7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Creature with the Atom Brain Review


It’s time to look at a film that gets pretty emotional for a lot of characters because the body count is quite high. Characters are going down left and right before the heroes find a way to stop these guys. The Creature with the Atom Brain is a film that’s written pretty well and makes for a compelling movie. It’s one of those films you just don’t see nowadays. I say that a lot for these older films but that’s because it’s simply the case. You just don’t have writing like this anymore which is always a tragedy. The film is a lot of fun from start to finish.

The film starts with one guy swearing revenge on the gang that didn’t help him out when the going got tough. He gets a scientist over and they quickly use this sci-fi thunder formula to reanimate the dead. These bodies now have super strength and since they feel no pain they are bullet proof as well. They aim to take down all of these guys one by one until none remain. Pretty good plan eh? Things hit a snag when Chet shows up and figures out the plot. It’s hard to get people to believe him at first, but he does a good job of explaining and it’s hard to deny the facts after a while. Well, the cops and the army are ready now but can they really stop the zombies?

I always feel like the fighters are slow on the uptake here though. We’ve established that these guys are dead so why even bother shooting them in the chest? Realistically you should be aiming for the legs so they can’t stand well. Even if they can’t feel pain it’s not like they can block out the injuries entirely so if you ask me that would do a lot of good very quickly. Also, engaging in hand to hand with them seems like a bad idea as well. The climax is fun as we actually get a fairly big action scene but they didn’t play the matchup very well at all.

There’s also a higher body count than expected. The entire gang gets wasted and then you also have a ton of innocents taken out. The villains blow up trains, planes, and whole factories. It’s crazy how far it goes before the heroes are able to track them down. In fairness, there’s not much you can do once they’re right next to you with the bomb. People were always slow to figure out they were fake though. I guess they somehow don’t see that the head has been stitched back together? The only thing I can think of is that it’s for the viewer’s benefit and in the actual movie you can’t see any kind of stitching. Otherwise that would make the characters look really bad. In that case I can blame them a little less although the robotic movements + voice would still be a giveaway if you ask me. Hey, I can only cut them so much slack!

Chet makes for a pretty solid main character. He has a lot of good plans and does think things through more than most of the other characters. The only part of his character that doesn’t age well is how he wants to keep the family in the dark the whole time. Even when his wife tries to get in on the conversation he basically tells her to go away. She’s not handled particularly well in the film as we get a random scene where she chokes on a martini. Not sure how that helps anything. I think the writers were struggling with how to write a home scene at this point but not a whole lot of time is spent there anyway. For the most part Chet is always on the case with his partner.

It’s also nice to see everyone teaming up here. There’s no bickering or characters trying to one up each other. The community is in trouble so they all band together and get ready to face off against the villains. That’s exactly how this should go down so it ends up working quite well if you ask me. Part of the fun of the film is how things are always happening. There is quite a lot of action here as you might have guessed. Nobody is really safe and the film adds some tension when the villain breaks into Chet’s house as well.

While the main villain is pretty solid, the scientist is definitely very wishy washy. The guy’s creations have already murdered countless people and now he’s starting to want to back out of this? It’s far too late for this and he should have known that it wasn’t going to end well. Look, if you are going to betray the evil organization at least do so when you are holding the controls. The guy had the power over the zombies so he literally could have had them grab the other villain first and then surrender to the heroes. The problem is that the scientist still wanted to escape so he was probably hoping the other guy would have some ideas. Well, you can’t have it both ways and ultimately that’s why he was doomed from the start.

Overall, The Creature with the Atom Brain is a pretty interesting movie. Zombies can definitely be tricky to deal with, especially when the town was not ready for them in the slightest. It just goes to show that you’ve always got to expect the unexpected. Only by doing this can you really be prepared for the big villains that are to come. I’d be down with a sequel to this. So, if you are in the mood for a solid thriller with some sci-fi elements then this is definitely a movie that I would recommend checking out. While you may be hard pressed to remember any names by the end, the characters themselves are very solid. There is even a bit of a mystery factor here as the heroes try to figure out who is behind this.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Cloverfield Review


It’s time to look at a film I haven’t checked out in a very long time. Cloverfield was definitely not a monster film I enjoyed very much the first time. I thought the party scene took forever to get through and shaky cam has never been my style. It’s definitely a little better the second time around so I’d bump my score up a bit from the first time. Ultimately this film still could have been way better if we had a standard camera and got to see it more from the government’s point of view or one main character. Think Rampage or Godzilla 1998. That said, Clover still has a pretty intimidating design and seeing the Statue of Liberty get taken down is still an iconic scene.

