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This gripping 1979 drama about the dangers of nuclear power carried an extra jolt when a real-life accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania occurred just weeks after the film opened. Kimberly Wells (Jane Fonda) is a TV reporter trying to advance from fluff pieces to harder news. Wells and cameraman Richard Adams (Michael Douglas, who also produced) are doing a story on energy when they happen to witness a near-meltdown at a local nuclear plant, averted only by quick-thinking engineer Jack Godell (Jack Lemmon). While Wells and Adams fruitlessly attempt to get the story on their station, Godell begins his own investigation and discovers that corporate greed and cost-trimming have led to potentially deadly faults in the plant's construction. He provides evidence of the faulty equipment, which could lead to another meltdown (the "China syndrome" of the title), to the station's soundman to deliver to Wells and Adams at a hearing on nuclear power. However, on the way to the hearing, the soundman is run off the road by evil henchmen, leading Godell to realize that his own life is threatened, possibly by his bosses at the plant. Driven to the edge of a breakdown, Godell takes over the plant's control room at gunpoint and demands to reveal his findings on TV. The plant's management, however, has other plans, and the facility itself is becoming dangerously unstable. Whether or not you agree with the film's clear anti-nuclear bias, its sobering message and riveting, realistic story and performances are still difficult to ignore.~Don Kaye
All I can say about this film is just to see it. Great acting, terrific story, pinpoint acting and scarier than all get out because it has almost actually happened. Just a chilling film that will intrigue the mind and spirit about our infrastructure and bureaucracy. The PQ is nothing major but does well with stable colors, some minor grain spikes but resolves well and nice detailing with the AQ adequately capturing the dialogue nice and evenly with the rare instance of music popping up sounding good as well. I wish there were more to the extras, such as a commentary by Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda, or an extensive documentary about Three Mile Island incident and the making of this film, but whats included is still highly recommended. There are two making of featurettes lasting nearly an hour and some minor deleted scenes and trailers. All in all, a total must see film!!!!
This is a great thriller/character-driven drama with outstanding performances from Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas. It has an anti-nuclear slant but is still engrossing and enjoyable regardless of your position (or if you even have one).
The Blu-ray picture is sharp and clear. It also comes with 2 behind-the-scenes features, though I wish the special features included deleted scenes.
This film came out around the same time as the Three Mile Island disaster. Features three terrific performances by Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas. Highly suspenseful, and remains topical even today. Great film.