Customer Reviews: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake
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on October 30, 2006
Disaster movie fans will be happy to know that the DVD transfer of The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (originally titled The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake) appears to be a complete and uncut translation of the original miniseries that aired on NBC in 1990. For a made-for-TV movie, the special effects are outstanding, made even more incredible considering the lack of CGI at the time.

Some scenes and subplots cut from the VHS version and the version farmed out for syndication on local stations have been restored, most notably the assassination subplot (featuring Clarence Gilyard, Jr. and the late Brock Peters) and the original ending (featuring Dan Lauria).

The Big One is a better, more realistic disaster thriller than the later 10.5 and 10.5 Apocalypse that NBC most recently broadcast, and has better effects than CBS's more recent earthquake offering, Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, although that movie is pretty good. For the money, getting three hours worth of movie is a treat. Buy this movie!
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on November 30, 2004
My father recorded this movie off of NBC back in 1990, when it aired as a mini-series. This movie got me fascinated by earthquakes. Over the past 14 years, I have been intrigued by the movies plot and special effects, and have watched the movie many times over the years. Over time, the tape has worn out. [...]

First of all I must say, that once again, I am completely amazed by this movie. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest earthquake movies I have ever seen. The earthquake scenes are so realistic and are very well carried out. Let's just say that I would love to see this movie re-released in movie theaters with awsome surround sound!! That would be awsome!

There is a huge chunk of the movie's plot that has been cut out. This version is basically about Dr. Clare Winslow and the Big One she predict. When it originally aired in 1990, we saw the story of Dr. Winslow's family - her parents, sister and cop-boyfriend and his cop-friend, her family friends, even the house keeper and her son and brother where in the movie, as well as a visiting South African prime minister's assassination attempt - all those side stories and plots have unfortunatley been cut out. That is why I have to say that I am a little disappointed.

Know that the major editing in this film doesn't take away from the film at all, for first time viewers, but for people like me who where/are looking for the original movie in its entirety will be a tad disappointed.

All in all, its still an awesome movie to watch!!
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on January 22, 2007
This movie was so good, I don't think I could watch it again. This is not to knock the movie in any way, it's just my stomach isn't made for these movies. That said, the whole movie is very realistic, and the ending is not a feel good ending like Aftershock. So if you like these movies, strap yourself in.
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on April 1, 2007
OK, no Oscar winner(or Emmy winner , as this was a T.V. mini-series) here but a very nice pre-CGI effects try at once again sending Los Angeles rolling around and destroying the dream factory. THe effects are not bad and the actors are very good and the 3 hours roll(sorry had to do it) by very well.
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on March 8, 2007
Joanna Kerns, the lovable mom from Growing Pains, leads us through the "Big One" that hits Southern California. I admit that my penchant for disaster movies biases me, but The Great Los Angeles Earthquake provides a better-than-B-movie presentation of the destruction of L.A. The 'science' appeared convincing enough to bring me into the story. A cross between an educational after-school special and a prime-time disaster flick intended to grab market share, this movie adequately captures the drama surrounding the event, before, during, and after. The underlying storylines moves us through easily and credibly. The special effects certainly date this movie to some degree, but considering its own era, and the fact that the film was made for TV, the effects come off as convincing enough to repel laughter and instead draw in the audience into a horrible realism. I waited years for the movie to be placed on DVD. It's well worth the wait.
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on November 30, 2000
I saw this movie on television when it was a Two Part mini series. Then it was re-released as a 3 hour version. This version is so ugly and short that the movie has no guts to it any more. they didnt even remove the names off the credits of some of the people whose parts they removed. I love the first two versions. If anyone has the origional on tape or the second airing. Not to mention they never mention the father at the end, so his character basically is dead. Awfull cut.
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on March 3, 2003
This is one of the greatest earthquake movies ever made! But I see this version is a cut-into-movie version. Here in the Netherlands I bought the 3 hour miniserie, which is very good.
Great SFX and a great suspense-building story, which isn't boring at any moment!
I've watched this movie so many times now, and still it touches me. Maybe thats got something to do with me living in a city like Los Angeles. I live in HEERLEN, the Netherlands, a big city also built on a fault. In 1992 we had a damaging 6.2 earthquake here, and since then, 3 or 4 quakes per month between 3-5 on the scale. So like L.A. we're also waiting for the big one here, and that makes this movie even more frightening to me. Because this movie shows what can happen in a convincing way, in other words the SFX are super!
Must see movie, but see the 3 hour version, because I can imagine that the movie version isn't that good, like other reviewers said. It's an outrage that this movie is cut! Who has the right to trim a movie?! I always wonder about that, since movie is an art-form. What gives people the right to adjust a piece of art? I mean we don't change a painting of Van Gogh, so why do people change the editing of a movie? It makes me real mad. Anyway stay off the trimmed version and look for the full version.
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on May 2, 2016
This is a long-long-long drawn-out film that doesn’t pay off until the end. The meandering plot takes place over several days; the filmmakers provided handy onscreen notification of what particular day it is. Not that much happens on these particular days leading up to the event in question. It is literally all talk and no action until day 9 when the quake finally unleashes its fury. In the meantime there is a lot of chatter, a lot of backstabbing, teen angst, overbearing desperation they even tossed in an assassination attempt! All the usual ingredients are present and accounted for. The negligible star of the piece (Joanna Kerns as Clare Winslow) has a history of overreacting. She’s accused of being a Chicken Little who once predicted DESTRUCTION that never happened. Therefore her current prediction of DOOM is discounted by all and sundry. All the onscreen relationships are handled in a superficial manner; the real star is the quake and its aftermath. That part of the movie works well. I’m just not certain it’s enough to justify the long wait until it happens.
(This review refers to the 177 minute version.)
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on January 9, 2014
I bought this as a movie to watch with family over the holidays. It was just right. Probably made for TV originally so the level of language and violence are family friendly. Too scary for little kids. Save this for watching with teenagers especially boys. I will watch it again.. I am a B movie junkie.
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on March 18, 2013
this is a good movie and a reminder that we live in earthqake zone, it made me think if I was really ready, my friend borrow it and she express her self as "oh boy I really though I was ready" I need to prepare my girls to have a route in case they are in school, she love it too, and my housband said that it was a movie with a lot of effects it stiil made him aware to alway be prepare and have a rutines practice for evacuation
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