The film starts off with the main characters at a party for Rob. He’s finally got the Vice President job he’s always wanted. So all of his old friends are there including his brother Jason and best friend Hud. Jason is supposed to record everyone giving Rob a quick message but doesn’t want to do it himself so he gets Hud to do it. Hud’s apparently not the most serious person around since Lily has to stress to him that this is serious a few times. Still, Hud gets a few messages on board before the first Earthquake happens. The main characters head outside and get a glimpse of the monster. They all start to head out of the area but then we find out that Beth has been injured and is unable to head out of her apartment. The heroes must head back into the danger zone to rescue her. Will they be able to do this?

So the film’s main gimmick is the classic shaky cam. So Hud’s carrying the camera around the whole film which is how the viewers see what’s happening. Naturally the guy stumbles a lot and while he’s running around the camera also tends to move so it’s not the clearest picture. That makes sense of course in context but as a directing decision I can’t say that it’s a good one. It’s a lot better to have a focused view so you can really get what is happening. Part of the fun in these monster films is seeing the monster break all of the buildings. You can’t help but feel like you are missing most of the action since we’re following these characters. It’s similar to how we missed the first big Godzilla fight in the 2014 film because the guy decided to take the train and we got a big time jump. The gimmick definitely does hold the film back to an extent.

The other main thing holding the film back is the writing which is pretty bad. The characters are all introduced as being very unlikable right from the jump. First you’ve got Hud who gleefully tells everyone who will listen that Rob had an affair with Beth. It’s really none of his business and it’s easy to see why Lily didn’t want him to know initially. He basically proves her right that he’s a pretty bad person. Jason also should have known that telling Bud wasn’t a good idea and it’s not something they needed to know. Jason’s also the one who dumped the responsibility on Hud so that wasn’t good. Marlena is all right, although she’s mostly just along for the ride compared to the others. I’m actually surprised she even went with the group since among them she had the least amount of reason to do so.

Rob and Lily are definitely the best characters here. Lily was at least keeping a level head during this and was one of the first to jump in and fight the mini monsters. She was quick and decisive which is important in a crisis. Rob was also pretty loyal to try and go save Beth amidst all of this. He didn’t handle the party particularly well but at least this was a really good scene for him. If the script were a little better then I think the characters would have benefited from this quite a lot. Instead a ton of language is thrown in throughout which seems to be cliche for disaster films as everyone keeps on panicking throughout.

For the positives, Clover’s design is solid as I mentioned. The destruction effects have also aged pretty well. It’s all very realistic looking and a nice view of how things could be if a giant monster were to attack the city. Certainly it would be pretty devastating and crazy outside. Even if you escaped the borough there’s no way of knowing if you’d really be safe or not. For all we know this is just the first creature of many and you don’t know if the government created it or if it’s an alien. The film doesn’t really answer any of these questions and that’s probably for the best. The mystery and suspense is part of the fun and knowing the answers to these questions would take away from all of that. It was also nice to see the government’s missile strike to try and take him down. It did look like it did some nice damage even if Clover didn’t ultimately go down.

The atmosphere is also pretty good. The film’s pretty bleak and has that end of the world vibe without trying to get too depressing. Hud can over dramatize things at times but that seems to be his core character anyway. The smoke cloud after Clover’s initial attack reminded me of the visuals from Batman V Superman as well. You’ll definitely be interested in seeing what happens next. The ending should have had more if you ask me. There is a brief extra moment if you stick through the credits but I need more intel. They said that the area was formerly known as Central Park so are they saying formally because it no longer exists or because this recording is from way in the future? As I mentioned we do want to keep the mystery so don’t explain it much but give more of a stinger. I want to see a bunch of monsters running around or something like that. Of course, it may have made the wait for the sequel even tougher but it’d be worth it.

Overall, Cloverfield is a pretty engaging film. It does have its weak points which keep it from ranking higher though. The first person camera look just doesn’t work for movies and the writing needed to be better. The film doesn’t drag on though which is good as it’s a pretty quick film that always stays on point. The mini clovers were a little on the weak side since the heroes were able to down them but at least it helped to give them a chance while keeping in the danger factor so that worked pretty well. It’ll be cool if we actually get a sequel to this someday. The various spin-offs don’t really count to me since we haven’t actually seen what happens at the end of the events of this film. Despite the title being thrown around everywhere I feel like the other films don’t have anything to really do with this one beyond some small connections to technically put them in the same universe. If you like a good monster destruction film then this one is worth checking out. It is a unique perspective to see this from the ground level civilians as opposed to a professional.

