A FIRE IN THE SKY (1978)
Article 4564 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jerry Jameson
Featuring Richard Crenna, Elizabeth Ashley, David Dukes
What it is: Disaster movie, TV style
A comet is on a collision course with Earth, and a scientist determines it will destroy the town of Phoenix. Will the public be made aware of the danger, and if they are, will they survive?
There’s a moment halfway through the movie where Richard Crenna’s character goes on television to describe the devastation the comet will bring, and I do have to admit that it sounds pretty apocalyptic. I also found myself seriously doubting whether this TV-Movie was going to have the financial wherewithal to pull off an accompanying special effects extravaganza (the effects involving the comet are less than stellar), and sure enough, the destruction sequence is rather puny. It’s a bit of a shame; it would have been the only thing that could have really pulled the rest of the movie out of its disaster movie cliche doldrums, and given that the print I saw of the movie runs two and a half hours, that’s a pretty long stretch of doldrums. The cast does what it can with the material, but they don’t get much help from the flat and uninspired direction. The final part of the movie is the usual checklist of who lives and who dies, and the survival of one group of people is particularly hard to swallow; if you’ve seen it, you probably know the ones I mean. I wouldn’t exactly say the movie is awful, but it is utterly routine.