I don't know why, but for some reason I've been going through a disaster movie phase this past month. It started out with "Airport '77" and escalated quickly through the 1970s to the 1990s and beyond. I hit as many of the sub-genres along the way as I could by watching "The Towering Inferno," "Meteor," "Daylight," "Sharknado" and more. Needless to say, it wasn't hard for me to get into the zone when I received Anchor Bay Entertainment and SyFy Channel's "End of the World."
A video store owner (Greg Grunberg) and his film geek buddy (Neil Graston) find they're the key to saving the world when an electrically-fueled storm of dust and lightning bursts pound the Earth. The two unlikely heroes use their previously useless knowledge of disaster film scenarios to discover a way to save the planet from certain doom. At the same time, they must lead a group of friends to safety while fighting their way through gangs of survivors trying to steal their van and supplies for themselves.
The back of the DVD cover has a quote stating, "The best film that I've ever seen on SyFy!" I would have to side with Through the Shattered Lens' Lisa Bowman that "End of the World" is one of the better straight-to-cable movies my eyes have gazed upon. The story really isn't anything new, but is made tolerable through characters that are both likable and easy to hate depending on what their specific role in the movie demands of them.
The casting director for "End of the World" kept their end of the bargain by packing the movie full of familiar genre faces for various audiences to grab on to. Greg Grunberg ("Heroes") and Neil Grayston ("Eureka") play the leads. They trade sci-fi banter and film quotes that make hardcore geeks feel like they're in on a joke not every viewer will get. Brad Dourif ("The Lord of the Rings," "The Exorcist III," and every independent horror or sci-fi project he has time to be in) plays the crazy doctor who holds the answer to how to stop Armageddon from happening. Too bad he's only in the movie long enough to act nuts for five or ten minutes and then die.
The special effects are as good as you can expect from low-budget fare like "End of the World." The CGI team does what they can with the money they've been given. The way the unfortunate folks who get hit by the electrical pulsing meteorites explode more than make up for how animated the effects might look.
"End of the World" is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and some disturbing images. There are some scenes where people explode in a splash of digital gore, but nothing out of the ordinary for these types of movies. I recall some bad language spread throughout as well.
No bonus material is included for "End of the World." That doesn't really come as a surprise. I'm sure nothing out of the ordinary happened while making the movie. I'm sure they could've drummed up some fun interviews with the cast and crew, but let's be honest. Would it really have added anything we really needed to see?
"End of the World" is an adequate entry into the sci-fi and disaster film genres. It will suffice for those who have burned through all the other movies of its type and are looking for something new to watch. It's further made tolerable through the wink-wink-nudge dialogue traded between its two nerdy lead characters. If you're looking for something to pass the time on a Saturday night, I would recommend this for folks who enjoy a good grade-C flick.