Countdown to calamity
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 06/23/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"DIRECT SOURCE's DISASTER DOUBLE FEATURE consists of two made-for-television movies in standard DVD cases bundled together with a paper slipcover that's open at both ends. Audio and video quality of these is quite good.
THE BIG ONE: THE GREAT LOS ANGELES EARTHQUAKE was originally a 2-part TV movie that aired on the NBC network in 1990. On its initial release to home video, "Earthquake" was edited down to 106 minutes. The version presented here is the original 177 minute film (four hours minus commercials and filler). The cast is flush with many familiar '80s TV series faces, like Joanna Kerns, Ed Begley Jr., Alan Autry, Clarence Gilyard Jr. and Dan Lauria. In this well-done disaster story, members of the US Geological Survey try to predict whether Los Angeles will get slammed by "The Big One." The anticipated "who lives/who dies?" results are powerful and quite moving at times.
THE SKY'S ON FIRE presents a worst-case scenario: What would happen if the Earth's ozone layer were to become totally depleted? This also-set-in L.A. TVer plays more like a fright than a disaster movie, with its flocks of crazed birds crashing through pane glass and worms and other creepy bugs invading a main character's home. The far-fetched script (that's performed by fairly unknown actors) includes a bomb designed to "eat chlorine" and close the ozone hole.
Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 viewer poll ratings found at a film resource website.
(5.8) The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (TV-1990) - Joanna Kerns/Dan Lauria/Alan Autry/Joe Spano/Holly Fields/Brock Peters/Clarence Gilyard Jr./Richard Herd/Richard Masur/Ed Begley Jr.
(3.9) The Sky's on Fire (TV-1998) - John Corbett/Josie Bissett/Bradley Whitford/Ben Browder/Jo Anderson/Tom Irwin"