Sunday, February 17, 2013

Meteor (1979)

Meteor is a 1979 science fiction Technicolor disaster film in which scientists detect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and struggle with international, cold war politics in their efforts to prevent disaster. The movie starred Sean Connery and Natalie Wood. It was directed by Ronald Neame and with a screenplay by Edmund H. North and Stanley Mann, "inspired" by a 1967 MIT report Project Icarus. The movie co-starred Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard, Joseph Campanella, Richard Dysart and Henry Fonda.

After a collision between a comet and an asteroid named Orpheus, a five-mile-wide chunk of Orpheus is set on a collision course with Earth, with devastating results expected on impact. While the United States government and military engage in political maneuvering, other smaller and faster moving fragments rain down on Earth. The United States has a secret orbiting nuclear missile platform satellite named Hercules, which was thought of by Dr. Paul Bradley (Sean Connery) of the U.S. It was intended for defense against a massive space rock, but instead, it was demoted to an orbiting super weapon, its missiles now aimed at Russia. However, its fourteen nuclear missile armament is not enough to stop the meteor. The U.S. government discovers the existence of another weapon satellite constructed by the Soviet Union. The President (Henry Fonda) goes on national television and reveals the existence of Hercules, explaining it as a foresighted project to meet the threat that Orpheus represents. He also offers the Soviets a chance to save face and join in by saying they had the same foresight and have their own satellite weapon. Bradley requests a scientist named Dr. Alexei Dubov (Brian Keith) to help him plan a counter-effort against Orpheus.

Bradley and Harry Sherwood (Karl Malden) from NASA have already arrived at the control center for Hercules, which is located beneath the AT&T Building (now known as 195 Broadway) in Lower Manhattan. Major-General Adlon (Martin Landau) is the commander of the facility. Dubov and his assistant and interpreter Tatiana Donskaya (Natalie Wood) arrive and Bradley works at breaking the ice of distrust held by Hercules commander Adlon. Since Dubov cannot admit the existence of the Soviet device, he agrees to Bradley's proposal that they work on the "theoretical" application of how a "theoretical" Soviet space platform's weapons would be coordinated with the American ones. Meanwhile, further fragments of the meteor affect Earth, and the Soviets finally admit that they have the device and are willing to join in the effort. It appears that the satellite has a lot in common with Hercules, it was built with sixteen nuclear missiles for defense against a massive space rock, but it too was demoted to an orbiting super weapon, its missiles now aimed at the United States. The satellite is christened Peter the Great by the joint US-Soviet team working at Hercules control, and both satellites are turned around to aim into space. Unfortunately, smaller fragments and "splinters" still continue to strike many places on Earth, some causing great damage, including in Hong Kong, where a fragment hits the ocean and causes a Tidal wave that devastates the city. On Sunday morning, Peter the Great's missiles are fired off because of its position along the orbit, Hercules's missiles are fired 40 minutes later.

Just after Hercules's missiles are fired off, New York is struck by a large fragment of the meteor, destroying most of the city. Several workers inside the control center are killed when the facility is partially destroyed and the survivors slowly work their way out of the control center by going through the New York subway system, which has become somewhat of a trap due to the East River breaking into the tunnels. Meanwhile, the two sets of guided missiles link up into three waves of mixed nationality, each wave bigger than the last. The Hercules crew reach a subway station filled with other people and wait while others try to dig out. Back in space, the missiles reach the meteor. Two Russian missiles and one U.S. missile have been lost in the journey. The first wave of missiles strikes the space rock, making an explosion. The second wave follows with a bigger explosion. Finally, the third wave hits the meteor making an explosion that fills the screen. When the dust settles, the space rock is nowhere to be seen. Back at New York, the radio stations broadcast news of the result: Orpheus has been either obliterated or shifted to a harmless trajectory. Just then, the subway station occupants are rescued.

The scene then switches to an airport some time later, with a Soviet flag and an American flag on an open hangar door. From here, Dubov and Tatiana say goodbye to Bradley and others, then they board a plane with the Soviet star and it takes off for Russia - From Wikipedia

107 MIN

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