Liveblog: Ring of Fire, Part 2 5

All right, I’m coming back for more. Same rules as usual, I’ll be updating the liveblog every five minutes or so. Unfortunately if you want to play at home, I can’t help you at the moment. I’m watching part two on the DVR.

I know you’re terribly sad to be missing this.

WHEN LAST WE LEFT OUR INTREPID ACTORS, a volcano had just erupted because compressed magma (argh what even) and oil look EXACTLY THE SAME to their bullshit made-up technology. And now the entire world might explode because as we know, all volcanoes are actually connected, which is why every time a volcano erupts, every other one in the world does as well. (Wait, that’s not how it works?)

Oh, and the Yellowstone caldera is apparently now part of the Ring of Fire, which is news to everyone except for Dr. Cooper, the hot geologist with an aneurysm that is bad enough to be a dramatic plot device but apparently not bad enough to warrant emergency surgery.

Liveblog commencing in 10… 9… 8….

1057: We start with all the highlights from part 1. This actually proves they could have compressed episode one into about two minutes and it would have lost none of its dramatic gravitas or scientific accuracy.

1059: “What we call an ELE – an extinction level event.” An ELE is also, incidentally, Busta Rhyme’s third studio album.

1100: Man in a suit is very serious.

1101: “Are we going to make it out of this?” “I don’t know.” “Isn’t this one of those situations where you’re supposed to lie?” “I’ve never been in one of those situations before.” Okay, I approve of this dialog between Emily and Dr. Cooper. After which, having exhausted his store of wit, Dr. Cooper collapses. Or perhaps his aneurysm blew out.

1101: Oh, nope, he’s back on his feet. He’s not escaping this miniseries that easily.

1103: I feel like they’re trying to capture a battlefield effect with this volcanic eruption. They’ve got the shelled by mortars bit, but seem to be missing out on the poison gas.

1104: In the school bus where all the kids should be dead, unaccountably none of them are dead. Not even the creepy ginger, who just waves in the most eerie fashion possible at his teacher. I’m starting to think this disaster movie is actually about the apocalypse and Emily gave birth to the anti-Christ. WHAT A TWIST.

1105: The army arrives very quickly these days.

1106: “When they punctured the magma, they pressurized four of the chambers.” I will find whoever wrote that line of dialog, and I will slap them with my physical geology text book. Or at least shake it at them in a stern and incredibly disapproving fashion. Then make them do pushups and recite Moh’s hardness scale.

1107: Actually, that looked like an earthquake, you just assumed it was an eruption. BUT I GUESS THAT MAGMA IS ON ITS WAY TO INDONESIA.

1108: We have paused the disaster for some angsty family drama with Hector’s brother. Moving on now.

1110: “This is no longer contained.” “The Ring of Fire is active.” ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME. (The Ring of Fire, by the way, is ALREADY ACTIVE. You know, like the part where Mt. Sakurajima is currently in the process of erupting? And so on.)

1113: The sketch the construction guy is making of the control room is hilariously bad. Oh boy, Hector’s brother is going to save him using the bad map as a guide. They’re going to go through the deadly mines!

1114: …what the hell is with all the steady cam? The construction guy and his handlebar mustache are trying to have a serious moment and the camera is weaving around like a drunken roughneck.

1115: OH LOOK FINALLY SOME DEAD PEOPLE. Except instead of being broiled by the pyroclastic flow they’re just sort of sitting still and painted gray. Yes, poisonous gases bad, but someone seems to have forgotten the real scary part of being near a volcano is that it gets really fucking hot.

1116: Seriously Cooper, I don’t think the corpses give a shit if you bring back their watch.

1118: Aw, Cooper and Emily hug. Then she runs off to try to find her creepy child.

1119: The security guard and the one protestor wander through the forest and cough up blood. And then we find out that the protestor guy has a terrible memory and like saved Hank the Tank from a bully or something and it’s all very tender  except for the part where they look like zombies and the goddamn camera won’t hold still.

1120: Wow, the inside of that school bus is shockingly spacious.

1122: “It’s looking for another way out, and we’re it.” The magma was like an ancient beast, seeking to escape its cage.

1122: So apparently all the roads are closed except ones that lead into the maw of the eruptions. Cooper looks faintly annoyed by this.

1124: Emily’s douchebag lawyer husband acts as the voice of reason. She listens to him. Any bets on how long that will last, because she is a free-spirited rebel tiger mom in Birkenstocks.

