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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Meteor (released in 1979) - a disaster movie about a meteor and efforts to evade it - starring Sean Connery and Natalie Wood

Meteor is directed by Ronald Neame and stars Sean Connery and Natalie wood. This movie is one of the last flicks of the disaster movie genre's of the 70's. This movie is inspired by the MIT project Icarus which talks about deflecting meteors by a missile strike. A voice over at the end of the film credits Project Icarus as an inspiration.
It deals with the asteroid which is on the collision course with earth and the efforts of the scientists to deflect it. A meteor five miles in diameter is on collision course with the earth. While the scientists and politicians scramble to contain the threat, the smaller meteor fragments shower down creating wide spread destruction. Soon the two super powers of the cold war era, the USA and the Soviet union have to shoulder the responsibility of averting this threat.
The United States has an orbiting nuclear missile platform in space called the Hercules. The similar platform of the soviets is called Peter the great. Neither the Soviets nor the Americans are willing to admit to their existence.



Soon the US president disregarding the advice of his military think tanks goes on live national television and admits to the presence of Hercules. He urges the Soviets also to do so. These are the only two stations capable of attacking and deflecting the incoming meteor. Soon Dr. Bradley who put the above station Hercules in space is called upon. He calls his soviet counter part Alexei Dubov to assist him. He even agrees to Dubov's suggestion of treating the orbiting missile unit as a theoretical thing since the soviets have not acknowledged its existence. The expert duo reach the head quarters run by commander Adlon to chalk out a strategy to deflect the meteorite. Bradley has an unenviable task of breaking the ice and distrust between the commander and Dubov.
Finally the Soviets admit to the platform's existence. They pitch in with their support. Missiles are launched first from Peter the Great and then Hercules. In the mean time a meteor fragment has destroyed new York with the head quarters situated in the Sony Building also decimated. The world trade center and many buildings are destroyed. People are killed and survivors are trapped in the debris. Chilling moments happen when the survivors have to dig themselves out from the debris with the river threatening to breach the tunnels.
But up above missiles of both the nations in a rainbow coalition meet its target. The director to add to the suspense, times the survivor's heroic rescue and the missile's exploding happening at the same time. In the end, meteor Orpheus is deflected from the collision course and the Earth is saved. Dubov and his interpretor Tatiana Donoskyaya board the plane back to Russia with enormous goodwill.
But this movie generated no goodwill at the box office. It tanked at the hustings and brought down its production house, American International Pictures. It made the dubious distinction of being one of the fifty worst movies of the century.

Meteor (released in 1979) - a disaster movie about a meteor and efforts to evade it - starring Sean Connery and Natalie Wood

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