Earthquake - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Earthquake Reviews

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½ October 24, 2014
One of those hokey disaster films from the 70s with an all-star cast. In this one a big earthquake levels Los Angeles, leaving cardboard and styrofoam debris everywhere.
½ September 20, 2014
Earthquake is yet another disaster film in the long line of 70's disaster films. My girlfriend is actually a big fan of this genre (along with killer animal and killer bug movies), so I'm made to watch a lot of these, and they're always entertaining. This one has another interesting cast, which includes Charlton Heston, Lorne Green, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Fred Williamson, and Marjoe Gortner. This one was kind of special because when it was released, it was released with a new process called Sensurround, which involved rumbling the seats of the auditorium in which it played. This actually allowed it to be nominated for an Oscar, which it won, shockingly. The movie rises to just below mediocre standards, but there's loads here to keep one interested if one is so inclined. It's not an overly terrible movie, but it is shockingly dated and pretty uneven tonally, mainly because of Marjoe Gortner's character. A pretty decent watch, overall.
July 14, 2014
A cheesy and fun all star disaster movie.
Super Reviewer
½ June 21, 2014
Decent disaster film, Earthquake continues the tradition of disaster films that became so popular during the early 70's, except now it's an earthquake that it's the disaster, and it is a film that is quite predictable in what the filmmakers try to do. The film has a good cast, but it never realizes anything truly entertaining, and quite frankly, of all the 70's era disaster films, Earthquake is among the weaker ones, With The Poseidon Adventure being the best of the genre. I really expected more out of the film, and though it was entertaining at times, the script's reliance on genre clichés really brought this one down a bit, and the performances were surprisingly average despite some very good talent attached to the project. This film might be enjoyed by fans of other disaster films of this period, but I've seen better overall and this one just doesn't end up being anything really good. Overall it's a decent affair that could have been much better. Earthquake doesn't break new ground in the genre; it does what every other disaster film has done, and it is fairly predictable. Don't go into this film expecting a truly entertaining film, this is no different than every other genre film, but the script suffers due to a lack of real tension, and the cast here just doesn't deliver anything that stands out among other genre films. I would recommend other films in the genre such as the one I stated earlier in this review. Earthquake could have been good fun, but it simply never really delivers anything truly entertaining, and overall the cast, despite having some good name here, are simply wasted on a lacking script. Earthquake isn't horrible, but it never is a good affair either. This is the type of film that you watch when you have nothing else to watch.
½ March 14, 2014
Decent 70's disaster movie from the mould of "the towering inferno" and "Poseidon adventure". There's lots of destruction and plenty of entertainment, but the plot goes down some ill conceived avenues (psycho army guy) that simply overruns the length. Still maybe worth a look though.
½ December 22, 2013
Poseidon lite, made with Lego bricks, papier-mâché and Star Trek type rolling around. Just a bit rubbish really.
½ December 18, 2013
You know, I think I'll start things out by borrowing Charlton Heston's famous quote from the 1968 classic Planet of The Apes and apply it to the movie I'm currently writing about. "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty quake!" ahh, couldn't resist. Heston is just one of the big name stars featured (a large cast takes precedent over this film) in Earthquake, a 1970's disaster flick that depicts the biggest, most destructive natural disaster to ever hit the city of Los Angeles.

Of course you know what I'm talking about. The title of the film says it all. It is a somewhat effective exercise in that there is a strong sense of realism for its subject. "Quake" shows mass destruction and carnage in a way in which I believe things would actually go down in a crisis situation. Truth be told, its got spectacular special effects that surely don't need the CGI stuff. But I'm not gonna sugarcoat it for you; this is a very depressing movie. Call it cinema of the antihero kind if you will. The characters in Earthquake are mostly unlikable. Most of them don't have many redeeming values and the ones that do have them actually die. Added to that, "Quake" doesn't have much of a happy ending. In fact, it doesn't really have an ending at all. You don't really know if everyone is truly okay, who really survived, and who didn't. The movie leaves the question opened that maybe the plight of everyone involved might suffer another small aftershock or tremor after the credits roll. Alas, this is something that is left up to the viewer's imagination.

When you watch this 1974 picture, you'll find that it is split into three standard acts. This first is character development, or should I say getting to know the whole cast (George Kennedy, Ava Gardner, and Victoria Principal just to name a few). The second act is the earthquake sequence which for me, is the most effective part (it lasts a good ten minutes, it's brutal and graphic in detail, and it's very well done). Then there is the third act which shows the aftermath of destruction (or aftershocks, hint hint) and how the people in the city deal with the sadness of L.A. in ruins.

