canadian thriller filmed in Lithuania

Nature Unleashed: Earthquake” (2004) is a Canadian-UK-Lithuanian film taking us to what might happen if earthquakes destroyed a nuclear power plant near a fictitious large city in Russia (Kasursk). Directed by Tibor Takacs, it proposes China Syndrome scenarios worse than Chernobyl or anything ever imagined by Karen Silkwood (and certainly a lot worse than Three Mile Island, the worst disaster in the US).

The plot is a bit contrived. Josh (Fintan McKeown) is a nuclear engineer whose family lives in an American compound in Russia and whose kids attend an academy there. In fact, in an early scene we see his teenage son in chemistry class, with the teacher telling them when to light matches for a Bunsen burner (something I was afraid to do in high school at one time). Soon the earthquakes strike and multiple. In one scene, daughter is trapped in a subway crash, which is actually well done (like that in Summit’s “Knowing”).

Josh’s wife implores her son to watch his sister, before she knows she was trapped in the subway. The screenplay hits the family responsibility set up by parents (to kids to be responsible for and protect siblings, who were born by their parents) pretty hard, and the tone of the film becomes hysterical as the hunt to save everyone from the earthquake and meltdown damage escalates.

This might be a good place to mention the short "The Door” (18 min, dir. Juanita Wilson, Ireland/Ukraine), reviewed March 2, 2010 on the movies blog, about the after effects of Chernobyl on a family.

YouTube trailer by “Terminator”

Some versions of the full film on YouTube were removed for copyright reasons.

You can rent the film from Netflix (the word “Earthquake” appears first). It appears that NBC-Universal may have bought the copyright for the film. The film (DVD from Platinum films right now) does not seem to have its own official site. Typically films like this get aired on SyFy or Ion.

Of course, the granddaddy earthquake movie was titled just that ("Earthquake") in 1974, complete with sensurround.

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