If you're expecting a splashy, big-budget Hollywood disaster flick, you should stick to "The Day After Tomorrow" or "Deep Impact." "Polar Opposites" strength does NOT come from million dollar fx, or performances by academy-award-winning actors. The thing that makes this low-budget independent film so engaging is the story and the relationships that develop while the story world unravels on screen.
At its simplest, "Polar Opposites" spins a tale about a possible global disaster set in motion by a nuclear blast, and how a scientist is called upon to save the day. The scientific theories proposed by the story are chillingly accurate, and they are what hooked me initially. It's refreshing to see science-fact made understandable and yes, entertaining (the tangerine/battery visual was funny). But the film goes beyond simply laying out facts and ideas to tell the story. It puts together a group of characters that have real issues in dealing with the problem, and with each other. There is a father/son relationship (Charles Shaunessy and Clive Revill) that is touching and real, funny and even corny at times. Tracey Nelson and Kieren Hutchinson play doctors coping with the crisis, but they still have a playful side to their relationship. And the actor playing their patient, Al (Ismael Carlo), is both unsettling and tender.
In the end, the disaster unfolds like it might in any other disaster flick (although, as I mentioned, without the huge big budget fx). But the story and the characters were the ingredient that actually made the film quite enjoyable.
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