Overall 5/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Killer Shrews Review


It’s time to look at a classic creature feature film from a long while back. They definitely made quite a lot of interesting titles like this in those days that’s for sure. It’s a pretty fun film for the most part although it hits the usual snags like animal violence. I’ll give the film credit for avoiding having any of this on screen for the most part but I still had to deduct quite a few points. Ultimately within the genre I would say that this one is pretty average. It doesn’t do anything particularly inventive or exciting but I do give the film props for using an animal that hasn’t been done before. There are a lot of animals out there so you may as well give each one a movie.

The movie starts off with Thorne and Rook making it to an island on their boat. They’ve been instructed to drop off a bunch of supplies and then pick up a passenger named Ann. Unfortunately the waters have been quite troubled so they aren’t able to leave til the next day. Rook stays behind to guard the ship and Thorne heads to the locals’ home. Everyone seems to be in a hurry for Thorne to leave and he doesn’t appreciate that. After someone gets murdered and everyone starts to be very cryptic Thorne demands answers. Well, it turns out that the shrews on the island have mutated into giant monsters of sorts. They’ve gone from tadpole size to dog size. This is all due to experiments and as an added bonus they also have an incredible amount of poison in their fangs. A single slash or cut from the animal will prove to be instantly fatal. Thorne’s partner is dead and at this rate the rest of the cast will follow their fate. Can he possibly get to the boat with the others before it’s too late?

The film offers the heroes one ray of hope which is that shrews can’t swim. If the heroes get back to the boat then they will be safe. The tough part is getting there since these animals are so fast and if you make contact with them at any point then you will be doomed. It adds a nice level of danger without making the situation impossible for the heroes. You can also think about how you would have handled it. The final plan is pretty inventive. I would have been a little hesitant because I can picture them nipping at your heels but it was better than just trying to run and gun it through the forest. Everyone always seems to trip over themselves in such a scenario.

The cast can be a bit on the week side though. There are quite a few people at the hut but most of them don’t get much of a role. You’ve got the scientist who is really into his work and barely has any time to really talk to anyone else. He barely gets any scenes but at least the guy is dedicated. Even up to the end he is writing down symptoms. You’ve got Mario who seems like a nice enough guy and at least he didn’t fall for the mindgames. That being said, he still didn’t contribute much. Ann’s father is a pretty big character and he seems reasonable if you ignore the fact that his experiments are part of what got us into this mess at the start. Refusing to leave also puts everyone in harm’s way. Rook was a fun character although he just doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. You definitely feel bad for him since his death was the most tragic. If only he had stayed on the boat.

The real big characters here are the main 3. Jerry is the drunk rival who wants to be with Ann but gets dumped early on. You can’t blame Ann int he slightest since apparently Jerry tried to ditch her for the monsters at one point. We actually see him do this a lot later on as well. The guy is actively one of the main antagonists in the film and doesn’t seem to care that their lives are already in danger. He’s super petty throughout and there’s definitely no reason to like this guy. This whiny kind of character makes for a decent villain I suppose. I would have liked to have seen some characters try a little harder to stop him from locking Thorne out though.

Ann is a decent heroine. She does move on to Thorne rather quickly though so as expected the romance in this film is pretty weak. It all moves at typical Hollywood speed which is just a little faster than how you would picture an actual situation taking place. She could be a little too scared throughout the movie as well. So I definitely wouldn’t say that Ann was a bad character in the slightest but she doesn’t particularly standout either. As for Thorne, he’s a good main character. He stands up for himself against the others and is always pretty prepared. He doesn’t panic a whole lot and quickly assumes the leadership role. He wisely doesn’t give Jerry a gun again until the very end. Honestly at that point I probably still wouldn’t have given it to him because Jerry blew too many chances.

The movie’s very short so you’ll definitely be feeling how quick the pacing is. It works well since no part of the film really drags on. It’s really a classic thriller type of template. The shrews themselves make for a solid threat. They’ve got a nice design and those teeth are definitely real sharp. You do not want to mess with these guys in the slightest. Unfortunately as mentioned in the intro they do tend to go for the animals a bit which does hurt. The horse dies and even when the heroes start to destroy the Shrews that takes some points away because they look like nice enough animals. Ultimately a film about evil animals is pretty much always doomed because it’s just hard to end the threat without ending a few of the animals. The film is about as fun as your average creature feature film but this ultimately holds it to a lower score.

Overall, The Killer Shrews is a fun enough film. It follows all of the usual story beats and executes them well enough where you’re on board the whole time. I was kept entertained as the film went on. The writing was solid so the interactions never got boring either. I like the fact that the Shrews are said to not be able to swim early on in the film because it very quickly gives you a tangible goal for how this is all going to play out. The heroes have a goal and they just have to aim for it. This way the movie never feels aimless as every scene is getting you closer to the next part of the goal. If you really like creature feature films then you should check this one out.

