On the Beach (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

On the Beach (2000)

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Movie Info

The plot, setting, and characters of this 2000 made-for-TV adaptation of On the Beach are generally the same as in the acclaimed 1959 version about a world doomed by nuclear fallout. Even the conspicuous "There Is Still Time" banner -- warning humankind to abandon nuclear weapons -- is there. The similarities between the films are understandable: Their directors (Stanley Kramer, 1959), and Russell Mulcahy, 2000) based their productions on novelist Nevil Shute's On the Beach and used the same scriptwriter, John Paxton, although writers David Williamson and Bill Kerby doctored Paxton's work. Of course, the newer version set in 2006 exhibits updated technology including a snazzy submarine with blinking computers. Moreover, it appends incidental scenes -- like a whole family driving off a cliff -- to show that it isn't easy to face the end of the world. Armand Assante does an okay job as Dwight Towers, the American submarine commander who pulls up at the only land mass not littered with corpses, Australia. Most of the other actors -- Rachel Ward as Moira Davidson, Grant Bowler as Peter Holmes, Jacqueline McKenzie as Mary Holmes, and Steve Bastoni as Neil Hirsch -- also perform capably. However, Bryan Browne is annoying as know-it-all scientist Julian Osborne, who prefers to curse, complain, and drink his way into the great beyond. Director Mulcahy mars the film by distilling end-of-the-world tension into quotidian melodrama in which Towers (Assante) woos and wins Browne's girlfriend, Moira (Ward), and Moira and her sister quarrel over which one was the favorite of their parents. The ending of the film is chilling but mawkish. Departing, it seems, is such sweet sorrow.

Cast

Armand Assante
as Dwight Towers
Rachel Ward
as Moira Davidson
Bryan Brown
as Julian Osborne
Grant Bowler
as Peter Holmes
Mark Pennell
as Pharmacist
Steve Bastoni
as Neil Hirsch
Rod Mullinar
as Adm. Cunningham
David Ross Paterson
as Cheif Wawrzeniak
Allison Webber
as Jenny Holmes
Tieghan Webber
as Jenny Holmes
Kevin Copeland
as Sonarman Swain
Todd MacDonald
as Radioman Giles
Joe Petruzzi
as Lt. Garcia
Sam Loy
as Sulman
Robert Rabiah
as Cook Gratino
Marc Carra
as Cook Walmsey
Bill Hunter
as Prime Minister Seaton
Felicity Boyd
as Lt. Ashton
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell
as Professor Nordstrum
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Critic Reviews for On the Beach

All Critics (5)

A sluggish, uninvolving apocalypse indeed.

September 27, 2001
culturevulture.net

Audience Reviews for On the Beach

I'm left with the same question with this remake as I have for all "Made for TV" remakes of critically well received cinema films: WHY??? Why not simply pay the necessary royalties and show the original film? This one is a FAIL compared to the Stanley Kramer classic. It suffers from all the major afflictions that beset "Made for TV" mediocrity, not the least of which is excessive bloat to fill three hours of air time (plus some) and pacing with fits and starts for timing commercial breaks between significant segues in the screenplay. Get the original from 1959, directed by Stanley Kramer, starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner,. Kramer was noted for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Judgment at Nuremberg, Ship of Fools and Inherit the Wind, all of which were critically acclaimed. It's much better compared to this mediocrity with a second string B-list director and cast, made on a shoestring budget with a short shooting schedule, all of which shows in the result.

John Lind
John Lind

Nevil Shute's nuclear fallout apocalypse got an Australian television reboot in 2000, and its different than the original Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire effort in that there's more Aussie in it, and why not? Its set in Melbourne, yah? More time is spent on the character's motivations, too, and so its more resonant in that regard at the finale, even if it's slower at the start. What's missing (and this is a minor complaint) is Gardner's old-party-girl-world-weariness which added gritty texture to the original.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A gripping film.Updateing itself from the 1959 version.With a running time of 3hrs i never got bored once.And if you can survire the tear jerker end with out a tear or two your a harder man than i.

Brian De Guelle
Brian De Guelle

Super Reviewer

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