Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Apocalypse How? - Annihilation Earth (2009)

So, the prologue...

In 1964, a clever chap by the name of Peter Higgs had this idea that there must be some way to explain why some elementary particles had mass and some didn't, and after a lot of very difficult maths had been done, the idea of the "Higgs Boson" was bandied about. Unfortuneately for Mr Higgs though, the technology of the time wasnt able to validate his theory, so he went on to do some more very difficult sums and discovered some other stuff which got scientists all in a kerfuffle.

In 2008, construction on a very big piece of equipment called the "Large Hadron Collider" was completed, and the boffins collectively spunked in their trousers because now they had the equipment they needed in order to find out if Mr. Higgs was either a genius, or was simply talking out of his arse.

5 years after that, it turns out he is in fact, a genius, and he was awarded a nobel prize for his ability to do incredibly hard maths.

The film...

Annihilation Earth is a 2009 SyFy original movie, starring Luke Goss, Marina Sirtis (who for some reason seems to be under the impression she can do a convincing "southern drawl" accent) and Colin Salmon, as well as some other people who Ive never heard of.

Set in the year 2020, the film establishes that after the Higgs Boson was proved to exist, a related technology, called EVE (an acronym for "Electromagnetic Vacuum Energy") now provides cheap and limitless power to most of western Europe via a series of three linked super colliders.

The lead scientist in the EVE organisation (Goss), is worried that the EVE technology can easily be weaponised and turned into a "Total conversion" weapon (basically, a weapon that converts all matter into energy with near 100% efficiency). This paranoia isn't helped when his ambitious and politically savvy boss (Sirtis) , announces her intention to use the promise of foreign nations being allowed access to EVE in exchange for money and political favours, and it is compounded when his best mate, (Salmon) and fellow scientist seemingly becomes involved to Arab terrorists, shortly after giving him a chilling warning about how terrorists are known to be planning some sort of shennanigans with one of the three colliders in Europe.
These paranoid thoughts are soon confirmed when the collider facility in Orleans has a meltdown, seemingly caused by sabotage.

As the story rolls on, there's a lot of scientific talk about Higgs fields and "doomsday equations", a lot of posturing about the peaceful use of nuclear energy etc, and some healthy doses of paranoia, but, as it turns out, the network of colliders turns out to be a fantastically effective doomsday weapon...so it does.

So yeah, this film isn't too bad, although it does take some liberties with the science fact so as to make it more palatable to science fiction, and the film does take itself very, very seriously at times, but it is nonetheless a half decent bit of B-list sci-fi storytelling.

I give it 7 debasements of science out of 10.

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