(On cable TV, August 2011) There isn’t much to be said about Ice Quake besides “made-for-TV science-fiction disaster movie”. From that curt description, everyone should understand that the film’s low-budget doesn’t allow it to match its own ambition. A small number of cookie-cutter characters, truncated action sequences, slap-dash special effects, stupid science, straightforward plotting and surprise-less drama quickly follow. Still, compared to the standards set by previous “Syfy Channel Specials”, Ice Quake is a bit better than most. The quality of the images is fairly nice: some Alaskan stock footage helps, but there are a few BC location sequences that are pretty in their own right. Thanks to the actors (including Brendan Fehr), the characters are somewhat sympathetic despite the ham-fisted screenwriting. More significantly, the film dares to attempt things like snow-bound location shooting, snowmobile stunts, CGI helicopter sequences and a kind of disaster (methane build-up, released in super-frozen geysers) that hasn’t yet been overused on film. It doesn’t really achieve complete success, but the attempt is ambitious and the level of quality could have been far worse. For hard-SF fans, the plot to the film is in the comforting template of scientists seeing a problem, understanding a problem and resolving the problem (also see: the joined-at-the-hip Movie Network/Super Écran made-for-TV disaster film Metal Tornado). The Christmas theme should play big around the holidays. Don’t expect much, and you just may be not entirely disappointed.