Overall 4/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

War of the Gargantuas Review


It’s time to look at a classic creature feature film. This one is about monsters that I’m not all that familiar with. They look a bit like King Kong but even more humanoid. The movie has a bit of a pacing issue near the end as it feels like they could have shaved some time off, but overall it’s a solid film. You’ve got some good action and the government is surprisingly able to defend themselves pretty well against the monsters. These guys definitely couldn’t go toe to toe with Godzilla, but you can definitely respect their power.

The movie starts off with a sailor getting attacked by a Giant Octopus. He is saved when a monster shows up and begins to do battle with it, but this becomes an “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” scenario as the monster begins attacking the ship. Somehow the sailor survives all of this and heads home to warn everyone else. The cops don’t buy this story for a second, but they become true believers once the monster shows up and starts terrorizing towns. Some believe that Frankenstein has returned, but his creators aren’t so sure. One thing that they do know is this monster must be stopped and stopped pretty soon or everyone will be in trouble. It is weak against sunlight so they will have to weaponize that.

Paul and Akemi are the main characters here. They raised the original Frankenstein who ultimately ended up becoming Sanda. It’s rather interesting that they call him Frankenstein because to me at least the monsters look nothing like that icon. I’m glad the Kaiju ultimately got different names later on. The problem here is that another monster known as Gaira has shown up and he is against the humans. He wants to destroy everyone and is definitely a rather vengeful creature. Akemi wants to protect Sanda but it’s a tough challenge right from the start since he is protecting Gaira. Sanda later realizes that Gaira isn’t on the right side, but it takes a while for that to become apparent.

Akemi is a solid heroine and means well. I’m glad that she sticks by Sanda throughout. She has a more active role than you would suspect. Paul is also pretty solid and does his best to help out, but he isn’t quite as personally invested in the situation. He seems to think of everything as a game with how laid back he is. That could just be his way of dealing with the situation though so that’s not to say that he was completely uncaring about how things were going. He was a good character.

As for the monsters, they weren’t my favorite ones. As I mentioned they look a bit like King Kong, but you could cross that with the Yeti. Together that really makes up the Kaiju pair. There aren’t any real differences between them except that Gaira is evil while Sanda is the heroic one. They are pretty evenly matched and get into a lot of battles. They aren’t extremely durable as the government is able to combat them, but this government was surprisingly high tech. They have a bunch of energy lasers at their disposal and endless rockets. If this was the government going up against Godzilla and the other popular Kaiju maybe they would have had a real shot. Electrifying the water was also a solid plan and they really had Gaira pinned down at that point. It is always a little sad to see the Kaiju on the losing end, but it’s handled well. If anything you’ll just feel especially bad for Sanda at the end.

The writing here is pretty fun and the Dub always makes these Kaiju films even more enjoyable than they would be otherwise. The voice acting is just great. There’s a good blend of humor here while still staying serious when the situation calls for it. The police chief breaking into the room and forcing the guy in a coma to talk was just brilliant. Characters just push themselves through situations and that’s the kind of persistence you need in order to stay alive in these films.

The main cast is really small here, but that’s fine. You’re mainly here for the monsters after all and they appear within the opening 5 minutes. They showed up so fast that I was pretty impressed. Naturally there are still a lot of moments without them, but the humans can hold their own scenes pretty well I must say. There’s also one long song that comes out of nowhere. I can’t say that it was my kind of tune, but I’m still glad she managed to get out of there in one piece. For a second I thought she wasn’t going to make it out in time.

Overall, War of the Gargantuas is a solid film. I admit that it will have less replay value than some of the other Kaiju movies due to its sheer length but it is a good film. I think the best special effect in the film was the Octopus’ glowing eyes. It really made him look fierce and that’s why these Kaiju suits have all aged well. You just can’t beat that level of detail. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then I would recommend changing that as soon as possible. It’s really got everything you could ask for and while it may not ascend to the same heights as Godzilla or Gamera, it’s a great example of what a Kaiju film is. Show this to someone who is getting ready to jump into the genre and needs reassurance that the whole genre isn’t just Godzilla movies.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Varan The Unbelievable Review


It’s time to look at an old classic in Varan The Unbelievable. Varan is a film that you’ve likely heard of if you’re a big Godzilla fan. On the other hand, if you’re not really into the Godzilla mythos then the odds of you knowing about this film are slim to none. It’s a very classic Kaiju film that plays it by the numbers. At its core the main point of the film is seeing Varan take on the humans, but I’d say that it’s a bit weaker than the average Kaiju film. The humans just aren’t that good.

