Megafault DVD Review
Written by Robert Gold
DVD released by The Asylum
Directed by David Michael Latt
Written by Paul Bales
2009, Region 1 (NTSC), 89 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on November 24th, 2009
Brittany Murphy as Dr. Amy Lane
Eriq La Salle as Boomer Baxter
Bruce Davison as Dr. Mark Rhodes
Paul Logan as Major Boyd Grayson
A massive quake threatens to destroy Earth and only the studio known as The Asylum can bring you all of the big-budget thrills at sensible low-budget prices.
Megafault presents an end-of-the-world scenario where Brittany Murphy (Cherry Falls) is a seismologist named Amy Lane, who is able to single-handedly predict the course of a natural disaster that is threatening to split the planet wide open. She is so respected that during a crisis where an entire state may be at risk, the U.S. government will take the time to check on the safety of Amy’s family before alerting the masses to take cover.
Amy’s skills are so impressive that all other teams of scientists working on this dilemma are neither shown nor mentioned within this story. Amy is a super-talented woman who is unmatched in her ability as a seismologist and as a loving wife and mother. She is a young, attractive and able-bodied woman living in the 21st century in the greatest nation of the world, and no stupid earthquake is going to hurt the planet while Amy Lane is on the job.
The military wisely recruits Amy and her mentor Dr. Mark Rhodes (Bruce Davison) to put a stop to this quake-y menace. She soon learns that her family has been inconvenienced by that bitch Mother Nature and the gloves are off as Amy makes saving her family (and America) her top priority.
Arriving with Major Grayson (Paul Logan) to inspect the location where the quake originated Amy discovers and rescues Boomer (Eriq La Salle), a demolitionist whose actions may have triggered the earthquake. From their helicopter they spot the path of the quake and determine that Lexington, Kentucky will be hit next. Boomer gives Amy the address of his grandmother who lives in the area, which she immediately relays to the military for assistance. Sadly they arrive too late and Boomer gets to witness the explosion of grandma’s house. Much of Lexington is also affected, but they are not of direct concern to Amy or Boomer.
The pattern of chasing the quake as it destroys medium-sized cities without major landmarks continues as the Lane family is motored around from one site after another. The quake is not specifically after Amy, but it conveniently shows up to casually menace her loved ones. The danger eventually passes and Amy lives happily ever after with an understanding of how important and difficult love and science truly are.
The cast of Megafault is surprisingly solid as Brittany Murphy (still a working actress) headlines this epic tale on her slight frame. Bruce Davison (Willard) effectively delivers scientific babble that allows the plot to progress and Murphy to take charge. Eriq La Salle (Jacob’s Ladder) updates his resume and continues to sleepwalk through life wearing an expression that resides somewhere between confusion and disappointment.
The budget appears slightly higher than the usual direct-to-video offering and the movie was shot on 35mm film and received a professional studio sound mix. The company also welcomed the staff and vehicles of the local Red Cross and a medical helicopter. The standard low-budget production values are on display, with creative set design and using a ceiling fan to simulate the helicopter’s rotary blades. Money was also saved in the casting of extras as many of the same six people are seen running from destruction in numerous cities across America.
In telling this epic of mass destruction while focusing on the needs of an individual, director David Latt succeeds in bringing a warm heart to some moldering material. Disaster films generally assault audiences with too many characters to care about, but Megafault manages to keep the cast important to the story, even at the occasional expense of logic.
The guys running The Asylum (David Michael Latt, David Rimawi and Paul Bales) have a distinct formula that enables them to guarantee satisfaction. Style over substance is a go-to mantra that shapes their entire body of work. The insightful commentary track reveals how the spectacle is most important and plausibility comes second. These guys are simply out to entertain and while they often fall short of the goal, they continue to try and they get a little closer with each new adventure.
Video and Audio:
The DVD provides a decent 1:78 anamorphic transfer that brings out nice detail in the picture, with strong blacks and rich colors. There are not any noticeable edge enhancements or compression issues.
Audio options include a pretty solid 5.1 mix that utilizes the surrounds, adding an extra punch to the on-screen antics. A 2-channel stereo mix is also provided.
A feature-length commentary with members of the cast and crew is both informative and entertaining as production tales are shared with minimal lapses in content.
The 17-minute behind-the-scenes featurette A Crack in the World is better than the average fluff piece, as it covers the daily production as a video diary and includes comments from the majority of cast and crew.
Trailers are provided for the main feature and a handful of other titles from The Asylum.
The Asylum succeeds with their knock-off presentations called Mockbusters, but their real strength resides in the original productions. Movies like Megafault will take the familiar elements of countless disaster movies and force them all into a 90-minute time frame guaranteed to please some of the people some of the time. If these original works happen to coincide with the theatrical release of a Hollywood disaster flick like 2012, then hopefully the masses will make room for one more disaster on their shelves.
You can purchase Megafault at Amazon US.