Storm in a Teacup
There is a scene in "Polar Storm" where a woman in full panic tells her passengers to turn off and take off anything electric as an Electro-Magnetic Pulse sweeps towards them. Now that is gonna suck if you have a pacemaker and obviously the writers had the same idea because one poor bugger's pacemaker stops and so does he. Anyway that is probably the cleverest scene in "Polar Storm" a made for TV disaster movie which like so many other made for TV disaster movies ends up being entertaining for ,ostly the wrong reasons. Terrible dialogue, seriously terrible characters, cheesy special effects and a save the day scenario which is one of the worst I have ever watched. Yes "Polar Storm" is bad, seriously bad but it will make you laugh even if it doesn't intend to.
As a Comet passes close to Earth the world is gripped with excitement of this close encounter, except for Government scientist Dr. James Mayfield (Jack Coleman) as he is the only one who thinks something bad could happen. And something bad does happen when a fragment of the comet snaps off and breaks through the Earth's electromagnetic field triggering a chain of cataclysmic events. With Electro-Magnetic Pulses knocking out power and earthquakes ripping up streets James discovers that the impact of the Comet fragment has caused the Earth to shift and the poles have become unstable, so unstable that unless they come up with a way of knocking the Earth back into alignment it will be the end of mankind.
Now when it comes to TV disaster movies you can usually look at big budget disaster movies for where the idea for the story came from. Now I don't remember any big budget disaster movies where we have a comet fragment puncturing through the Earth's electromagnetic field causing strange events such as Electro-Magnetic Pulses and tremors so that is at least something. And to be honest I don't remember another big budget movie which then gives us the knock on effect which is the poles shifting and disintegrating leading to the world teetering on a precipice of destruction. So whilst it may all seem a little far fetched the simple fact that "Polar Storm" doesn't just rehash another well known disaster movie is something.
But even if "Polar Storm" is original it is terrible because all of this is delivered in a text book way with people involved in this danger such as scientist James Mayfield's wife and son who have to battle through Electro-Magnetic Pulses and rocky roads thanks to earthquakes. And of course we have the big Government science boffins who refuse to listen to James's theory until it could be too late. There is plenty of more cheesy to accompany this but of course the cheesiest element is always the solution, a solution which James manages to come up with which will stop the destruction and heal the World, yes "heal the world" words which are so cheesy yet are used in "Polar Storm". Now this save the planet idea is a little bit like the one in "The Core" but here we have a Russian submarine, because it is old and diesel powered so of course won't be affected by EMP and some rent-a-Russians who emphasise that America and Russia are working together. If it sounds a bit sketchy well it is and I don't want to explain because it would spoil all the far fetched hilarity and hilarious it most certainly is.
Now of course being a TV movie "Polar Storm" does have to deal with budget limitations which really means some dodgy special effects. So it is surprising when the initial comet scene is passable and the scenes which feature the sky glowing and a wave of EMP travelling over vehicles are good although to be honest quite simple. But then we have the earthquakes, the road cracking up and swallowing vehicles and I don't know if anyone remember those images built up of plastic sheets such as the body where each sheet has a drawn organ on so that you can build up or peel back the body, well the cracks in the road look just like that, poorly drawn cracks placed over the top of shots of a normal road. In fairness the special effects in "Polar Storm" are not the worse I have seen in a made for TV disaster movie but they do add to the hilarity.
And when it comes to the acting well here is the good thing, nothing from the main characters stinks, although nothing impresses either. But then you have the hilarity of the caricatures, sorry I meant characters, we have the rent a Russians, the snobbish science advisor to the President and even the President all ending up hilariously poor characters.
What this all boils down to is that "Polar Storm" even as a TV disaster movie is not good despite having an idea which doesn't seem to have been directly robbed from a big budget disaster movie. And quite simply it is so bad it is entertaining for being hilariously bad.