The plot of the film revolves around a guy named Jim who heads to Japan to run some experiments. His tests involve potentially eroding the water supply of a nearby village so he tells them all they have to leave. Naturally the villagers don’t want to just pack up and go just like that so the army has to get involved. They send tanks and a lot of man power for this mission which increases tensions. Jim’s wife warns him that this is a bad idea, but he won’t listen to anyone. By this point his ideas are simply too important to him and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t understand his passion. There’s nothing that can stop him…nothing but Varan!

Varan is definitely a fun Kaiju. For some reason I always thought he looked a lot more like Titanosaurus, but his actual design is still pretty solid. Once he appears the film certainly becomes a lot more fun. He really takes it to the army and shows that he isn’t to be trifled with. Varan also lasts a very long time ad he doesn’t go down until the final minutes of the film. Even then it’s hard to say if they really destroyed him since that’s partially up to interpretation. He did lose though, which does mean he is one of the weaker Kaiju out there. Sure, the humans came up with their own special formula as per usual, but losing to the army is not something you want to do. Humans are pretty creative when they’re in a pack though so it’s no shame to lose to them.

What holds the film back is Jim. It’s impossible to root for him because his experiments were never justified. Why does he have to do them in this lake where a village is depending on the water source? Apparently there were other locations that he could have chosen so by the end it feels more like pride is the only thing keeping him there. He could have easily just picked a different spot when the inhabitants clearly told him to go away.

As the villagers escalate their attacks on Jim and Anna you’d think that Jim would finally consider leaving. Even Anna mentions that she is now scared of what may happen and the police chief hints that Jim should leave as well. Jim does nothing of the sort though so it becomes clear where his priorities are. Even though he manages to have a change of mind by the very end of the film it feels like it is too little too late. By then his character is already down for the count in my book.

The writing is pretty reasonable here. It’s not the best dialogue, but it’ll do. The film’s pretty quick and the pacing manages to keep up so the scenes don’t drag. I wouldn’t call the first 20-30 minutes without Varan boring, but I definitely would freely admit that they could have used a better cast. The action scenes are fun though. It’s pretty dusty in the climax so it can be hard to see, but it’s not like you need HD graphics to see that the government is firing a lot of shots at Varan. He shakes them off for a while, but every creature has its limit.

Overall, Varan The Unbelievable is a classic Kaiju film, but it doesn’t have the same level of charm as the others. It is interesting how different the plot seems to be between the sub and dub versions of the movie though. The character names are super different and the Wikipedia summary for the Japanese version seems like it might as well be a completely different film. I’d recommend checking out the English version if you want to see the impact that Jim has on the story. It may not be a positive one, but it’s an impact nonetheless. I’d recommend checking it out even if it wouldn’t be at the top of my list.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Gorgo Review


It’s time to take a look at one of those old giant monster films that you may have seen back when you were growing up. This monster also looks a whole lot like Godzilla which was pretty interesting. The red glowing eyes make him appear to b quite sinister and we’ve even got a lot of buildings being squashed. It could be thought of as a Godzilla spinoff of sorts and I’d say that the film holds up pretty well. It doesn’t really make any big mistakes.

The film starts with Joe and Sam crashing on an island where they decide to get some fuel and supplies so they can sail off again. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy as the villagers don’t take kindly to outsiders and won’t talk to them. Joe locates the village leader who also refuses to help, but it turns out that this is because he has a vested interest in keeping people away. Joe and Sam quickly blackmail the guy out of some of his valuables and also decide to take down the famed Gorgo while they’re at it. If they manage to beat him they’ll become rich!

I actually saw this one alongside another Kaiju film which I’ll be reviewing soon. They were both pretty similar although I’d say that this one was a little better as we got more monster action. Sometimes with these films you get worried because the monster doesn’t appear much, but fear not! Gorgo gets a lot of screen time and it felt like he got to show up almost right away. Once he does appear he is here to stay so you can look forward to a whole lot of nice monster carnage.

Now, it’s always a little dicey to see humans preparing to capture a Kaiju. For one thing, it shows that they don’t even remotely fear the monster which is definitely not good for the Kaiju’s confidence. Additionally, it should be pretty hard to take down a monster like this. I’m still a bit worried that in the new Godzilla film we actually might see the government take down Godzilla early on only to release him to fight the others once the danger is near. While Gorgo puts up a good fight, he ultimately isn’t able to stop the humans.

Now, in Gorgo’s defense, he’s a monster so it’s not like he knows strategy or anything like that. There is only so much he can do once the humans have a way past his size. Gorgo has a great design and a cool roar. He’s a fun Kaiju through and through so I wouldn’t call him a pushover despite losing. It would have been nice if he could have outsmarted the humans or something, but this isn’t really that kind of film. Not saying that it can’t happen, but that the scenario was pretty unlikely from the start. There is a cool twist involving Gorgo though as nobody ever said he was the only creature out there.

