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Countdown to Chaos / Y2K (1999)

Film review: Countdown to Chaos or Y2K (1999), directed by Dick Lowry

countdowntochaosThis movie, Countdown to Chaos (also known as Y2K), is about that famous old wives’ tale of the Millennium Bug. Current rating on IMDb is 3.5/10 so this must be one of the worst pieces of garbage imaginable, right?

Au contraire! (I got the DVD off a French eBayer, see …)

It’s not actually a bad film. Well, not that bad anyhow. I’ve seen some seriously bad films, and they normally make me bored enough to fall asleep – this one at least made the adrenaline flow a little. Not to say that the film is without issues. After all, it’s a TV movie so it doesn’t exactly have the highest budget and credibility is stretched pretty thinly.

There was something about a nuclear meltdown somewhere in Sweden that had me giggling, for instance. Yes, Sweden does have a few nuclear power plants, but the film’s geography was off or something like that. It was a while ago I saw the film, so I don’t fully recall.

So, what’s it about?

Ken Olin being a hero and trying to save a whole bunch of people from disaster. …What’s that? That’s not the plot? Well, that’s the plot as far as I’m concerned. He plays Nick Cromwell, a guy who IMs his kids because he’s too busy being a computer genius than to come home for supper. He’s worried about the millennium bug.

It’s New Year’s Eve, he should be coming home and then it becomes midnight on the other side of the planet and shit hits the fan. Planes start plummeting from the skies, chaos ensues… and of course, he’s not going to sit there and let America be plunged into the dark ages. No, it’s big damn hero time, because he lives somewhere in the vicinity of a nuclear plant and if that goes kablamm, they’re all dead, and that would be bad.

Also starring: Joe Morton Kate Vernon, Lauren Tom, Zack Ward, Colin Cunningham, et al.

There are some side stories as well, like his teenage daughter wanting to go to a rave rather than be with her boring family, and a couple whose New Year’s plan falls a bit short due to a power-outage. Me personally, I say “meh” to that because Mr Olin looked absolutely scrumptious and the whole “it’s 2009 now and we know what a gigantic anticlimax the Millennium Bug was” just makes it an unintentionally hilarious film. They’re all going along with the “zOMG it’s the END OF TEH WORLD!!!!!!!!111111111!!111!!!” scenario, when in fact nothing at all seemed to happen. It was just like any other New Year’s – the clock stroke midnight and we wished each other a happy new year, and that was it.

So yeah, overly dramatic and laughable knowing what we now know happened (i.e. someone’s toaster somewhere perhaps didn’t quite work and that was about it) but still, I didn’t fall asleep once. So I’d rate it a bit higher than 3.5 out of 10 … but not higher than, say, 5/10?

Which in terms of this blog would make it a nice ol’ 3 out of 5 IMs.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) where she lives with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted on the way.

2 thoughts on “Countdown to Chaos / Y2K (1999)

  1. I watched this movie on TV 1999 and – beeing an IT-guy who likes low-budget disaster films – instantly added it to my collection. Sadly my equiptment back then was not really top of the notch so the recording is stamp-sized with barely understandable audio. I knew the movie only as “Countdown ins Chaos” (the german name) and “Y2K”, but the latter is used in a lot of titles so no luck finding a dics at amazon/ebay/… Thanks to your article i found a french distributor who still got the disc in stock – thanks!

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