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Go into this film with the right expectations and enjoy it for what it is. Very entertaining.
I was unsure of what to expect with this movie and so, prior to watching this film, I visited IMDb and read several reviews and message board comments to find out what to expect. I must thank all the IMDb users who have contributed comments for this movie because it really did the trick for me. My expectations were realistically set and this and allowed me to really enjoy the film for what it was.
I quickly realised that the best attitude to approach the film was to try to disengage the analytical, thinking part of the brain and not to expect a serious, plausible story. Instead, I decided to just expect plenty of great, non-stop action interspersed with a typical set of cheesy emotional scenes as the disaster starts to unfold and a typically clichéd set of characters. This is exactly what I got and with my expectations appropriately set, I really enjoyed the film.
In the first 5 minutes, during the explanation of the impending disaster by the scientists, when the following line was spoken, I realised that I was right not to engage the more intellectual parts of my brain (approximate quote)...
"It looks as if the neutrinos have mutated into some other sort of (far more aggressive) sub-atomic particle (that will melt the crust, etc, etc)."
Let's face it; you don't have to be Einstein to have issues with that kind of scientific claim! Anyway, the action kicked in pretty soon into the film, and I have to say that the actions scenes truly were brilliantly done. They were probably the best, most impressive action scenes I have ever seen in a film. I was really astounded by the first car chase scene as the film's main characters were rushing from their home to the first small plane in order to escape, and all the flight scenes were truly fantastic. The action scenes did not dip in standard throughout the film - it was real edge of the seat stuff and was highly entertaining.
Interspersed with the action, there was the typical set of cheesy disaster movie type clichés to sit through as people started to realise the desperate situation they were all in, but even these could be tolerated with some amusement if approached in the right frame of mind and viewed light-heartedly. I am talking of course about the liberal smattering of emotional, tear-filled phone calls from sons/daughters to fathers/mothers, etc, when they all know that they will soon be toast, the untimely deaths of selected lovable characters (but not the heroes of course!), the self-sacrifice of the US president (we've seen this before, and let's face it, in reality he'd have been the first on that plane!), the numerous near misses e.g. cracks on the runway following the plane just a few feet behind! There was also the inclusion of the rather over-used scenario of an estranged but good, loving, if somewhat unreliable Dad competing for the attentions of his ex-wife and children with the very reliable but geeky step-Dad. It is pretty obvious from the start that the Dad is going to win out in the end, and this is very conveniently effected when the step-Dad is eliminated in rather gory circumstances! At least the step-Dad was given a semi-nice character, was given some good action scenes and kind of made friends with the Dad before his untimely demise instead of being portrayed as and out and out sleaze ball, as usually happens in this type of film!
To conclude, I would say that realistic expectations and frame of mind are the keys to enjoying this film. Do not expect too much of the science to really add up or for the plot to be genuinely plausible. Do not expect to be intellectually challenged by the script or the plot. Instead, expect a lot of amusing cheesiness in the script, plenty of clichés and above all expect to enjoy some truly first class action. If you go in with this attitude you won't be disappointed. If anything, the film could have been 20 minutes or so shorter, but in general I really enjoyed it for what it was. Setting my expectations was so vital to this. There are a lot of parallels to Independence Day with this film, but I enjoyed this film 10 times more simply because my expectations and mind-set were far more appropriately, realistically set before the film started.