Entertainment Today and Beyond

Never Met a Zombi I Didn’t Like…

UNIVERSAL and JJ ABRAMS to produce a new EARTHQUAKE movie and it fuels my love of the GENRE!

According to the Hollywood Reporter, JJ Abrams (Lost, Cloverfield) and David Seltzer, writer of the original Omen, will work together to produce an EARTHQUAKE related disaster flick for Universal. While it’s not being called a direct remake of the 1974 film, starring Charlton Heston and George Kennedy, it will be an ensemble piece with character driven storylines. There has been talk of an Earthquake movie for years at Universal although nothing has ever materialized until now. This news puts a smile on my face as I absolutely love the genre. It’s no secret to the people who know me or listen to me on the radio that the 1972 film THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE is my all time favorite movie. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen it but it’s more than any other movie I’ve ever watched. Gene Hackman’s Rev. Scott is one of the great characters in movie history and the film has the fondest of places in my heart.

As far as the Wolfgang Peterson loose remake of POSEIDON goes, I’ve come to appreciate it as a pure action film although I continue to hope Warner Bros releases an extended cut on DVD that restores the character development that was taken out shortly before the film was released. As far as other films in this genre go The TOWERING INFERNO, which received a best picture Oscar nomination in 1974, is also a great movie featuring two classy performances by Steve McQueen (who received a 7 mill salary – the most in movie history at the time) and Paul Newman. It was the highest grossing movie of that year. EARTHQUAKE was released the same summer and featured a process called SENSURROUND that shook the theater every time things started to shake. I remember standing in line with all the kids in my neighborhood the day it opened as I saw it at the Mayfair Theater in Brooklyn NY which has long since closed.

Overall I really liked the film as Charlton Heston and George Kennedy made for a fun pairing and the effects, mostly done with miniatures and mat paintings, still hold up well to this day. It was at this point that the genre was at the beginning stages of losing its luster starting with Irwin Allen’s poorly received THE SWARM in 1978 (certainly watch-able) and BEYOND THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (despite its silliness I can enjoy it as a throwaway Saturday morning adventure film) in 1979. Both were box-office flops. The nail to the disaster cycle was finally put in the coffin with films like METEOR (truly terrible) and CONCORDE: AIRPORT 79 (ridiculous).  The genre has certainly come back somewhat over the last decade with films like Dante’s Peak (nice chemistry between Pierce Bronson and Linda Hamilton), Volcano (hokey but entertaining), Deep Impact (effective character driven piece), Armageddon (overblown but I loved it), Daylight (a loose remake of The Poseidon Adventure starring Sylvester Stallone – I really liked it) and Day after Tomorrow (terrific first half – okay second half). Beside this news of another Earthquake film, director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) has another disaster film in production entitled 2012 which stars John Cusack, Woody Harrelson and Amanda Peet. So I guess all is well in the world!

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August 13, 2008 - Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | , , , , , , ,

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