It's Christmas Eve and Emily Webster (Holly Elissa - Polar Storm) wants the family to do some traditional stuff, not always easy as her husband, Michael (Brendan Fehr - Wrapped Up In Christmas), is a military geologist who doesn't know the meaning of "day off" and their teenage daughter, Tia (Jodelle Ferland - Pictures of Hollis Woods), would rather be with her friends than her parents. The only one who is up for the holiday stuff is their young son, Shane (Ryan Grantham), who, when they go into the Alaskan wilderness, packs enough gear for a fortnight. But it seems that Shane's eagerness may come in useful when due to an ice shelf collapsing in the Russian Arctic shockwaves from the Ice Quake hit the region and lead to a whole series of natural disasters which put the Webster family in deadly danger. But it is not just the Webster's who are in danger as a methane explosion threatens to destroy the planet unless they, with the help of Michael's superior, Colonel Bill Hughes (Victor Garber - The Music Man), can stop it.
The opening of "Ice Quake" is either going to make you smile or grimace as we see Santa on a snowmobile! It turns out Santa is actually part of a military geologist team who was meant to be playing Santa at a community event but has had to head up to the mountain to place some sensors with a colleague. But there is more because lo and behold a crack forms in the snow between them, something which you may have seen in a ton of other disaster movies but here we get a bit of a switch up on the obvious, a frankly predictable one as one of the men leaps across the crevice. The thing is that these opening scenes are indicative of "Ice Quake" as the movie is predictable but with some amusing elements.
So in many ways "Ice Quake" is the combination of two types of movies as we have the family stuck in the wilderness but then combined with a threat of global disaster with all these natural phenomena such as ice geysers, shockwaves and avalanches. As such you know what to expect to a certain extent with scenes of running from avalanches, sustaining injuries, arguments between the family and so on. You also have the typical late night TV movie special effects which are not believable and alongside them you have an abundance of tongue in cheek dialogue.
That is a key point with "Ice Quake", and with all these types of disaster movies, as anyone watching one of these made for TV disaster movies expecting logic, realism, good dialogue and decent performances let alone stunning effects need a sharp shake as none of them are ever great. But in their own way they are entertaining, no scratch that they are amusing as you groan when bad dialogue is delivered with in this case Victor Garber getting the lions share and you groan even more when a crack in the mountain looks like someone has been busy with their home computer to create the effect.
What this all boils down to is that "Ice Quake" is exactly what you expect from a disaster movie which has been made for TV which in truth means you are either going to love it or loathe it. But this one, whilst formula driven, has a few nice surprises which makes it entertaining, well entertaining if you are not already loathing it.