The Giant Claw is a film that I saw quite a while ago so this review’s been living on the backburner. It’s not particularly noteworthy, but at the same time the film does really succeed on all of the fundamentals of making a giant monster film. You’ve got a solid cast, a good monster, and excellent writing throughout. It’s probably one of the better American monster films and yet you just won’t remember it much when you’re done. After all, why watch this one when you can go check out a Godzilla film with Rodan?
The film starts off with Mitch test driving a plane. He’s more of an electrician than a pilot, but he likes being in the air. Unfortunately he sees a giant monster and alerts the government so some pilots scramble to stop it. This leads to one of them vanishing and everyone blames Mitch. They believe he was making things up. They start to sing a different tune once more pilots start getting knocked out of the sky. Now the real question is whether they can even stop this monster!
I liked the monster’s design. He looks like a giant rooster and has quite the appetite. You should hear the way he crunches up the competition! The film does a good job of introducing this bird as a serious threat and he really does terrorize the world. When you think about it, that’s why a flying Kaiju is the scariest creature of them all. You can’t escape a winged menace and you certainly can’t corral it.
Meanwhile Mitch is a pretty good main character. He’s immediately introduced as a bit of a rebel. Since he doesn’t work directly for the army he is able to get away with a lot more like driving crazy and talking back to the government. Mitch does have the bad tendency of getting awful sulky very quick though. Everyone tends to hurt his feelings and he always starts out talking tough but ends up losing the verbal battle by the end. He does do a good job of trolling the heroes at the end when the machine seemingly blows up though. He didn’t mean to troll them of course, but it worked out just right so he played along. Considering the stakes that was definitely impressive.
It’s just his bad luck that everyone is pretty skillful at arguing in this film. It came out in a time when the writing was absolutely dynamite for these movies. I wasn’t surprised in the slightest to see that this was the case here as well. It really lets you get into the film and fully appreciate the drama and story. There isn’t a very large cast as it’s really just Mitch and the heroine. Sally’s a good character as well and does come up with the best plan in the film. Everyone else forgot that there were cameras in the area that could spot the bird. Of course, Sally was in the best position to realize this since it was her project which involved the cameras. It was a good way for her to contribute and in general she does a good job here. She doesn’t faint or anything and is always right in the thick of the action with Mitch. She even uses a gun herself which was definitely nice. She’s a pretty good shot as well.
Now you may be wondering which side I was on, well I was definitely rooting for the giant bird. The humans end up shooting his eggs to prevent the birds from multiplying and in that moment I knew that the bird was the only creature who deserved to win. The baby birds in the eggs didn’t ask for any of this. As for the Giant Bird, it’s definitely pretty emotional when it goes down for the count. It did a pretty good job and took down a lot of opponents, but in the end the army was just too much for it.
There is one really random scene where a bunch of teenagers show up in a car and start mocking Mitch. Naturally they’re all quickly eaten, but the scene just comes out of nowhere. It’s so random that it would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. I don’t think the scene is meant to be for laughs of course, but you definitely knew that the teens were gonna be in trouble as soon as they showed up.
Meanwhile, the army definitely looks good even if they are slow on the uptake by the end. Even after Mitch is proven to be correct and there is a giant bird murdering everyone they still try to act tough. When Mitch comes in with a plan the general immediately interrupts him, starts talking about how there’s no time for nonsense, etc. Did he not remember that Mitch is the one who was trying to talk to them from the start? It seemed to be a bit much. On the whole the army did look really good though. I do like how they’re all down to business and have a pretty gruff exterior as they banter with the other characters. They’re definitely not to be trifled with and while the army does get wrecked for a while they did put up a good fight. (After all, the Giant Bird has a full anti matter shield so there’s not much you can do about that. Definitely a cool power btw)
Overall, The Giant Claw is a pretty solid film. As I mentioned, it really succeeds in all of the fundamentals so that guaranteed that it would be solid. It doesn’t really do anything all that special and it’s pretty basic, but that’s why execution is always so important. If the film is weak at anything it just does have a bit of a rushed climax. Once they get the tech to stop the barrier and confront the bird it’s all over as soon as it has begun. I suppose without the shield the bird isn’t all that strong so it makes sense, but I would have liked for it to have fought them off a bird more. All films have to come to an end at some point though so I suppose it makes sense. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I would recommend changing that. It’s not a well known monster title, but as long as you like the genre you should definitely be able to get behind this one.