I've had an odd crush on this movie for years. I don't know what it is, but I love seeing the world destroyed either in film or on television. I saw Independence Day on opening night. I got goosebumps when the wind blew after I got out of the theater after sitting through Bill Paxton and Twister (very odd Philip Seymour Hoffman citing there by the way). I saw The Day After Tomorrow IN THE THEATER, and as great as that tidal wave may have been, it didn't compare to the dampness that the lady in front of my buddy felt as he accidentally sneezed all over her. I love when comets are about to destroy earth. I love when gigantic prehistoric beings run amok in large cities. I love a good epidemic. Anything that has a chance of destroying man-kind, aside from maybe the acting of Jeff Goldblum, will always have me anxious with popcorn and soda.
Of all those movies, this one is the only one that makes the viewer ask the question, do you save the long time wife of a failing marriage, or the hot new girl you want to replace her with? Here I go getting to talk about Charlton Heston again, but he chose wrong. Not only because he chose something he no longer loved, but what I imagine was him atoning for his sins, he sacrifices his own life so they both die together. Granted, the ghost he would've created by letting her die would've probably haunted him for the rest of his life, but still Chuck, LOOK UP THE LADDER! Look at that beauty waiting for you! It's the future!
Another thing about the life saving process is the old adage of "women and children first." I see how this works on a sinking ship, because you have loads of time to get everyone on the boats, and if there's not enough room, leave the men to fend for themselves. They're men, that's what they're supposed to do. In a situation like this though, before Charlton can even make his decision, they do the women and children first thing, but time is critical, and women and children are naturally slower, so in essence what you're saying is the lives of the women and children are more important than saving more lives instead. Say there are 100 people and you go women and children first and 40 people make it while 60 die. Sure there will always be some man scumbags that break the rules, but 40 out of a hundo is the number I'm going to go with here. In that same amount of time, and you did a more Darwinian, survival of the fittest, you'd probably save somewhere between 50 and 60. Wouldn't saving more lives be more heroic than saving women and children first?
What was funny about Chuck in this one, aside from his poor decision making, was that he didn't overact in his normal manner. I actually enjoyed his acting in this one, and then I figured out why. Sometimes, when big name actors are cast in a movie that they just do for a paycheck, they mail in their performance. That's what he does here. Only when good actors do it, you can tell. When Heston does it, he actually acts better. It's quite the feat. I can almost see him on the set, thinking to himself, "Well, instead of pretending I'm Moses when I talk to give that crowd a great sense of drama, I'm just going to talk like a normal person because this script just isn't Charlton Heston good." While he's doing this, the director is saying to himself, "Man, I know Heston is mailing in this one, but he doesn't realize he acts better when he does that. Bonus for me. I'm going to keep my mouth shut!"
Lastly, this was the first time I've seen this movie since 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and I want to end this with two points. One, I can't believe this movie invoked memories of 9/11. The building scene though actually made me feel that if someone who was close to that tragedy watched this, they probably wouldn't have been able to watch that part. It reminded me of the footage I saw that day on television. It was surreal that a movie that let's face it, is very cheesy, could bring back such awful memories. Ultimately, that's a compliment to Earthquake. Two, it's funny that it’s 1974 and the mayor of LA is expecting external help from the
"The federal government won't fail us!"
"The federal government won't fail us!"