Film Review: Meteor

Bring me my sandwiches!!

Bring me my sandwiches!!

What happens when you get an all-star cast, a b-movie writer and lots of cheesy effects together? An absolute cluster mess of a movie that is so mismatched, badly written and poor delivered that it is almost compulsive to watch. Meteor could have gone one of two ways and sadly it went too far to the terrible side.

Released: 1979

Runtime: 108 mins

The Premise

Time for a lovely five-mile wide meteor to go sailing towards Earth. Can we destroy it? Will anyone care?

The Disasters Faced

Meteors, meteorites, mud springs, tidal waves, avalanches, bad Russian accents and bad sandwiches (the horror!)

The Execution

Meteor is a bizarrely paced film where time seems to be spent on entirely the wrong places and at the wrong times. The film opens with an explanation of what the next few minutes happens, a shed load of time is spent watching spacecraft models move in very slow motion and during the lead up to the big event the lead actors decide to eat sandwiches. Much of the pacing is down to the script and not knowing really where to place fine actors to let them entertain you whilst we wait for destruction. You know there’s padding when you have to watch lines being translated. However, the film is not without merit at all, as there’s some good gungey action in a subway later on which did impress me but waiting 100 minutes for 10 minutes of joy is a bit much. There’s also a misuse of budget and footage too. The impressive avalanche sequence is in fact mainly stolen from the film Avalanche itself. It just makes you feel a bit “meh” to everything else when it’s a blatant rip off.

Where is that light coming from?

Where is that light coming from?

The Effects

The avalanche is stolen from another film which is the most eye pleasing but the amount of water that’s thrown down the subway at the end is impressive and rivals Earthquake’s finale (always sewers and subways eh?). However, you then get some of the ropiest effects committed to film. Since when does a meteor make a rainbow colour flash when it crashes into a mountain?! The meteor itself isn’t too bad but is just not the best effects shot when it should be.

Why It’s Worth Watching

The acting is fine, Sean Connery is reliable as always, as is Karl Malden. It’s impressive that Natalie Wood speaks all her Russian lines (apparently she is fluent!) and that makes her character interesting. Aside from that, nearly everyone else is significantly underused. Elsewhere it’s just a cringe fest and so it falls into the “it’s so campy bad its great” category. It’s also interesting to see how it’s stolen plot lines from things like Fail Safe (damn any non Americans) and also how it then in turn has a guiding hand over Deep Impact and Armageddon.

Drinking Game

Each translation you are forced to sit through…

Strangely looking a lot better in stills than on film

Strangely looking a lot better in stills than on film

Best Character

Sean Connery wins by being memorable. There’s little competition in that stakes although Sybil Danning’s skiing and ability to know everyone ever in ski town is memorable for an entirely different reason!

Weirdest Moment

Effects aside, I couldn’t believe that love could blossom over sandwich sharing and by completely being an arse to your lady friend.

Conclusion

Meteor is terrible. It’s got so many holes in the design it should be good for Swiss cheese. However, as awful as it is, you can relish in the enjoyment of how terrible it is! Great for taking the mickey out of, indefensible in its faults, you have to love it really.

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