Movie Review: EARTHQUAKE (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

EARTHQUAKE was directed and produced by Mark Robson from a screenplay by George Fox and Mario Puzo and stars Charlton Heston who leads an all-star cast in an epic film about ordinary citizens who must come together in the face of an unstoppable natural disaster in Earthquake! Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Geneviève Bujold, Richard Roundtree, Marjoe Gortner, Barry Sullivan, Lloyd Nolan, Victoria Principal and Walter Matthau also star in the 1974 disaster epic. The music was composed by John Williams.

When the most catastrophic earthquake of all time rips through Southern California, it levels Los Angeles and sends shockwaves through the lives of all who live there. Now strangers must become saviors as the city struggles to get to its feet before the next terrifying aftershock hits! Also starring Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Victoria Principal, Geneviève Bujold and Richard Roundtree, Earthquake combines outstanding performances with Academy Award®-winning sound and groundbreaking special effects. 

The opening scene of Earthquake teases a light tremor that many people notice but are so used to these small non-events that they go about their lives and everyday routines. The warning signs are there but unfortunately they’re ignored. The first half of the movie introduces the main characters and the lives they live, professional and personal. There’s some family drama with a few while others deal with work office woes. Some characters are interesting and some come off as really annoying.

What happens is, Los Angeles finally begins to experience multiple earthquakes that sends the entire city into hysterics and chaos as everybody fights to find some safe ground and stay alive. The movie continues to follow these main characters who are fighting against this natural disaster and some of them eventually come together to help other survivors. The mother of them all strikes and it leaves the city completely destroyed but the survivors are thankful they’re still alive and they’re ready to rebuild. Personally I’d move but that’s just me.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/0-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. Each disc also features some similar artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The theatrical cut has been given a 2K scan of the interpositive and the TV cut has received a 2K scan reconstruction that features over 20 mins of made-for-broadcast footage. The picture and sound quality for this high-def upgrade varies with each cut of the movie. The theatrical version was crisp and clear and the TV cut was good. I didn’t really have any major issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Earthquake ended up being a good disaster movie (not great) with the most impressive part being the who’s who cast assembled for it. What I’ve noticed is that lot of the 70’s disaster blockbusters were able to jampack their lineups with so many familiar faces. Earthquake falls in the same category with other 70’s blockbusters like The Poseidon Adventure, The Hindenburg and The Towering Inferno, all of which had star-studded casts. As far as this Academy Award-winning disaster epic goes, the first half is an extreme slow burn and what makes the movie such a hard watch to get through because of its long run time. Of course, it picks up the pace big time in the second half when Los Angeles experiences multiple earthquakes and one of them ends up being the mother of them all. The cast is the driving force of the movie and I thought they did a really good job with their characters but the most interesting part to me was watching these stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood come together to make this movie. You can’t have a disaster blockbuster without special effects and I thought it all looked great for its time. There’s some fantastic work with miniatures! This Shout Select release includes both cuts of the movie and features a lot of impressive extras. Earthquake will be available on a 2-disc Blu-ray set on May 21st.

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Run Time: Theatrical Cut – 122 Minutes / TV Cut – 142 Minutes

Rated: Theatrical Cut – PG / TV Cut – Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: Theatrical Cut – 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / TV Cut – 1080p High-Definition Fullframe (1.33:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.1 w/Sensurround audio / English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

DISC ONE: Theatrical Cut of the Film

Special Features: Disc One extras include vintage audio interviews, theatrical trailer, a TV spot, radio spots and multiple still galleries.

  • NEW 2K scan of the interpositive of the theatrical cut (2.35:1)
  • Audio Options: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.1 w/Sensurround audio and 2.0
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:52)
  • Original TV Spot (00:57)
  • Original Radio Spots (04:06)
  • Vintage audio Interview with Charlton Heston (03:48)
  • Vintage audio Interview with Lorne Greene (05:08)
  • Vintage audio Interview with Richard Roundtree (04:02)
  • Production and Publicity Still Gallery (09:14)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery (03:14)
  • Matte Paintings and Miniatures Still Gallery (03:20)
  • Deleted Scenes Still Gallery (00:42)
  • Posters & Lobby Cards Still Gallery (09:31)

DISC TWO: Television Cut of the Film

Special Features: Disc Two extras include three new making of featurettes, isolated TV scenes and additonal TV scenes.

  • NEW 2K scan reconstruction of the TV version, featuring over 20 mins of made-for-broadcast footage (presented in 1.33:1)
  • NEW Sounds of Disaster: Ben Burtt talks about SENSURROUND (11:19)
  • NEW Scoring Disaster: The Music of EARTHQUAKE (16:42)
  • NEW Painting Disaster: The Matte Art of Albert Whitlock (10:36)
  • Isolated TV scenes – Play them without watching the TV version of the film (23:43)
  • Additional TV scenes (taken from best available film elements) (07:14 and 01:40)
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