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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Meteor (1979)

When an asteroid is hit by a comet, the five mile meteor spirals its way to Earth where it will collide in about 6 days. NASA frantically attempts to use a nuclear satellite to blow up the meteor before it reaches Earth but it doesn't have enough power. Even though it's the Cold War, they must reach out to the Soviet Union for help. METEOR came in at the tail end (no pun intended) of the 70s disaster movie cycle. Unlike many of the all star disaster movies, this film doesn't have a multiple character arc. Instead, it depends on its two leads, Sean Connery and Natalie Wood to provide star power while minor characters play the victims so there's not even the suspense of who will survive as these minor characters are played by unknowns and not enough character development so that we actually care about what happens to them. The special effects are remarkably shoddy, utilizing obvious stock footage. It lacks the genuine tension of a TOWERING INFERNO or the kitschy enjoyment of an EARTHQUAKE. There is a somewhat amusing contest between Brian Keith and Martin Landau as to who can give the worst performance (Keith wins by a sliver). The film attempts to avoid most of the melodrama inherent in the genre but what the film makers forget is that it's that very melodrama to wallow in that makes the disaster films work. Without it, we get an earnest effort but who watches a disaster film for earnestness? Directed by Ronald Neame without the finesse he brought to one of the best of the 70s disaster films, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. With Henry Fonda, Karl Malden, Trevor Howard, Richard Dysart, Sybil Danning and Bibi Besch.

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