2012: Ice Age (2011) poster

2012: Ice Age (2011)


USA. 2011.


Director – Travis Fort, Screenplay – Victoria Dadi & Paul Sinor, Producer – David Michael Latt, Photography – Alexander Yellen, Music – Chris Ridenhour, Visual Effects – Joseph J. Lawson, Production Design – Vicky Chan. Production Company – The Asylum.


Patrick Labyorteaux (Bill Hart), Julie McCullough (Teri Hart), Katie Wilson (Julia Hart), Nick Afanasiev (Nelson Hart), Kyle Morris (Logan), Chacko Vadaketh (Divya), Cedric Scott (Senator Hopper), Ted Monte (Gary Morganson), David Light (Roy Larkings), Sean Cory (Lieutenant Colonel Sinor)


Greenland is rent by massive volcanic eruptions, causing a glacier a thousand miles long to split off from the mainland. In Maine, climate scientist Bill Hart and his wife Teri are seeing his daughter Julia off to the airport for her first semester at university in New York just as Bill receives a call from a colleague in Greenland, reporting what has happened. Moving at 200 miles-per-hour, the glacier heads down the eastern US seaboard, bringing Ice Age conditions and sub-zero temperatures with it. Bill, Teri and their teenage son Nelson set out driving through the chaos to New York to rescue Julia. As New York City is overwhelmed, Julia and her boyfriend Logan seek refuge.

The Asylum is a US company that has been prolific in producing low-budget genre films since the mid-2000s. They essentially patented the Mockbuster – cheap films made with titles that resemble high-profile releases in the hope that viewers won’t look too closely. Aside from that, they have also made a reasonable output of Gonzo Killer Shark Films, culminating in the bad movie hit of Sharknado (2013), as well as other monster movies.

Since the early 2000s, there has been a considerable output of low-budget disaster movies made for the Syfy Channel and other cable outlets. (See my essay Disaster Movies for a full listing of these). The Asylum has made a number of these low-budget disaster movies with the likes of Titanic II (2009), 100° Below 0 (2013), 500 MPH Storm (2013), Airplane vs Volcano (2013), Asteroid vs Earth (2014), San Andreas Quake (2015), Geo-Disaster (2017), Oceans Rising (2017), Arctic Apocalypse (2019), Apocalypse of Ice (2020), Asteroid-a-Geddon (2020), Collision Earth (2020), Meteor Moon (2020), 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse (2022), Moon Crash (2022) and Titanic 666 (2022). Indeed, this was the third of three films they made designed to exploit fringe theory claims about Mayan predictions of the year 2012 apocalypse – 2012: Ice Age was preceded by 2012: Doomsday (2007) and 2012 Supernova (2009).

From this point onwards, The Asylum’s in-house visual effects have gotten markedly better. However, 2012: Ice Age was still made at a point when the company was dependent on decidedly ropy effects. As a result, the assorted scenes of the volcanic eruption, the massive glacier moving towards the continental US and fighter planes trying to bomb the glacier look cut-price. Given that the film has a large-scale plot that involves quite a few of these scenes, it comes out as being cheap (or at least a film with a more epically sized grasp than its’ budget is capable of pull off). There are all the usual plotting melodramas of a family struggling to reunite through the chaos.

A frozen New York in 2012: Ice Age (2011)
A frozen New York

The other issue might be one of plausibility. Now, I am no expert in earth or climate sciences so some of this is guesswork on my part. The reason glaciers are frozen is because they exist in cold climates – near the poles, on mountainsides. Certainly, a glacier the size we have here is not going to immediately thaw out as it moves into a warmer climate – in real life, there are examples of icebergs and chunks of polar ice cap falling off and drifting equatorwards.

On the other hand, an adrift glacier (even one a thousand miles wide) would not cause an instant ice age, including creating sub-zero conditions that freeze people on the spot as they are running down an alley. A displaced glacier may make the surrounding area a little colder but a large chunk of ice doesn’t bring polar weather conditions with it. What it would do is acclimatise to the weather in its vicinity and eventually thaw in the same way that a glass of ice water if left out long enough warms up to the median temperature of the room.

The other weird question is – how the heck does a glacier end up moving at 200 miles-per-hour? Surely the only possible thing that would propelling it would be tidal forces but such a speed seems highly unlikely. At one point, Patrick Labyorteaux, who is supposed to be a meteorological scientist, is asked this and responds: “I don’t know. I don’t think anybody else knows either.”

2012: Ice Age would be the one and only film credit for director Travis Fort. Given that Fort has no prior credits of any sort prior to handling this film, there is a good probability that this is a pseudonym for somebody.

Trailer here

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