Earthquake received a proper Collector’s Edition. For the first time, you’re getting the original cut and the extended TV cut that NBC aired in the late 1970s. That TV cut was on the VHS I watched for ages, so it was neat seeing it again for the first time. I know that younger readers won’t understand, but many of these longer TV cuts are how so many of us were first introduced to these movies.
Sensurround remains one of my favorite gimmicks. While it was only present in theatrical exhibitions, as it was Universal’s attempt to get audiences interested in the theatrical experience again. Hollywood in the first half of the 70s had to compete with Drive-In exploitation, comedies and disaster movies that all dominated audiences’ tastes. The kicker is that the larger studios didn’t try to make anything better, they just relied on A/V Gimmicks. Sensurround is best known as 4 channel audio. The current model (Dolby Atmos) mixes 12 tracks in works as less of a gimmick.
The 70 mm presentation would max that mix up to 6 channels which is comparable to literally the most basic HD home video release. So, what does that leave? A movie that is often shot like a mix between an FX reel and a 1970s TV production? How many people need to hear Charlton Heston bark orders or Lorne Greene try to save high-rise workers?
I appreciate it as being a product of its time. However, it’s a last gasp of a studio system slowing morphing into the Blockbuster era. Just to think that this movie arrived barely a year before Jaws dropped. History is a fascinating thing when you look back at the timeline. Will you enjoy Earthquake? Sure…if you’re an older viewer.
There is something about disaster movies that strike a point of fancy with people. In case some of the readership hasn’t found out by now, I’m working on a book. Between my revisits to Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno and this film…I’m starting to see a grand idea form.