1124: One of the drill techs panics in the tunnels as they crawl out. That’s actually a kind of cool scene.

1125: Caltech’s crystal ball? Is this a thing? It’s a chain reaction to the Aleutians! “Is it all happening along the same trajectory?” I feel like there’s a complete misunderstanding here of how magma moves and the Earth is actually constructed.

1126: “We are indeed facing an extinction level event.” Cooper’s entire job is apparently to intone these words with sufficient gravitas at every opportunity.

1127: Kids: still trapped in school bus.

1132: Wait. Wait. I have to transcribe this for you precisely. Ahem: “All right guys what we have here, well… what Mother Nature has here, is a very sophisticated network of caves and tunnels, very much like veins and arteries. And in these arteries is molten rock where the pressure is constantly increasing. Now, our magma chamber was punctured here, and that relieved some of the pressure, resulting in the eruptions here, here, and here. Unfortunately as Caltech has informed us, that pressure is still building, pushing the magma upward.” “So we need to cap it.” “No, we’d risk collapsing the chamber onto itself and that would only increase combustion.”

1136: Also, he keeps referring to a volcanic event that I can only assume is made up. I’m not sure if he’s saying Yakajima (which does not exist in any way) or Miyakejima, which is a volcanic island in Japan, but its volcano is named Mt. Oyama (literally: the big mountain) and nothing like what he’s talking about has happened. During its most recent eruption (in 2000) Mt. Oyama put out a lot of SO2 gas. But not anything like they’re talking about. So anyway, I guess it’s a made-up bullshit event to justify the ridiculous next plan, which is to use an explosive to somehow open a fissure that will let the magma drain into the ocean (which is how far away through solid continental crust?) and oh my god I think just typing that made me dumber.

1151: Sonic bombs! The army has used them in Afghanistan and this will work great because, as everyone knows, “rock is a great amplifier.” Well duh. All that rock music!

1152: Thank you government guy with no hair for finally pointing out that MAGMA IS REALLY FUCKING HOT.

1155: I like that Peter the environmental guy is live-tweeting this. Because he has the only working internet connection in the hell mouth.

1156: Dr. Cooper says someone has to be on top of the crater to put in the bomb because this is TV baby.

1156: Oh boy, the Titan project. Another made-up thing to justify having a manned lander so they can have more drama. Though I am forced to wonder why they would build a lander for Venus and name it Titan. Just confusing, there. AND OF COURSE DR. COOPER IS GOING TO DO IT. Because that wasn’t obvious.

1159: So now this manned ridiculousness of explosion dropping will occur the next day because the capsule needs to be fixed. I guess the magma isn’t galloping that fast through all those underground veins and arteries.

1200: Kids: still trapped in the bus. Whining levels: increasing. Acting by the creepy ginger: still terrible.

1207: Cooper’s been researching alternative aneurysm treatments. This could be funny.  And Emily looks through his web browser but it’s all aneurysm stuff. A moment for comedy gold WASTED.

1208: Emily and Cooper have a tender, aneurysm-related moment. Which involves a lot of face petting but mercifully no kissing. I actually like their relationship better if it just stays as friendship, because that’s so rare in stuff like this. (Because men and women can like, be friends and stuff. Weird, I know.)

1211: Drill techs: still crawling around in tunnels, with extra drama as they FIND STAIRS TO GO UP. Kids: still trapped in school bus. I’m guessing this is how they padded this thing out to be a two-part miniseries instead of just a movie.

1212: “He’s out there. I know he’s still alive.” “Well, he has your blood.” Poor Emily. She has no blood. But apparently that makes the creepy ginger tenacious and unrelenting HAHAHA no he just stares off into space and contemplates having a facial expression before deciding against it.

1212: OH IT IS THE SIGNIFICANT ROCK. In Dante’s Peak it was a quartz crystal. Here it’s a rock grandpa gave him which is in a bag. Geologists and their rocks. It’s how we show affection.

1215: Drill techs: still trapped. One of the has gotten hurt and I’m not sure how but it’s very dramatic and the other guy keeps yelling at him to breathe. I also keep noticing that Hector’s brother and his friend have oxygen masks as they walk through the mines. I hope they brought enough for everyone if they’re planning to rescue the drill techs that way. Though that would be kind of hilarious. “We came to get you guys… oh. You just asphyxiated.”

