Although a precursor to The Day After, this movie had little to recommend it. The plot is on thin ice and the cast is continually falling through that thin veneer of that verisimilitude. The premise is that the sun has a major outbreak of sunspots and the earth goes cold. OK, let's accept that. But it seems like only one scientist thinks that's a big deal. Why? Unlike The Day After, when what is happening is quite complex and the results of rising ice melt, which causes falling salinity levels which causes a change in oceanic currents is much more theoretical and opaque...thus it is not "known" what will happen. In this movie only one thing happens, increased sun spot activity. That's pretty easy to spot and analyze. More than one scientist would be clamoring for recognition. So, if you remove the "need" for this one scientist, the plot melts altogether. But for the sake of argument, you say that you just must have Dr. Kistler, might you not send troops to get him as opposed to telling him to drive (an impossible task) to point XYZ where he will be picked up? There is just nothing about this plot that makes any sense.
The special effects were not very special and the science was unscientific. You can't just huddle around a fireplace with temps of -50, wind blowing into your house through broken glass windows and survive. You can't wander around in a leather jacket in the same weather (and stay alive.) You'll never get a CAT designed for LA to function in -50 temps. Oh, there are too many flaws to list.
As for the collapse of social order, I don't doubt that it might not happen, but not the way this picture depicts it.
There was a point to The Day After. The point was that we are not handling our home planet well and that we don't even try to, or at least those currently in power don't try to. That's accurate.
This movie's point, if it had one, is that govt. is slow to respond to imminent disaster. No kidding.
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