The Towering Inferno (Special Edition)
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A dedication ceremony at the world's tallest skyscraper turns into a high-rise catastrophe when a defective wire in its systems-control panel causes an electrical flare-up. Within minutes the gala event turns into a hellish inferno, as a raging fire traps
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First off I want to say that the quality of this blu ray transfer was remarkable. If you love this movie you MUST own a blu ray copy immediately. Plenty of my favorite movies made far more recently than this have no where near the quality.
Well if "The Towering Inferno" proves anything it is that you don't necessarily get great performances from actors even if they are stars. I'm not sure if the star power of this film was the reason for its box office success but even I, someone of a different generation, was impressed with the headline names. None of the acting was great or bad, just unremarkable. I'd say this is probably due to the script. I just didn't find many of the characters all that interesting. I don't typically study performances because it can definitely reveal flaws. What I usually do is just let the work of the actors sort of wash over me not paying too close attention to every inflection and body movement. Having done a great deal of acting myself this is good advice for any actor as well, just comfortably let the performance happen. If there is a strong character it will shine through. None of that here unfortunately and the movie could have used it. Not that it was a bad movie, in fact it was entertaining. I was never really bored with it. I think that speaks favorably of the script writer because I have to say I was not expecting to be remotely entertained. Before I begrudgingly inserted the movie I expected to see several things: fire (check), water (check), people on fire (check), people on fire being put out with water (no), okay put out with jacket or blanket? Check! How about caughing, lots of caughing? Check. People falling to their deaths? Check. I think you get my reluctance to watch this. It performed above my expectations though so I give it that. "The Towering Inferno" is a well made movie. Most of the time the matte paintings and fire seemed pretty realistic to me. They were visibly dated effects to be sure but passable. The movie is not perfect though. There were some unintentionally humorous moments. One example would be a how the fire began. In the janitor's closet was some conveniently placed hazardous materials along with a rather long strip of paper (towels?) placed right where an overloaded curcuit can spark forth a wire right onto the perfect kindling. The best part of this is that after we see the ignition there is a series of events that would take hours to happen and then we come back to find the fire to have moved about five feet. It would be even later before smoke would escape from under the door. Pretty funny stuff and I had about a million jokes running through my mind. Most of the film is not campy but it would have made a killer dark comedy. Having watch so many movies and investing in and participating on both sides of the camera I find that it takes a lot to get me emotionally invested. That said I am still very good at arresting disbelief. So if I notice something like this it's probably very noticeable. I appreciate the effort of the writers to infuse a deeper meaning into the movie. The moral of the story is safety first. Not a particularly profound assertion but they were making a movie about a big building on fire so there was only so much they could do. I will probably forget about this one and I doubt I will watch it again but I'm glad I gave it a shot.
All star cast!
Some unintentional camp. A little more of it and this would have been a pro
The deeper meaning is not so deep (cutting corners on safety to save a few bucks? SHAME ON YOU!)
Shallow characters (firemen are firemen and architects are just architects even if they are retiring soon)
Sure, the movie is dated, somewhat overlong, and the acting a bit wooden - but as shear spectacle (and 70s kitsch) - it kept this viewer interested. Another thing that is very refreshing - real models for the special effects work. Some of these models were built 70 feet high in order to ensure realism. If this movie were remade today - I'm afraid it would suffer from overuse of CGI effects (such as in the recent _Poseidon_.)
One other note - the opening menu on the Blu-ray disc is not to be missed. Someone worked really hard on creating a menu that honors the film. Let the disc spin up naturally without clicking ahead. A very nice touch.
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