Reviews written by registered user
|2 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I first learned about this on the IMDb, when the trailer was posted on
this site. One of the IMDb's greatest strengths as it pertains to their
trailer postings is that, when you hover over the image, a text pop-up
appears with a short synopsis of what the film is about.
The title of this indie-sounding piece kinda/sorta intrigued me and, seeing as it is very easy to obtain plot distillations via these pop-ups, I hovered.
What I read was, well, pretty damn unnerving. I'm VERY surprised this hasn't been broached yet, even in the forums.
The second half of the saying "what goes up" is, of course, "must come down". Keep this in mind, as the chronological setting for this film is days before the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986 and the where is the late Christa McAuliffe's teaching hometown.
Maybe I'm just being overly sensitive, but given the film's date and place, the title seems rather blasphemous. Can you imagine the awful stares one would've received if nonchalantly murmuring this whimsical phrase right after the explosion? Or how about when the Hindenburg burst into flames or when the WTC towers collapsed? This is a saying reserved for helium balloons and radio controlled airplanes, not when hapless people and iconic objects are obliterated.
Apparently, this was originally entitled "Safety Glass", but was changed to "What Goes Up" shortly before its release. Why? I have no idea, other than maybe shock value.
What's even more perplexing is that the setting could've been practically any small town at any particular time. The Challenger disaster isn't even the focal point. It's just used as, IMO, a cheap gimmick and VERY uncomfortable reminder of when this film is suppose to occur.
I dunno. Perhaps living only fifty miles from Cape Canaveral and LC 39B greatly colors my opinion. I also remember exactly where I was when the news was announced; similar to those who precisely recall where they were when Kennedy was shot.
Which is a shame, because the cast does an otherwise fine job, particularly the kids playing "the shed" misfits. I'm not entirely certain I subscribe to the film's dubious message - that facts shouldn't get in the way of perception - but many of the scenes were very endearing and even a little intense.
Still, I just cannot overcome the horrible title.
I've read the negative reviews in here and am perplexed at the vitriol
directed at this film. "Meteor" is, admittedly, a flawed movie, but still
one with many strengths that deserve attention.
Firstly, it was made in 1979, so the effects are not going to be as stellar as they were in the 80's and 90's. And even then, some of those effects still hold up quite well to movies produced today. The modeling work, especially of the orbiting Hercules and Peter the Great nuclear missile platforms, is extremely impressive. The meteor itself is a big, ugly, and rather scary chunk of scarred rock, reminiscent of the Texas-sized shard in "Armageddon". Yes, some of the effects DO look cheesy (the avalanche being the most frequently cited example), but others are quite striking. At worst, "Meteor"'s effects are extremely uneven, but certainly not completely junkable.
Secondly, unlike "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon", the film focuses on the multitude of hurdles that have to be overcome in order to combat the threat. Personal, politicial, and scientific obstacles are given due screentime, which serves to advance the story rather than bogging it down.
Thirdly, "Meteor" is a far more globalized film, as it pulls together Russian, English, and even Chinese characters into the story. The attempt to track the rock and derive a viable solution to knock it out of its Earth-based trajectory is not solely an American one, but instead a closely coordinated international effort. Indeed, even the U.N. is (briefly) featured.
Fourthly, the film doesn't get mired in the 'human element' (as what happened in "Deep Impact" and "Pearl Harbor"). "Meteor" is non-tangential in that it STICKS TO THE STORY, which is the main interest of the viewer (at least, for me). Yes, there is the attraction between Connery and Wood's characters, but it's generally unobtrusive and the screentime limited.
Fifth, Laurence Rosenthal's score is great! Its boldness reminds me of Poledouris' legendary score for "Conan: The Barbarian". It effectively captures both the 'feel' of space and the direness and immediacy of the situations portrayed.
Finally, I emjoyed the acting. Connery, Keith, Malden, and Fonda turn in sincere performances (especially Malden). "Meteor" is an ensemble production in the tradition of Irwin Allen's best disaster productions.
Don't let the naysayers in here turn you off from this underrated gem. If "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" left you wanting, give "Meteor" a try. Sure, it may not be as polished as those two productions, but it has more going for it than you might think.