Soap opera escapee Kim Delaney wasn't a very interesting actress even as the Improbable Barbie Cop #2 in NYPD Blue. She does not better in the disastrous disaster epic 10:5 (aka, Earthquake 10.5, 2004), playing seismologist Dr. Samantha Hill. If she ever had acting ability in her, the laughable script never gives her a chance to prove it.
A miniseries pushing four hours including ads (three & quarter hours if you have it taped), it has about a half-hour's worth of story. Every character is a one-dimensional cliche & the plot comes right out of a Saturday morning cartoon adventure.
A super-earthquake is on its way, & the West Coast is at risk of falling off into the ocean. Waiting for this to happen is the only thing that can possibly induce anyone to sit through this snore-fest. But when the payoff comes, the film's idea of inconceivable catastrophe is the Hollywood sign collapsing.
Even at the height of the crisis the phones still work so that Delaney could interact with characters in various places, & this emoting on phones with other obnoxious characters is just one more aspect of the set-up that hamstrings her ability to perform any of thlis credibly. It's surprising how many of these television disaster epics have this set-up of the central headquarters communicating with the field over telephones, as if there's any drama in watching people trying to be intense while on the phone.
With wild absurdity, a few nuclear bombs is all it will take to save the day, but not until a few of disaster FX can be sprinkled thinly between long talkative scenes of nothing happening.
If this were condensed to just the half-hour of cheezy FX & cornpone action, it might've seemed rather whizz-bang exciting, but going the mini-series route was like getting in a ricketty fun-house ride & discovering the papier-mache gags don't start until you've ridden through an empty warehouse for a couple hours.
I suspect the average third-grader knows more about the Richter scale than the writers did, & every time anything even marginally scientific arises, it's so foolish that it could actually become a family game to see who is first to spot the boners.
The wacky thing is, this had great ratings. Of course, no one could've known how bad it was until they watched it, but still, all four hours? So steaming pile of excrement though it was, it bizarrely birthed a sequel, 10.5: Apocalypse (aka, Apocalypse 10.5,2007) which was just as bad.
And the most mindbogglingly improbable bit of science fiction in both the 10.5 epics is the absurd notion that FEMA & all branches of government are just naturally competent & get things right in every crisis!
Delaney (in real life an alcoholic, in & out of rehab whenever it's that or jail time, & lost custody of her son for child endangerment when completely snockered) is horrifying puffy-faced & swollen in this one. I actually thought she might be dying of some renal disease she looked so putridly like she was in the middle of a world-class hangover or liver & kidney failure.
California was separated from the rest of the coast in the first miniseries (the crack literally opened right at the toes of Dr. Hill's feet), & the sequel slightly tries to insinuate the United States is now a different place since California became an island.
Beau Bridges reprises his role as the President whose sensitivity is overweaning & wussy, & who plays the President exactly as he is played by other actors in exactly the same position in nearly identically plotted disaster mini-series.
Cheap CGI disaster sequences show us the crumbling of Mount Rushmore & Hoover Dam, the collapse of Vegas into a giant sinkhole with survivors in a buried hotel coming off as a cheapjack remake of The Poseidon Adventure), & suchlike, but nothing as silly-stupid as the falling-over Space Needle in the first lame epic.
As with the first miniseries, ridiculous stuff happens after long intervals of chit-chat, mostly on the phones, & the zoom-lense is put on triple-time to make the viewer dizzy. But the FX aren't much better than when everyone on the Starship Enterprise leans to the right, leans to the left, pretending the Romulans are firing upon them.
This time the giganto-mongus earthquake is going to rip North America in half & establish an Inland Ocean from the Dakotas to the Gulf of Mexico. But that's not the real problem. The real problem is nuclear plants will be wrecked & that'll destroy the world.
There's a magic way to stop the incursion of an inland ocean & ultimate atomic doom, but only if Samantha's even smarter daddy (Frank Longella) can connect with his scientist-daughter in time to explain how. Lordy lordy, these are the sorts of shows to be cited when someone is bound & determined to prove television sucks raisens out of a rabbit's rear end.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl