Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Them! Gorden Douglas '1954'
A film that slightly falls into the 'over-reactive, dramatic' category that Black & White Golden Era of B-Movie's are so well known for, that follows a plot that is even more great if you love these types of cheesy Sci-Fi movies, one of the first to use 'nuclear monsters' as well as 'big bugs' in the mix, it remains a classic either way.
Throughout the beginning of the story, there are constant shots that indicate what may have happened to the mysterious missing persons, and the nature of the beings that took them, for instance subtle shots of ants on the raided sugar stacks in the broken shop, a precursor of things to come, forced exits from buildingd, crushed bodies, all leading to a subtle build up to the discovery of the beings.
The characters appear to be quite generic to us as an audience in modern day cinema, but for that age more relative. You of course, have your creepy child who's seen too much, and remains vacant (an element broken with a shrill scream of 'Them'! which felt quite cheesy but relevant for the narrative), you have your vigilant cop, a charming FBI Agent, a quirky scientist, and his beautiful daughter/assistant (who interestingly is played off as quite a strong, intelligent character, a concept quite different from how they were valued in society at the time), which from the basic cast of the film.
Apart from the over-reactive screams and other things found in this genre, acting wise the cast perform very well, and the story as a very nice gradualness to the unfolding of events, to a believable effect.The way they showed the ants was quite an interesting factor is, that the 'Giant Ants' aren't actually shown till about 3/4 of the way through, making the film seen less about big monsters destroying things, and more about the mystery and discovery of the monsters.
The effects used wear quite laughable for this age of technology, but given the respect and context, very well done in that time period, with heavy use of animatronic/puppetry, it was almost quite liable in some cases, such as the sheer size of the ants, and the giant pincers, with their coursing venom, explained by the quirky scientist.
When I first saw title screen, automatically remembered fallout 3( a series of game set in post-nuclear-apocalyptic 1950's America), with a particular mission known as 'Those' featuring huge fire ants, a pastiche to this film in it's own right.
That said, this film is defiantly worth a watch for those who are up for a bit of the Classic Golden age of B-Movie :)