Another aspect you'll notice when watching Earthquake is how the MPAA ratings board was so forgiving in handing this thing a PG rating. Along with the graphic violent images that accompany the film (a handful of people perish in an elevator scene and it's a doozy) there is a lot of adult themes (mild drug use, suggested inappropriate language, adultery, attempted rape) that would ultimately disturb or turn off a lot of younger viewers in the PG rated crowd. Then there is the cringe worthy moments that truly don't belong or fit. I mean this in the strongest way. You got a cameo of who I think might be Walter Matthau, getting drunk at a bar and falling asleep at every possible moment. He says things like, "where can I get a drink in this place?" and calls out random actor's names (Peter Fonda for example). When the quake hits and everything is being destroyed around him, he continues to drink his whiskey shots and act like a buffoon. It's a comedic element thrown in and an unnecessary one at that. Also, after the strongest jolts of the quake, when everybody is dying and suffering in a random L.A. hospital, there is a clown character that goes around and tries to make people laugh by doing clown tricks. Believe it or not, there are actually people laughing nervously. I almost had to turn the DVD off. It's the movie equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

While I'm a sucker for disaster movies in general, I am going to give a mixed review on Earthquake. It's effective in the special effects department but that doesn't compensate for a mediocre script and less than stellar acting. Truthfully, it's hard to care about the people in this movie even when harmful things happen to them. They aren't underdeveloped, they are just unlikable. I don't know if this was the director's vision, you know to make something that's not by Hollywood's standards. But nevertheless, this method doesn't bode entirely well on screen. As I said earlier, the script is problematic in that while it's heavy on detail and protocol for people involved in a natural disaster, there is an emotional center missing and it costs this film a shot at greatness. I guess it's frustrating when you have to imagine what happens to a character when a scene cuts away right before learning their fate. An example would be Richard Roundtree (playing Miles Quade) driving his motorcycle away from an exploding dam of water caused by the seismic burst. Right as the gushing water threatens to drown him, the camera cuts to something else and we never see or hear from him again. Then there is the character of Walter Russell (played by Kip Niven). This guy discovers the threat of the quake, tells his superiors (including the mayor) to warn everybody and then that's it. 30-40 minutes into the film and we also never see or hear from him again. This, along with the cringe worthy moments mentioned earlier in the review, make it very difficult to garner my recommendation. All in all, you desperately root for this film to be great, you really do. But you surrender to its misguided approach. And that's the kiss of death for me as a movie critic.

With all that being said, there is a positive note to observe when watching this past box office blockbuster. No one and I mean no one, looks cooler in dark sunglasses than the late Charlton Heston.
November 14, 2013
I have to admit it...I love watching disaster films. This one has everything in it but the kitchen sink, and that was just because I missed seeing it among the destruction that this movie brings on! Even by today's standards, the visual effects are pretty good. I was even more blown away by the fact that Mario know, that "Godfather" author, was one of the writer of the screenplay. Like most disaster films, this one is not subtle....thank God for that! Shut the brain off for 2 hours and enjoy.
½ October 16, 2013
A ridiculously bad one dimensional film that's really fun to watch for all the bad reasons.

However excluding bad acting & non relatable characters this film has some terrific special effects that are incredibly convincing & much been than the over saturated CGI films of today.

My favourite bad moment hands down was the scene when staff flock into an elevator (as one does in an earthquake) and it plummets 30 floor you hear these screams then animated blood splatters on the camera classic!

This is a tragedy of film re: acting & story telling but it's fun & easy to laugh at...
October 15, 2013
Charlton Heston in yet another 70s disaster movie, some of the film, especially the rescue from the tower block after the shock is very Towering inferno, but the special effects are very good, Must have taken quite a bit of work to build all those sets, Ava Gardner is an added treat as is Richard Roundtree, Even if his acting skills out number his clear ego, enjoyable film built around the cast, And will that Dam burst? Nobody does 70s like this , it is a genre piece to cherish
October 14, 2013
a solid script and a all star cast and good special effects. a good film though a bit of a let down
August 11, 2013
einer der klassischen 70er katastrophenfilme
½ May 27, 2013
A mediocre movie that doesn't work because of lazy writing, cheesy situations, and lopsided performances.
May 19, 2013
Saw this movie on Fri I must say for its age it has weathered well plenty of action
½ May 15, 2013
A classic 70's disaster film.
April 22, 2013
could also be interesting but the stories that form do not develop properly
April 17, 2013
This is a tough one to love among the disaster genre. Ava Gardner caracter as
Lorne Greene`s daugther was hard to take and the Mario Puzo screen play was so cut that I wonder what was originally in that. The sen-surround effects should`ve been a great experience at the time and I`ve decided that I love all the disaster movies from the 1970`s, therefore, this one is no exemption at all.
December 7, 2012
Could be worth watching. Will find and devour with my eyes!
½ December 1, 2012
This got bad reviews?? This is the epitome of camp classics. Probably the most entertaining of all the 1970s disaster flicks. Pure fun!
½ November 24, 2012
I think if we were back in 1974, I would have loved this movie. However, watching it now I wasn't that impressed. Watching this I felt it had some 'made-for-tv' qualities to it.

I think the fact that it had such a great cast, carried it through.
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