Having sat at (and eventually under) this very desk just over two weeks ago when the 5.4 Chino Hills earthquake trembled its way through my fair city, my first reaction upon hearing that J.J. Abrams would be making an earthquake disaster movie was: "Ugh, no thanks." Seeing the lights above you sway violently while you're enveloped in an unnatural rumble that's loud and quiet at the same time kind of kills any desire whatsoever to experience it in THX or Dolby. Then again, the memory of the quake is still pretty raw; my stomach still flips whenever a big truck rumbles past our building. Maybe months down the road when the film is in theaters and my nerves have settled, I'll want to flock into a crowded L.A. theater with two puny exits (that it takes ten minutes to get through even when you're not panic stricken) to find out what the creative minds of our time believe will happen when the Big One actually hits. Ugh. Maybe not.
Though Abrams will be making the film for Universal, it will not be a remake of the studio's 1974 flick Earthquake. Nor will it (I hope) employ Sensurround. Like his last disaster release Cloverfield, the story is being kept tightly under wraps, though -- also like Cloverfield -- will feature personal relationships at the heart of the story. It is also my hope that Universal springs for a steady-cam for this project, as no amount of Dramamine could get me through his last one.
A definite upside to this project, though, is that even if Abrams sets the film in San Francisco, it may deter people in other parts of the country from moving to the fault line-strewn left coast -- thus further bringing down the cost of housing. Personally, before experiencing the 5.4 quake, I was waiting for a six-pointer and mortgage reform. The latter and a nice 2010 blockbuster might have the same effect -- without scaring me shitless.