Nature Unleashed: Avalanche,
directed by Mark Roper
(Nu Image, 2004)

Avalanches are some bad business -- and they're bad for business, particularly if you are building a luxurious hotel at the base of a high mountain threatening to slide off its shelf and come crashing down on top of you. It's a subject that lends itself well to cinematic treatment, and I think this particular effort, Nature Unleashed: Avalanche, really isn't that bad of a film, especially given the project's budget.

The acting isn't all that bad for the most part, and the storyline and subplots are average yet solid. It's not a film I would go out of my way to see, but there are certainly worse ways to spend an hour and a half. And I'm happy to say that this whole disaster goes down without the words "global warming" being mentioned at all.

You can't blame nature completely for this disaster because it is helped along significantly by stupid people being stupid. On the other hand, the catastrophe was inevitable given the geological conditions of the snow peaks in the area. One woman knows just how real the danger is (and just how hard it is to survive an avalanche), but no one wants to listen to her -- not the mayor of the town at the mountain base and certainly not the men putting the finishing touches on a brand new luxurious resort running up fast against a deadline for completion. Even after a series of powerful and damaging avalanches take place, the scientist's warning of a super-avalanche fall on deaf ears for the most part.

Of course, you have to have at least one cliched love story in play, but at least that is complemented by another subplot involving the builder of the hotel and his daughter. One positive aspect of the film is its relative success at maintaining a strong degree of tension up until the very end. There are a series of increasingly dangerous avalanches building up to the proverbial Big One, and massive mounds of soft snow aren't the safest places to conduct rescue missions, either. I can't say the whole story isn't wholly predictable because it is, but the end result is still a decent movie.

review by
Daniel Jolley

8 January 2011

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