The Philadelphia Experiment (2012)
The experiment that never should have happened....
An old movie redone as a SyFy original movie? How could this possibly go wrong, am I right? Hahaha, jokes aside, this is kind of accidental (I had meant to rent the original, and silly me got this one instead), but I haven't shied away from SyFy original movies before and I tend to get some form of amusement from them. The real question is will this boat movie sink like the Titanic, or will it be as electrifying as a Tesla coil?
Science is great! A upside down shot takes us to where our story is taking place - a science lab as the big-wig lady boss arrives. She immediately establishes herself as a total jerk, and we are given the establishing shot of "this scientist is too smart for his own good" stereotyping as well as their cool little experiment. You see, they are working on some invisibility camouflage for the military that does it's job through a pretty intense application of electricity via Tesla Coils. After some little gags, we get to watch the glorious experiment ramp up and go off just as planned, until they try to turn it off. Suddenly, things start seeming to escalate further instead of shutting down as intended. As everything continues to escalate, the car once again disappears and our scene changes to an airport.
At the airport, a pilot is surprised (and blown up) by the sudden appearance of a WW2 naval ship in the middle of the takeoff strip. Back in town, a local cafe worker is going about her day when her cop boyfriend arrives. They playfully banter back and forth about getting married until he has to respond to the call about a random battleship in the airstrip. After arriving, he makes the mistake of touching the ship, which causes him to teleport inside. Meanwhile inside the ship, a survivor of the ship's predicament goes about looking for anyone that was on the ship with him, only to find them melded into the ships walls.
The man from the ship finds his way outside (through teleporting by touching the wall, much like the cop in reverse), and we get the expected "everything is strange because I've come from the past and am suddenly in my future" shots that we've come to know these days. As things progress we find out the original science team is led by a blood thirsty "violence is the answer General" stereotype in woman form, the man from the ship is the grandfather of the cafe worker and somehow is tied to the ship and it's electrical oddities. It's a pretty straight forward plot, anybody should be able to follow it even with it's strange little science experiment gone wrong.
Effects-work here is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a SyFy original. It's not so terrible that it hurts the eyes, but it's also not so well done that it's hard to tell what is or isn't real. The shimmering of the ship as it phases in and out of it's current location is quite enjoyable and reminds me a lot of light dancing off of a pool - however that is probably the highlight of the effects reel. Given it's made-for-tv status, violence is pretty toned down, with blood-lite from any gun wounds and most of the deaths being chalked up to on screen explosions.
Characters are reasonably laughable. It's not so much the acting is terrible - as the acting is actually pretty well done in some parts - but rather the characters all seem to be rather generic in their stylings. The female leader is, as mentioned before, the character whose response to everything is either "kill it" or "blow it up" instead of listening to the scientist who is painstakingly more aware of the situation than she is. The scientist is the "know everything" kind of character, down to the scene where he actually gets told to "repeat that in english."
Soundtrack has some decent moments to it's score, and the effects or other on-screen audio is pretty audible and clear. The plot is there, even if it feels as though the movie under-executes it somehow. Although they may not be super top notch, some of the effect-heavy scenes does have me wondering how said scenes (if they exist) fair in the original film, and indeed I may go back and watch it at some point because of that.
When it comes down to it, I can't recommend this to anyone who doesn't already enjoy SyFy original movies, as this easily can fall right into that type of movie. There's enough to this movie that I don't feel as though my time is wasted, but if I am to revisit this at any point in the future, I'll be more tempted to watch the original and see how it differs from this tv-intended remake. Watch the trailer to get a feel for quality if you think you're interested, otherwise I'd say you can skip this one. Cool idea for a plot, it's just not the best execution.