When I saw that Victor Garber was starring in a Syfy original movie "Ice Quake" (9 tonight), my first thought was "Why?" and then I thought, "Hmm, well, maybe it will be a quality production."
I shouldn't have put that much pressure on Garber. It's too heavy a burden.
"Ice Quake" is as cheesy as most other Syfy productions; it works for the network so who am I to judge? It's the kind of movie that you don't have to entirely pay attention to get the gist and missing parts isn't missing much.
In this story, we're in Alaska on Christmas Eve when some strange seismic activity pops up in Russia. (Not sure if they can see it from their windows.) Brendan Fehr plays some kind of military-related expert on that kind of stuff; Garber is his commander. They know something is going on, but it's Fehr's character's day off; he's going with the family (his wife and two kids and Yeti, the dog) to cut down a fresh Christmas tree.
Turns out he picks the spot that's the center of the odd activity (go figure); apparently, the Alaskan permafrost is melting and underneath it are rivers of methane gas that are spurting up violently, causing quakes and freezing people instantly. Worse, if the methane hits the air the whole world could blow up. And then Christmas would be ruined!
Actually, the whole permafrost melting thing is an actual concern of scientists, so there's a bit of a serious environmental message here. There's even a man in the movie who has been trying to tell the government about the methane, but no one will listen...until it's too late.
The movie is definitely B-grade; moments that are supposed to be tension-filled, like when the parents and their children get separated by chasm, won't have you the least bit worried. Frankly, like the kids in the movie I just wanted the dog to survive. Although I did learn some handy tips about surviving snow disasters, like you should run diagonally if you're trying to avoid the approaching avalanche.
Garber comes out of this with his self-respect (and a nice check I hope) and no one else does too much damage to their careers. If you like a good goofy movie, this one's for you. You'll survive it too.