It’s always nice to see a Kaiju team up and this film actually gives us one. Lets just say that Gorgo knows people in high places. The humans probably should have quit while they were ahead. I feel like the movie never really wants you to root for the humans though because it never even tries to make them all that likable. They just want to get rich, that’s basically all there is to their characters. Take the one scene where the museum guy shows up and asks them to bring Gorgo to him. They pretend to do so in order to keep up appearances, but then they head to the circus instead for the big bucks. You don’t want to trust Joe or Sam, they just want to be rich. Admittedly the museum guy didn’t seem all that smart though. I can’t think of any actual reason why they would want to listen to him. He was going to pay them pocket change, nothing that could really help them and they don’t seem like the scholarly type.

Gorgo is a pretty short film and so even with a basic plot synopsis I’ve already told you a great deal. If you like the classic Kaiju films then I expect you’ll like this one. The writing is on point and Gorgo can hold his own as an antagonist. If there is any weakness here it is in the fact that there aren’t two opposing Kaiju so we don’t get to have a big fight scene between them. That would have been pretty awesome. Still, we did get to see Gorgo lay waste to the city and that’s always a staple of the genre.

Overall, Gorgo is a solid movie. I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s a bit straight forward in that you can probably guess most of the film right away. There aren’t a whole lot of twists and turns although there is one which I thought was executed really well. It’s a shame that Gorgo has basically vanished from the public eye. I feel like he had potential to be one of the next big Kaiju out there. He’d probably need some new abilities to hang with the more modern monsters, but that would be easy enough to accomplish. Ah well, odds are you haven’t seen this film yet so I’d recommend changing that ASAP!

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Giant Claw Review


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.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

It Came From Beneath The Sea Review


It Came From Beneath The Sea is an old monster film that you’ve likely heard of even if you may not have seen it yet. The movie deals with a lot of classic monster themes like escaping from towering buildings and finally developing a weapon to stop the threat. It checks off all the right boxes even if there is little imagination in the film to differentiate it.

The film starts off with a giant octopus bringing the pain to a bunch of government agents who were in an underwater sub. In that sense the premise is a little similar to The Meg. The government brings in the two leading authorities on Marine life in the world to get cracking on this mystery. Despite their findings the government refuses to believe until things start to escalate. Is it already too late?

The movie has a pretty small cast and unfortunately not the strongest one. The main character, Pete is a little too into romance to focus on his job. He’s constantly going after the scientist named Joyce and gets jealous very quick. He’s quick to assume that she would want to be with him no matter what and needs more than a few reality checks. By the end he’s been set straight and of works out, but he definitely isn’t the most endearing main character. For the most part the film tries to portray him as you classic leader, charismatic, but a guy who knows how to get the job done. His character just can’t recover from the romance subplot.

Then you’ve got his rival who seems to be all over the place. At times he seems interested in Joyce as well and totally oblivious in other moments. By the end he seems to be trying to play matchmaker to an extent which is very odd considering his position. I guess it’s good that he’s taking this so well, but it’s almost too well. His name is Carter by the way and he is an expert in this monster research as well. As I said, he’s a nice guy, but I do think the writers were a bit confused with how to go about writing his character.

As for the heroine Joyce, she is good in some ways, but doesn’t age well in others. The good part is that she wants to be tough and independent. She rejects most of Pete’s advances and tries to concentrate on her work. That’s all good, but she does tend to fold a bit during the monster attacks which hurts her points. She’s the first one to scream when the monster shows up and is utterly terrified the whole time. After her speeches about how she doesn’t need anyone to protect her it just isn’t a good look. She also waffles back and forth a bit on the romance aspect as well.

So, this may be a classic film, but the writing isn’t quite as good as usual. Typically in a film like this the writing is pretty awesome and on point throughout. While most of the characters still work well, the main 3 aren’t that great which is a bit of an issue. The film just doesn’t really compare to most other monster films of its era. It’s a good film for sure, but one that could probably have been great if it wasn’t holding itself back the whole time.

As for the giant octopus, he has a reasonable design. It’s fun seeing him take down the civilians as he stomps through town. Nobody could stand up to this guy although they shouldn’t be expected to anyway. With a single swing of his tendrils he can lay waste to whole buildings and even sinks a ship. It always makes for some fun scenes. The army is a little slow to acknowledge its existence though. Even after there is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt they continue to be skeptical. Honestly the way the scientists presented the case wasn’t even all that far fetched so I’m a little surprised at all the doubt. Ah well, just goes to show that people don’t want to believe in giant monsters.

