It’s hard to do anything new when you’re making a disaster film these days. That means the effects better be good and the calamities happening onscreen should be of epic proportions. When putting together a B or C-type movie in the genre, it needs to be as ridiculous and humorous as can be (think “Sharknado”). SyFy Channel and Anchor Bay’s newest offering, “Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse,” doesn’t meet either of these criteria.
When a primitive astrology carving is unearthed in Peru, it triggers explosive meteor storms around the world. But this is only the beginning: Tsunamis, lightning storms, lava geysers, and giant waterspouts erupt globally, each disaster corresponding to a specific sign of the zodiac. Will a mysterious government agency now kill to hide a shocking planetary secret, or can a group of rogue scientists race against time and carnage to activate an ancient civilization’s Armageddon machine?
“Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse” takes itself way too serious to be looked at as a fun escapist disaster film. There’s no giant piranha or wacky hipsters to add a level of fun to the events transpiring onscreen. All we get is a group of somber scientists running around while trying to keep from getting wiped out by CG walls of water and raining meteorites.
The special effects make it hard to fully immerse yourself in “Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse.” They look even worse than the typical Asylum films… and that’s bad. Sometimes, bad effects can work when they’re meant to be funny. The filmmakers made “Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse” way too solemn for that to be the case.
The typical mix of genre actors that help lure fans in star in “Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse.” Aaron Douglas from “Battlestar Galactica” plays a government agent. I did snicker when he used the word “frakkin’” as a tribute to his character on the epic sci-fi series. Christopher Lloyd plays an eccentric inventor (sound familiar?) who gets about five minutes of screen time before being killed off. Upon experiencing one of Lloyd’s inventions in the movie, a character wittily exclaims, “Great Scott!” These precious moments made my viewing experience at least partially tolerable.
“Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse” is unrated because it premiered on the SyFy Channel. The movie is tame and relatively family-friendly. There’s some violence, profanity, and frightening and intense sequences. It never gets too graphic or gory and I would recommend it for anyone 12 or over who know the difference between real life and make believe.
Some religious folks might be put off by the movie being based on the Zodiac signs. They’re never referred to in the astrological sense. The actual shapes of the symbols and their order are used to pinpoint the different disasters coming next. A couple of the characters insinuate their agnostic or atheistic views as well.
Most sci-fi enthusiasts will find “Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse” to be a waste of their precious time. It would be better spent re-watching “2012” or “Armageddon.” As far as SyFy films are concerned, they’ve made better and wittier ones in the past. “End of the World” comes to mind immediately.
“Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse” is available now on DVD and as a Digital Download.