When the big one finally hits L.A.

123 min     5.9     1974     USA


Various interconnected people struggle to survive when an earthquake of unimaginable magnitude hits Los Angeles, California.


JPV852 wrote:
Not a great disaster movie and a far far cry from The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno (a personal favorite of mine) but some decent special and miniature effects even when the performances were always the best. Still passable 1970s-era entertainment.
John Chard wrote:
This used to be one hell of a town, officer. Earthquake is directed by Mark Robson and written by Mario Puzo and George Fox. It stars Charlton Heston, George Kennedy, Ava Gardner, Geneviève Bujold, Lorne Greene, Richard Roundtree & Marjoe Gortner. A catastrophic earthquake hits Southern California and begins to level Los Angeles... "It's not a negative to have heart in the disaster genre of film" Take yourself to 1974, are you there? Good, now maybe you can appreciate this film a little more? Maybe? Earthquake does suffer from old age, it's a statement we see and hear a lot, but it's a fact that some film's stand the test of time whilst others do not. In this desensitised computer age, it is easy to forget that not all the tools available in film making today were available back when film's like this were being made. So as is my want, I firmly judge this as a 1974 offering, to which it delivers enough entertainment to fully satisfy my genre leanings and entertainment persuasions. The main complaint of many is the long build up of the characters, cries of boring can be read across internet forums and critics blogs. I just don't see it that way, yes we want the quake and the mayhem destruction that will follow it, because really this is a disaster film after all, but is it so bad that the film has heart to go with the crash bang wallop? After the build up of characters, where relationships and character traits are formed, the disaster strikes and it doesn't disappoint, utter destruction as effects and noise fill the eyes and ears, where those with a good home cinema system finding it literally does rock the house. We are then treated to a series of sequences that hold and engage our attention, upsetting passages of human sadness, punctured by heroic surges as Heston and the fabulous Kennedy set about saving life, hell! saving the town even. Then it's the film's fitting finale, where there are no cop outs, the makers choosing to go out with a darker edge than the detractors give it credit for. Some can scoff at a blood splat effect, or rant about some of the acting on show, but Earthquake achieves two important things. One is that it entertains as a visual experience (quality model work), the other is that it doesn't soft soap the devastating effects of an earthquake. As the camera pulls away from a ravaged L.A. the impact is sombre, where reflection is needed and most assuredly surely gotten. 7/10