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After a series of small tremors in Los Angeles, Dr. Clare Winslow, a local seismologist, pinpoints the exact location and time of when the long awaited earthquake--"The Big One"--will strike southern California. With this information, she must battle city officials to release this information to the general public. Also, she hopes that her family is out of harms way when the quake strikes. Subplots show how other families and people cope with the the tremors that strike before the impending "Big One." Written by
John R. Price <email@example.com>
Unfortunately, there was never any such thing, scientifically speaking, as a "good" earthquake movie. Though located smack in the middle of Earthquake Country, Hollywood has reflected the unfortunate ignorance of millions of residents. Most of the monster quakes that devastate Los Angeles in the movies are on the San Andreas Fault, 50 miles from downtown at its closest approach--again, parrotting the common myth that this is where the next "Big One" will come from. "The Big One" is a refreshing departure from this illconcieved mold. Though by no means a great movie, it zeroes in on the fact that there are faults criss-crossing the Los Angeles Basin that could cause major damage without being a "monster." In many ways, it was an unintended preview of the Northridge earthquake in 1994--the movie's quake was centered on the Elysian Park fault, which is a blind thrust fault that runs under downtown Los Angeles, while Northridge was also on a blind thrust fault under the San Fernando Valley. Though the seismology "details" were typical movie fare--foreshocks, unexplained geologic occurrences, and a doomsday prediction by a scientist that everyone else tries to silence (or at least ignore), it does demonstrate that something like this could happen in a much more believable scenario. It is not a "great" earthquake movie, but it is certainly an improvement.
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