Meteor (1979)
MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Martin Landau
Extras: Theatrical trailer

With its ever-growing film library, MGM has access to not only a large number of classic films, but also to a large number of star-studded movies from the 70s and 80s. Now, one of these films has been making its way to DVD, the 1979 doomsday film ’Meteor’ by Ronald Neame. Starring Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard and Henry Fonda, this is one of the bright examples of late 70s science fiction, in which life on Earth is threatened by an approaching meteor from Outer Space. The USA and Russia have to overcome the boundaries of the Cold War and unite their nuclear forces to destroy the threat that could wipe out the entire planet.

MGM Home Entertainment is presenting ’Meteor’ in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio on this DVD in a transfer that is not enhanced for 16×9 televisions. The transfer exhibits quite a bit of grain and occasional blemishes, and it is obvious from the presentation that the film could have used a restorative clean-up. The colors in the presentation are well defined with deep blacks and good highlights, but it constantly exhibits a slight over-emphasis of red tones. Slight signs of edge-enhancement are evident in select scenes and given the mediocre quality of the source material, the DVD is constantly struggling for visual quality. Despite the fact that the transfer is running at a rather high bitrate, the image shows signs of pixelation and color smearing almost throughout.

’Meteor’ contains a mono audio track in Dolby Digital. Without being remastered, the audio sounds very thin and breathless. Although noise and distortion are at a minimum, the track’s limited frequency response that does not contain any notable low ends gives the track a very harsh and dated quality. Especially during the passages where music is used to enhance the drama, this is overly apparent, as the orchestra is reduced to a tinny horn section.

’Meteor’ is a great entry in the series of 70s catastrophe films, fully in league with the likes of ’Earthquake’, ’Towering Inferno’ and such. Beautifully acted, well written and with good effects for the time, ’Meteor’ was a crowd pleaser back then, and it still makes a good impression today on this DVD, although it has to be noted that this film could use some digital remastering and a high definition transfer.