Earth's Final Hours (TV 2012)
Remember when SyFy was SciFi? I'm not saying it was any better, but there was at least the concept of science being folded into the fabric of their fiction. Yes, you would still have atrocities like Sharktopuss or SuperGator, but imagine a world where they would use actual science in their movies. How awesome would that be? I'm pretty sure there are enough people out there with degrees in scientific fields that we don't have to rely on liberal arts degree holders to imagine a world with very real issues.
The movie stars Robert Knepper. If you watched the last season of Heroes, you will remember him as the guy who could cause earthquakes. In is role, he plays an FBI agent who is (to put it mildly) unrealistic. I've known a few FBI agents, and this guy simply does not act like one. He acts like a writer would if he were an FBI agent; which is to say that he would never have gotten the job of FBI agent in the first place.
His son is played by Cameron Bright. I never heard of him, but he apparently was in a few of the Twilight movies. I vaguely remember him as a kid in the movie Godsend with Robert DiNero. He has the thickest, most solid head of eyebrows I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure they hired his eyebrows for this role and the rest of the body came with them.
Anyway, so the story is impressively unbelievable. A "fragment from a neutron star" plunges through the planet, disrupting the Earth's magnetic field. The evil government goons want to build an artificial magnetic field around a thin belt of the Earth rather than try the (more?) risky plan of restarting the core with the satellites that the scientists are sure will work.
Speaking of satellites, there is some confusion about how they work, where they are, how they're controlled, and if they are shielded from solar radiation. I've heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson speak about satellites, and I think he should probably have been consulted at some point. Really, any astrophysicist would have been nice.
There are two female roles, and they are pretty token. One is the son's girlfriend, and she does little more than panic at everything. The other is a scientist who works with the father. She does little more than make wildly inaccurate scientific statements and viciously uninformed guesswork. Really, it appears that she's on the screen for two reasons, and neither of them is her talent.
All told, it's a popcorn film that makes pretend science serious and will probably discourage children from going into either a traditional scientific field or federal law enforcement. Instead, they may want to be the unrepentant hacker who fights the system with no real consequences and a hot girlfriend (because computer people always have a bevy of trollops from which to choose). If you can ignore science and plot holes, I guess it's okay.
The acting was pretty good.
The effects were inconsistent, but generally not good.
The story was unbelievable.
The dialogue was canned.
The action was disjointed and awkward.
The cinematography was pretty much what you'd expect for a made for TV movie.