Blu-ray Review: Meteor

STUDIO: Kino Lorber | DIRECTOR: Ronald Neame | CAST: Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Henry Fonda, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard, Richard Dysart
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 9/16/2014 | PRICE: DVD $19.95, Blu-ray $29.95
BONUSES: trailer
SPECS: PG | 108 min. | Science fiction thriller | 2.35:1 widescreen | stereo

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

Meteor, one of the last flicks in the Seventies cycle of disaster movies, is a remarkably bad one—silly, poorly executed and surprisingly boring, with even the “disaster” bits failing to deliver.

Meteor movie scene

A rogue rock hurtles towards Earth in Meteor

The 1979 film’s storyline about a miles-wide meteor on a collision course with Earth was re-imagined with more pizazz in 1998’s Armageddon. But where Michael Bay’s (Pain & Gain) movie makes a b-line for the action, Meteor, directed by Ronald Neame (Escape from Zahrain), gets bogged down in the politics of the Russia and America plotting a joint operation to fire nuclear missiles at the fast-moving rogue rock. This includes manly American scientist Sean Connery (sporting an all-too-Scottish accent), worried NASA chief Karl Malden (On the Waterfront), cautious Russian physicist Brian Keith, perky Russian translator Natalie Wood (West Side Story), suspicious U.S. General Martin Landau (Crimes and Misdemeanors), and, of course, President of the United States Henry Fonda (My Darling Clementine). So many Oscar winners, so much talent—all going through some very wooden motions set to Neame’s listless direction and Stanley Mann and Edmund North’s dull screenplay. (Connery actually has one great line: When he’s angrily leaving a government building, he snaps “Why don’t you stick a broom up my ass? I can sweep the carpet on the way out!”).

Meteor’s special effects are awful—and that’s not fun or funny, particularly given that Star Wars, which seriously raised the f/x bar, was already a couple of years old. There’s nary a high-tech bit of trickery to be found here, and that’s okay if a certain amount of thought and craftsmanship goes into the scene. But everything here was created via shaky rear screen projection, super-imposition, miniatures and stock footage—and none of it very convincingly. The only bit that delivers is a climactic subterranean mudslide in lower Manhattan, a fully-rigged sequence that finds Connery, Wood and Malden scrambling through a gooey mudflow. James Bond, West Side Story’s Maria, and Waterfront’s Father Barry up to their ears in glop–now that’s funny!

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.