FINGER IN THE DAMN
Facing their own complete extinction due to extreme storms that are destroying whole cities, the world finally comes together, sending 17 teams of scientists and engineers to create a system, a series of satellites all controlled by a giant space station that can use an assortment of devices—super lasers, thermal missiles, freezing beams, etc.—to stabilize the weather. Naturally, someone’s gonna try to seize control of Dutchboy, as the system is known, and weaponize it to make himself president of an all-powerful country that will destroy its enemies and rule the planet.
Contrast is good, producing bright whites of a frozen village in the desert, ranges of grays and yellows of halls of power and congressional committee rooms, and deep blacks of the suits’ suits set off by the rich colors of the Stars and Stripes. Each environment has its own color scheme, such as the rich blues, silvers, and whites inside the space station and greens of the astronauts’ uniforms. The range of tones in each is wide, making objects distinct and solid. Although focus is frequently shallow in order to isolate combative characters—such as the two siblings running the project—from each other and the lighting is often hazy, images still have plentiful detail, particularly in the spectacular and highly convincing CGI sequences of the activated weather disasters and those set on the space station. Earth, in comparison, is often flat, airy, and visually dull.
There’s not much use of the surrounds for effects pans or atmospherics, just for the ever-present bombastic and uninspired score.
It’s constantly in use, with a slow, steady beat to try to force a rise in tension, despite a sagging story or static fill-scenes of politispeech or pseudo-scientific babble. This before a tsunami of rumblingly sinister orchestra and electronica crashes over you in an undifferentiated wash in the regularly inserted disaster set pieces where everything rapidly swells. Nonetheless, the priceless dialogue—“proof of sabotage from the highest level of government . . . trust no one”—is all clear and crisp even when up against the cacophony of music and thunderous (literally) effects.
Extras consist of 16 minutes of interesting featurettes. One focuses on the film’s sets, miniatures, and CGI. Another, with director Dean Devlin and the cast, delves into the development of the concept of a story about the wackily logical outcome of global warming, and one on the international cast’s experience of working together . . . in space.