1221: Hector’s wife has a scene to remind us she exists and is displeased with everything.

1223: Sorry my comments seem to be getting a bit more spaced out, but there’s a lot of padding going on here where not much happens.

1223: Emily’s dad wants to put her on a jet. All I can guess is that he’s totally forgotten he has a grandson.

1224: Oh wait, there we go. He remembered.

1225: Kids: still on the bus. A random kid wakes up. Yay. Suddenly there is cell phone reception! But the battery is low. Oh script, you playful scamp.

1227: Dr. Cooper says he’s the luckiest geologist ever because he gets to go into the bowels of a volcano. No, wrong. The luckiest geologist ever gets a lifetime supply of beer and the prettiest ammonite ever. (Not even Dr. Cooper sounds excited about this though.)

1228: Ah, the security guard and the protestor are still alive. And now trying to get a ride back into town, unsuccessfully. This may have something to do with the fact the security guard is hacking up blood.

1230: Back to the place where all the dead cows were. Notably, no one is wearing an oxygen mask.

1231: So this is what I don’t understand. How is it that Dr. Cooper needs a special capsule because magma is so fucking hot, but they are basically going to keep him tethered TO A REGULAR CRANE.

1235: AN ELE IN THIRTY MINUTES OH NO! Gosh this is silly.

1235: Where, so there is magma boiling under him in the crater in the field. If there is so much pressure in the magma, why isn’t it erupting right now? Oh there is so much that is hilariously silly about this scene and the geologist in his little tin can.


1241: HULL INTEGRITY DROPPING! PEOPLE STARING INTENTLY AT COMPUTERS! I like the ribbons of lava flowing down into the sinkhole. It’s like the visuals were put together by one of the game designers of World of Warcraft.

1243: Someone has showed up to rescue the kids from the bus! Or it’s actually zombies. You can’t tell, through the shadowy, ash-covered windows. But I will note, I appreciate that Emily sent off the national guardsmen to do this and didn’t go running off herself and then require rescuing of her own. That’s how I expected it to go down.


1246: Oh gosh this is silly.

1247: I love the constant time to ELE countdowns, as if eruptions can be so precisely pinpointed. Because it’s a bad science disaster movie! THERE MUST BE A COUNTDOWN.

1247: I dearly wish Dr. Cooper was saying, “Stay on target! Stay on target!” Put away your targeting computer, Cooper. Trust in your feelings. You’re only trying to hit a fucking magma vent with a bomb. Those things are tiny, right?

1248: Signal lost! Cooper might be dead! The tension is so thick you could cut it with a spoon!

1250: The ridiculous solution detonates. A million nerds facepalm. SUDDENLY THINGS HAPPEN IN THE OCEAN FOR NO APPARENT REASON. And the fictional town and its boring people are saved from the bad geology by bad physics.

1254: The security guard died. The protestor is sad. I attempt to care.

1259: Roll to care: CRITICAL FAILURE.

1301: We’re now in a montage. Even the montage song is quite bad, if you ask me.

1301: Hector hugs his brother. A get a vague tingle in my big toe but do not say Aw.

1303: Oh yeah, and they retrieve Cooper from the capsule. Unsurprisingly alive.

1304: NOW they’re going to operate on his aneurysm like it’s an emergency. My eyes, they roll so mightily.

1305: Emily informs Cooper, as they roll him away on a gurney, that THERE IS A STORY HERE. Are you sure? I’ve been watching this show for almost four fucking hours and I sure haven’t encountered one.

1306: Later when things aren’t covered with ash any more, Emily and Cooper exchange a long, significant look, and Emily smiles. This is how it ends, then. Not with a bang but a whimper.

The sad thing is, this stupid disaster movie is still less horrible than 2012. And had fewer pacing issues. And technically speaking the science was slightly less horrible, because at least the mantle still stayed in one place.

5 thoughts on “Liveblog: Ring of Fire, Part 2

  1. Reply matix Mar 14,2013 12:30

    11:32 (where you transcribed dialogue) – I think my brain just tried to run away in terror.

  2. Reply matix Mar 14,2013 12:34

    So… the kids are the equivalent of the lady tied to the train tracks, yes?

  3. Reply Rachael Mar 14,2013 12:37

    If the old lady has no acting abilities, yes.

  4. Reply Keeley Pollock Mar 14,2013 15:49

    These movies are begging for MST3K or Riff Trax

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