Universal Pictures' big-ticket entry in the early 1970's disaster film cycle has all the carnage one might expect from this sort of film but not much else. The script has the usual fistful of soap opera-styled plot threads necessary for this kind of film but none of them are distinctive enough to truly involve the viewer. Mark Robson's direction gives the film a professional veneer but his pacing of the material is weak, especially in the second half of the film, and the film's flat, t.v.-style cinematography and studio backlot sets give it the look of a hastily-assembled t.v. movie. The lackluster storytelling isn't helped by the film's star-happy approach to casting: for example, Ava Gardner plays Lorne Greene's daughter despite the fact they are only a few years apart in age. On the positive side, the film's earthquake sequence is handled in an impressive, fx-heavy style and the post-destruction of images of L.A. are often quite stunning thanks to excellent visual effects by Albert Whitlock. Schlock fans will also be delighted by some scene-stealing supporting performances, including an amusingly macho turn from George Kennedy as a tough-guy cop and Marjoe Gortner's over-the-top work as a repressed grocery clerk who gives in to his military-man fantasies when the earthquake hits. All in all, Earthquake doesn't really succeed as a drama or an adventure but it might amuse viewers looking for a big-budget trash fix.