Nancy Banks-Smith (who has been going for even longer than me, and is still hilarious and razor-sharp) on The Flood, part 1 of which I watched last night. I shall not be watching part 2 (half because of the execrable adverts, trailers and sponsor messages, longer than the actual segments of movie, and half because I've it all before in Towering Inferno and various other disaster movies of the 1970s, down to every last cliche and detail):
"Tom Courtenay, however, saw it all coming. Suchet is typically decisive. "No man on the planet knows more about storm surges! We Need That Man Here!" Courtenay, who saves the film and London single handed, plays an absent-minded professor, slightly vague, almost vacant, but, on his own subject, precision itself. As he tells Suchet: "The danger areas include the Docklands Light Railway, 68 underground stations, 30 mainline stations, three world heritage sites, eight power stations, dozens of museums and art galleries and, of course, Whitehall." His daughter-in-law, the lovely Samantha (Jessalyn Gilsig), runs the Thames Barrier. She is Canadian, because Canada put up some of the money. His son, Rob (Robert Carlyle), is the head of the reassuringly named Defiant Engineering.They are all estranged from each other but the flood should fix that. That's what biblical floods (and towering infernos and crashing aircraft) are for."
"………"We must prioritise," said the police commissioner briskly. There's a woman who obviously lives in Kew not Lewisham. The royal family are airlifted to Balmoral. You really would expect them to know better by now. The Queen is well aware that it is her job to stand on Buckingham Palace balcony in a Burberry, waving to encourage her surviving subjects, who are hanging on to the Victoria Memorial for dear life."
Well, quite: the special effects may be good, but you need a decent plot (it was, truly, terribly predictable and clunky) and characters: here all, without exeption, terrible. Joanne Whalley, the only good thing about it, was wasted; the two "loveable common men" (straight from Pirates of the Carribbean, one, I am told, actually) were awful: they and the other actors delivered unbelievably hammy lines with varying degrees of lack of conviction. But the main issue was, why didn't everyone just go upstairs, instead of sitting for an hour in a car in the ground floor of a car park until the wave hit them, etc? Truly dreadful – not to mention reinforcing my prejudice that it is always a mistake to watch live TV, especially on a commercial station.