Earthquake appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Dated and problematic, this became an erratic presentation.
Many of the image’s problems stemmed from digital tampering. Superficially, the film came with lots of grain, but this never felt natural.
Instead, I got the impression the transfer went through noise reduction and then added phony grain to seem “film-like”. It didn’t work, and the project came across with a “digital” impression.
This impacted sharpness. On the surface, it offered decent accuracy, but it came across as hyper-defined, with obvious edge haloes through much of the film.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized. Print flaws never became heavy, but I saw more than a few specks and marks, with some flashing/flickering at times.
Colors turned into a relative strength. Even with the “grain”, the hues tended to feel reasonably vivid and warm, with a natural palette.
Blacks appeared fairly dark and dense, while shadows usually worked well enough. Some “day for night” shots inevitably felt a bit murky, but those didn’t become a substantial concern. This wasn’t a terrible presentation, but it felt inconsistent and flawed.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it provided an inconsistent soundscape. Much of the material felt monaural, and for the movie’s initial 50 minutes or so, it rarely broadened other than to display fairly good stereo music. A few environmental effects used the side/rear channels, but the front center dominated.
Once the earthquake hit, matters opened up, as the violent action used the five channels pretty well. After that, the mix showed superior spread and speaker usage compared to the first 50 minutes, so expect a reasonably involving soundfield the rest of the way.
Audio quality felt dated but fine. Speech came across as a little brittle, but the lines remained intelligible and acceptably natural.
Music showed nice range and impact, while effects boasted pretty decent punch. Bass response felt warm and full, and other effects appeared acceptably accurate, though a little distortion crept in at times. Still, this was a much better than average mix for a film from 1974.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio showed obvious improvements, as this DTS-HD MA 5.1 track was much more involving and impactful than the dull mix on the DVD.
Visuals offered the usual boost from DVD to Blu-ray, so the latter brought superior colors and clarity. That said, it seemed likely that the Blu-ray just recycled the DVD’s transfers, so any improvements came from format capability. This ended up as a less than satisfactory image, even if it did top the DVD.
As far as supplements go, we get none. There’s not even a trailer to be found here.
My seven-year-old self loved Earthquake, but my 52-year-old self disagrees. Slow, clunky and campy, the movie only appeals to my nostalgic side. The Blu-ray comes with erratic visuals, very good audio and zero bonus materials. Though not the worst of the 1970s disaster flicks, Earthquake lacks thrills.
To rate this film visit the original review of EARTHQUAKE