Plot & Details
The superb, utterly convincing special effects in the two-part TV movie The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake cannot be faulted. Less convincing are the scenes in which the fictional TV reporters, demoralized and in tears, can't bring themselves to describe the extent of the destruction. Part One, telecast November 11, 1990, finds seismologist Joanna Kerns trying in vain to convince authorities that the entire LA basin will be shake-and-bake within a few days. This portion of the drama ends with "The Big One" wreaking havoc throughout Lala-land. Part Two, broadcast November 12, concerns itself with the aftermath, the rescues, the tragedies, and above all the effect the natural disaster has on Kerns and her friends and family. Also appearing in The Big One is Ed Begley Jr. as the one political official willing to listen to Kerns' warnings, and Richard Masur as one of those "I can't bear it!" TV journalists. The video version titled The Great Los Angeles Earthquake runs 106 minutes.