Time was, you’d know what you were going to get with a SyFy movie. It’d be cheesy, probably a rip-off of another, more well-known movie. The CGI would be pretty ropey, as would the acting and the story line could go either way. Despite this, some of them you sit and watch and think, ‘yeah, not that bad’. Is Atomica one of those?
Atomica stars Sarah Habel (Whip It, Riverdale (TV)) as Abby, a safety inspector who is sent to a remote nuclear power station when their communications go offline. Once she’s inside the facility she finds Robinson, played by Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, Wolverine) who also produced, alone.
He claims that Dr. Zek, Tom Sizemore (Natural Born Killers, Saving Private Ryan), has gone a little crazy and maybe left the facility for good. Abby tracks him down but this just muggles everything as she has to decide who to trust in order to save herself and anyone living anywhere near the nuclear facility.
Let’s address the areas as they appear. First-up, the CGI. Well, Abby wakes in her futuristic apartment, an alarm displaying on the window overlooking the city and she talks to someone on a glass-looking comms device. All fine thus far. She then hops into a tri-copter and even this isn’t a bad bit of CGI, I mean, it’s not Marvel level but it’s not bad.
The acting, well, Habel isn’t bad as Abby, but she doesn’t really seem to put her heart into it. Her performance feels a little underwhelming, which is a shame as she seems like a good actor. The same could be said for Monaghan. It appears like he’s trying to be a bit psychotic, channel his inner Joker, but it isn’t there. He comes off as weird, granted, but I suspect he was going for a little more than that.
Sizemore isn’t in it for long and he too looks like he’d sooner be anywhere else. But then again, if you look at the amount of work Sizemore is doing in 2017 (some 31 productions listed on IMDB), you’ll see he was probably in a bit of a rush to get to his next job!
Kevin Burke is the man who’s put pen to paper, he’s best known for most of the animated Marvel TV series like Spiderman, Avengers, as well as My Little Pony. He’s helped out by Federico Fernandez-Armesto and Adam Gyngell (both their first gig), behind the camera is Dagen Merrill (Beneath, Broken Hill).
The story is dull, there’s no tension built, you’re never left wondering who is in the right or wrong as it’s spectacularly obvious. The ‘final half-hour’ has an element of pace about it but it’s not enough to raise your heart rate.
Overall Atomica is another of those SyFy films that falls short of its potential. The story is there, sure it needed a little fleshing out, some tension added, some zip and zing from the writing and directing, and acting. But there is potential there, it just hasn’t been realised, nor will it be.