Nikola Tesla was an inventor and an electrical engineer who discovered and patented the rotating magnetic field, which is fundamental to the theory behind most alternating-current machinery. He died in 1943, leaving behind a host of unpaid bills. If only he’d known how valuable his research really was.
Tesla’s theories are instrumental in forming the premise of Final Frequency, a quirky science-fiction thriller that takes some old movie and novel stand-bys and turns them into a tasty little cinematic stew. For instance, Tesla is said to have experimented with a death ray he called a “teleforce” back in the 1930s that was supposed to be a superweapon to make an end of war.
Final Frequency takes that idea and uses a variant of it for a sonic weapon that can control minds and fault lines. Take that, and throw in the age-old idea of something that can’t be allowed to Fall into The Wrong Hands and now you’ve got a plot. Who will get to it first?
Esther, a PhD student, has detected seismic activity in Los Angeles. Given that the city is in a well-known earthquake belt, that’s hardly news. But these tremors are “unnatural” — vertical instead of horizontal — and she has figured out that they are capable of knocking down skyscrapers, just in time for an important G20 Summit of world leaders that L.A. is hosting.
She takes her suspicions to Professor Conrad, her teacher, and apparently she isn’t the only one who thinks he may be able to unlock the mysteries behind it. When she goes to find Professor Conrad again, he’s missing — but his home and office have been ransacked. He left behind a recording outlining all of his suspicions — that the guy financing a research project into Tesla was killed, that the bad guys are after a notebook that contains Tesla’s research, and are using sonic rays to get it. The notebook must be protected at all costs, lest it fall into the proverbial Wrong Hands.
Conrad is kidnapped by the bad guys in an attempt to shake it loose. Esther has got to find him and enlists a gang of cheesy misifts to help, including a deaf brother who suffers from PTSD triggered by tremors, and a goofy computer whiz. From that point on, with all that’s at stake, who do you trust? Will they find the professor? Will they find the notebook?
It’s a family-friendly thrill ride to the finish, and the safety of Los Angeles — and maybe even the world — hangs in the balance. We award it the Dove-approved Seal for All Ages.