★★★ Welcome to Normal, Alaska. It's Christmastime. The presents are arriving and the holiday cheer is in full swing, until an unexpected package arrives on the doorstep of the Miller family. The family dog, Moe, begins barking at it immediately, so we know there’s trouble to follow.
What’s inside the package is an ornate snow globe. Inside the glass dome is a replica of the small town of Normal. The wind up mechanism is very intricate and there are a number of buttons on the globe's base. My initial thoughts going into the film were that when you shook the snow globe it would cause a blizzard in town, or there’d be earthquakes, or something of that nature. But that’s not the case. And probably the most unrealistic thing in the film is that no one ever shakes the snow globe at all. Instead there’s a variety of buttons and switches that cause things to happen in the town.
Within the first seven minutes a Christmas tree is on fire and things go from bad to worse as quick as you’d want. The first button push on the snow globe releases, what can only be described as, icy cluster bombs on the town.
The globe is somehow tied to the town clock that begins working mysteriously after the globe is wound up. It’s never really explained what the connection is, and that’s one thing I didn’t like about the film. There are some other interesting ideas that don’t pay off either. The biggest of these is the son’s obsession with a Dungeons & Dragons style game called Dragon of the Crown.
There are too many times the camera puts these miniature game pieces in the foreground, making us believe that they will eventually come into play. I was expecting a dragon to find its way into the globe, or something to that effect. But instead that idea is set up but never delivers. The son might has well been playing Uno.
Mom Miller is a helicopter pilot who flies her daughter and two snowboarders up the local mountain for some, “choice powder.” After the icy cluster bomb attack, this group is one of three who find themselves trapped, and they must all struggle to survive. Of course, once that’s resolved, another button is pushed on the globe.
Mom isn’t that great of a helicopter pilot. When she’s stranded on the mountain, she has to open the Christmas presents she was delivering to find something to cut her daughter free from the wreckage. It’s too bad she doesn’t keep a first aid kit with scissors in her helicopter.
The town name is supposed to be ironic I suppose. Did you know there are five towns called Normal in the United States? There is no Normal, Alaska, but there is a Normal in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Lord of the Ring’s style, the snow globe must be cast into the fires of Mount Doom. Actually the nearest volcano will do, and luckily there’s one just outside of town. In fact, it takes about 25 minutes via snowmobile.
Snowmageddon is a silly bit of Christmas fun. Sure, it's not an instant holiday classic, like Elf or Die Hard, but if you find yourself flipping past the Syfy Channel on a cold winter's night, you could do a lot worse.