Saturday, July 5, 2014

News: METEOR (1979) Coming to Blu-Ray in September

On September 16th, Kino Lorber will be releasing the 1979 American-International disaster "epic," Meteor, on high-definition Blu-ray disc. This Ronald Neame-directed tale of death from above features an all-star cast, including Sean Connery (Zardoz), Natalie Wood, Henry Fonda, Martin Landau (Space: 1999), Trevor Howard, Karl Malden, and Brian Keith.

From the Kino's press release:
A brilliant scientist, Dr. Paul Bradley (Connery) is summoned to Washington by NASA chief Harold Sherwood (Malden), who informs him that a huge meteor will smash into earth in six days. The only chance to destroy the meteor is to work with the Soviets, revealing to them top secrets. But as the clock is ticking, fragments of the meteor split off and come crashing to earth, causing enormous damage. And as avalanches and tidal waves take a devastating toll, Bradley works against all odds to eliminate the greatest threat the world has ever known.
Despite a huge PR campaign and plenty of sci-fi elements, the relatively big-budget Meteor flopped at the box office, and took American-International pictures down with it, but I've always enjoyed it for what it was. It's not a great movie, by any means, but it's entertaining.

As I've noted here on the site before, for what was, essentially, just another Irwin Allen-styled disaster flick, the movie generated a lot of tie-in merchandise aimed at the adolescent Space: 1970 crowd: a Marvel Comics adaptation and Warren souvenir magazine, a Viewmaster reel, even an arcade pinball machine.

The Blu-ray is already available for pre-order online.

5 comments:

  1. I thought Meteor was a great movie when I saw it in theaters back in 1979. Of course I was only twelve and I have not seen Meteor since. Have to admit, I was one of those adolescent Space: 1970 Kids who bought ALL the merchandise available for Meteor.

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  2. My favorite story about METEOR actually comes from the Roger Corman / John Sayles commentary track on BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS. Corman said he was contacted by the producers of METEOR because their special effects team was really behind schedule, and they needed footage of a snow avalanche. Corman had some footage from one of his movies; when his effect team processed it, it came out bright red. They did it again, and this time it was baby blue. Corman figured blue was closer to white than red, and the METEOR folks needed that footage ASAP, so he sent it over.

    METEOR came out and got a complete shellacking from the critics. Corman remembered reading one critic saying that for a big budget picture, the special effects were awful... with the exception of some very effective avalanche shots.

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  3. That avalanche engulfs none other than Sybil Danning! No wonder the critics were impressed.

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  4. I remember reading an article critiquing the film. Not sure if it was in Starlog or some other place, but it made a really good point that the director made an incredibly bad mistake by taking pretty looking actors and covering them in mud.

    There's a lot that is wrong with this movie. It was actually based upon a late 1960s graduate student project done at MIT that considered how to defend the Earth from an asteroid using Saturn V rockets. That was known as "Project Icarus." Good idea for a movie, but the filmmakers didn't care anything about accuracy. Note that they fire fully-sized ICBMs from orbit (you don't need a rocket that big if you are already IN space), and the rocket engines fire the whole time. If a missile engine goes out, it then FALLS off course, which is also nuts.

    But I think there are more fundamental problems with the story, like having Natalie Wood attempt a Russian accent, badly, and putting Sean Connery in some ugly costumes. It's just clunky.

    Here's an article about Icarus:

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/175/1

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  5. I actually had a Meteor trash can. I wish that I still had it.

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