It’s fortunate for the monster that the humans didn’t believe in it for a while because this is one of the few ones that probably would have gone down pretty quickly to a full frontal assault. It’s not impervious to the stronger guns aboard the boats and while it can move in quick bursts it doesn’t like running. At one point the characters even comment on how it wants a fight. Once the fight starts it is really all over for the Octopus. I do question why the characters had such a poor plan where ultimately they are forced to go up close to end the battle. They just didn’t think things through and likewise a helicopter gets in way too close as well and gets squashed. You gotta give the monsters a wide berth or they’ll walk all over you.

Overall, It Came From Beneath The Sea is worth checking out. We do get some nice banter and of course you can’t go wrong with a classic creature feature flick right? The Giant Octopus is a fun villain to have around. The ending may be a bit sudden, but the flip side of that is that the Octopus gets to dominate for most of the movie. That’s definitely nice to see for my fellow monster fans reading this. It’s also a pretty short movie and doesn’t drag on at all. The pacing’s pretty tight. The movie doesn’t do anything particularly original, but it also doesn’t make any crucial mistakes so that’s a good balance if you ask me.

Overall 6/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Tingler Review


It’s time to look at an old film known as the Tingler. It’s a movie that will cause you to re-think everything you thought you knew about the notion of fear. At least, that’s what the film thinks. We even get an intro at the beginning where the writer is basically begging you to try and act scared during the film since the whole climax revolves around this. It’s a little rough since these films are hardly scary and you’d have to have a group of friends around to be bold enough to yell in the first place. All in all, it wasn’t the best film out there, but as far as horror titles go it could have been a whole lot worse.

So the movie starts off with Chapin figuring out that inside of every human is a giant worm known as the Tingler. It explains the back pains we get when we’re older. When people get super scared the worm gets huge and starts crushing us from the inside however as soon as you yell the noise vaporizes the creature. As such it is hard to capture the thing alive since this is the weakest monster in a very long time. Chapin tries to scare himself but he simply isn’t brave enough and ends up yelling. The effect also doesn’t work too well on his wife since she ends up passing out. No, he needs someone who can’t yell out. That’s where Martha comes in. She is mute and cannot let her fear out. She conveniently dies of fear and so Chapin gets a hold of the Tingler. Will this really make him rich and famous or has he done all of this for nothing?

Chapin is one of those eccentric main characters who wants to prevail in his scientific endeavors no matter the cost. Whatever it takes is what he will do, even if it means putting someone at gunpoint. He is rocky enough where the film is able to successfully pull off some misdirects with him. There are two times in the film where you think he is going to do one thing and he does the other. Both were unexpected and particularly the latter twist as it happens at the very end of the film. Even if these twists gave Chapin a little humanity I can’t say that he was a great character. Let’s step away from the moral ambiguities of even trying to capture a Tingler. Once he actually does have one he doesn’t even want to do anything with it. He decides that there are forces of nature beyond man. All I can say to that is it’s a little late for second thoughts at this stage in the game. At that point everyone suffered for nothing. Chapin is also rather naive.

In a subplot, his wife has been cheating on him for a while now and is trying to steal money from his employee’s fiancée. Chapin confronts her about this and then gets the gun ready. Later on she claims to have had a total change of heart and serves him a drink. He flips the cups thinking that he has outsmarted her but the plan was a little more intricate than that. What he should have done was not drink at all. How could he take such a big risk? The wife is naturally not a good character either. She’s basically just around to try and make everyone’s lives a lot tougher than they needed to be. The film never tries to make her sympathetic and that’s certainly for the best.

Then we have Oliver who seems a little unbalanced. He likes to drink a lot and just seems very off during the scene where he visits his brother’s body in the beginning. He wonders what it would feel like to be in the chair and stuff like that. Even Chapin has to cut him off a few times. Oliver never ends up becoming a decent character and if anything the lead was probably a little too polite to him by the end. At least Chapin is fearless I’ll give him that. Martha could be annoying at times since she would act very suspicious right from the start. She is clearly very connected to her money and didn’t want to let it out of her sight even for an instant. That being said, she is a little too rattled by basic things like a little cut. I suppose it can be unnerving, but all of this together just made her a little too eccentric.

As for the actual Tingler, it’s hard to the creature seriously. Essentially it’s just a big worm with pincirs. Once it has you in its grip then it’s all over. I can appreciate the threat that this would pose to most humans in this film, but he could have had a cooler design. At the end of the day it just didn’t seem that strong. The main characters seem to think that it cannot be destroyed, but they hardly even tried doing anything to prove that theory. As a result it is hard to really buy into that hypothesis. Where’s the proof?

