Samuel Z. Arkoff, legendary schlockmeister of American International Pictures, was never so bad as when he tried to be good. And he’s really trying to be good on this (relatively) big-budget disaster of a disaster pic: Ronald (POSEIDON ADVENTURE/’72) Neame to meg; Sean Connery leading a near All-Star cast (mostly past-peak names & tv guest stars); and a barrel of lousy special effects. (Lousy for the time, too.) You see, there’s this giant meteor tumbling toward Earth and only a combined effort from the USSR and the US of A can stop it. If only the superpowers could trust each other before Time Runs Out. (Hey, TIME RUNS OUT . . . a great title for next year’s disaster pic: make it WHEN TIME RAN OUT/’80; with bigger stars in an even worse movie.) Back to METEOR, where the space weapons & ships look like Revell Plastic Models to better match the sets, the flatly lit cinematography and the stilted dialogue on a story without proper set ups. (Isn’t mankind always somehow to blame on these things?) Oh well, Natalie Wood, looking older, but quite lovely in very little make-up, gets to speak lots of Russian, her native tongue, while director Neame, who can’t be blamed for those Tinker Toy rockets, gets to restage some POSEIDON-like escapes in a mud-flooded subway. They even manage to blow up the World Trade Center a couple of decades before the fact. The only creepy/scary thing in here.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Connery returned to James Bond in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN/’83 after following this fiasco with another five or six under-performers. NEVER was never much liked, but made heaps of dough and stabilized his career for a final two decade run.