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Earthquake Blu-ray Review


“Earthquake” is a top tier disaster movie.

In typical disaster movie form, 1974’s “Earthquake” is an ensemble piece that revolves around a variety of characters trying to survive and rescue others amidst a major disaster in Los Angeles (the titular earthquake). Of course, the big quake isn’t the only disaster that transpires for the cast of characters that include a cop, seismologists, a feuding husband and wife, a mother and son, a psycho National Guard member, a stunt motorbike rider, a young woman, dam workers, and more.

The first half of “Earthquake” is nothing to ride home about as it sets the scene and gives viewers minimal character introductions. Once the big quake hits, however, the film becomes an intense Hollywood disaster flick. Despite its age, the FX and production values remain impressive to this day. The debris filled sets, the miniature work, the practical FX, the set pieces and the matte paintings are the clear highlights of the entire film. If they weren’t convincing, this movie wouldn’t work at all.

“Earthquake” is also notable for having an all-star cast that contains the likes of Charlton Heston, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Richard Roundtree, Genevieve Bujold, Walter Matthau, Victoria Principal, and Ava Gardner. I wouldn’t say anyone truly stands out here mostly because the characterization resembles something you’d see on a soap opera. Still, Heston, Kennedy and Bujold make the biggest impression and have the most likable characters. The 2 characters that I could have done without are Walter Matthau’s drunkard and Ava Gardner as an obnoxious wife named Remy. Both actors are Hollywood legends but Matthau gets saddled with a woefully unfunny drunk bar patron character while Gardner overacts to the max (to put it lightly).

Note: Viewers have the option of playing either the theatrical or the TV extended version which contains 20 minutes of added scenes.


Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p (theatrical) and 1.33:1 1080p (extended). How do they look? The theatrical cut can look a bit rough at times and then crisp in others. The colors are noticeably sharper though. The extended cut doesn’t fare as well here, but it’s a solid transfer.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA tracks (theatrical) and DTS-HD MA Mono (extended). How do they sound? The 5.1 track is effective (especially during big earthquake) and the 2.0 tracks are solid. The DTS-HD MA Mono track, on the other hand, is muted and soft.

* 5 still galleries for deleted scenes, behind the scenes, production and publicity, matte paintings and miniatures, and posters and lobby cards.
* Theatrical trailer, TV spot, and 4 minutes worth of radio spots.
* 3 separate audio interviews with Charlton Heston, Lorne Greene and Richard Roundtree.
* Over 23 minutes of TV scenes along with 2 additional 2 TV scenes.
* “Scoring Disaster: The Music Of Earthquake”- A featurette on the score by John Williams.
* “Painting Disaster: The Art Of Albert Whitlock”- An extra on the matte paintings by Albert Whitlock.
* “The Sound Of Disaster: Ben Burtt Discusses Sensurround”- The title says it all!

May 23, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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