The ending was certainly interesting with how we got a twist like in a modern horror film. Considering who was getting twisted you’ll be hard pressed to try and defend the guy. As they say, karma arrives awfully quick in most horror titles. Play the villain at your own risk there. I guess the film did a reasonable job of making most of the twists realistic throughout but it’s all still tragic for the victim. According to the villain the victim had tried similar deadly things on him off screen, but it’s hard to know if he was being legit or even if it matters.

Overall, The Tingler is a film that likes its plot twists. They actually did work rather well so I’ll give the film some props there. Still, the movie felt rather unfocused. I still can’t believe that Chapin would give up on his dream so quickly after being completely obsessed over the Tingler for many years. That is just too rushed. Most of the characters seem to be rather crazy as well so there’s no one to root for. Even Chapin’s employee is basically just going along with all of this for his paycheck even though he has a feeling that things just aren’t right at the moment. He may as well be an accomplice. He was also going to bring some animals to test the fear element on which is inhumane at best. No, the only character to root for here is the Tingler as it works to destroy all of humanity.

Overall 4/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Rodan Review


It’s time to look at one of the original giant monster films. Many believe that Godzilla is really what kicked off the Kaiju boom, but you have to consider the mass market appeal that Rodan brought with him. Rodan isn’t your average giant monster, he is one that can fly. In fact, if we took this version of Rodan unnerfed and put him up against the other giant monsters, he would crush them. Not even Godzilla would last long against such a threat. Rodan helped audiences finally take giant monsters seriously and still works very well as both a thriller and a Kaiju film. While the film does drop off quite a bit at the end, it’s not enough to negate the rest of the experience.

The film starts off with a group of miners heading to the caves. Unfortunately they are brutally murdered by a bunch of giant worms. The humans go for backup but none of their guns are all that effective. Fortunately that’s when Rodan shows up to eat all of the worms and claim dominion over the skies. Any jets that stay in the air are promptly destroyed. The humans realize that the only way to stop Rodan is to throw him into the volcano, but this task gets a little more dangerous once there are 2 Rodans on the field. What can they possibly do?

The short answer is nothing. There’s no way that the ending even could happen. What the film should have done was have the humans acknowledge that they can’t hope to stop Rodan. This would have been the signal for a very emotional scene to start as the humans team up to create a giant paper mache version of Rodan that they sail off to an uninhabited island. The Rodans would follow it and leave humanity alone for a little while. Even I may have teared up a little bit at such a spectacle. As it stands, the ending is emotional but in a sad way. I was rooting for Rodan the whole time and was looking forward to seeing him wipe out humanity. For that not to happen is simply tragic.

Enough dwelling on the ending though. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t quite horrible enough to drag the film down too much. I have to give credit to the special effects here as they were handled a lot better than expected. I dare say that it even beats most of the modern films when it comes to depicting Rodan’s speed. In this version you actually can believe that he flies at super sonic speeds since we see him outmaneuvering a jet. Rodan may not have a fancy laser to shoot out, but with moves like that he doesn’t even need one! I also liked the size difference between Rodan and the worms. Since we already saw how massive the worms looked to the humans, it’s clear that Rodan is a colossal beast.

As for the humans…there’s not much to say about them. They’re around of course, but they don’t really contribute much to the story. The dub has fun with them as everyone gets in a few good one liners. It’s hard to tell if you’re supposed to take the characters seriously or not. On one hand, it’s not as if they’re making obviously bad decisions or anything like that, but on the other hand…they just don’t seem as invested into the situation as you would possibly expect. After all, having a giant monster around destroying everything is kind of a big deal right? I didn’t dislike the humans, but as with most of the old monster films I found them to be a tad forgettable. Granted, it’s probably because I’m focused on the monsters.

I will say that the writing was solid. These films definitely take place back in an era where scripts were actually handled with care and you didn’t have to cringe at every other line. The pacing of the film is good as well and it manages to cover quite a lot in a short amount of time. There’s not much that the film could have done to be much better in these areas as it was just solid. I can only imagine how impressive this movie must have looked back in the 50s. Whether you are currently a big Kaiju fan or just getting into the genre, this is a movie that I can definitely recommend checking out purely on a technical level in addition to being a monster film.

Overall, Rodan is a fun film. He’s always been a solid monster, but one who is probably a little over matched against the others. He’s simply too fast and strong so he tends to get nerfed quite heavily. I’m hoping that the upcoming American film has a good idea of how to use him, but I am going to be entering that film with a few reservations on the power levels department. No worries, it’s still going to be film of the year, but with all of these Kaiju running around I hope that corporate knows what they are doing. Still…when do they not?

Overall 7/10