Creature from the Black Lagoon!

August 26, 2007 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

Last night was a movie marathon for me. The Winnipeg Film Group runs a great theater downtown, and I ended up seeing a bunch of stuff there. The highlight of the evening, though?


Creature from the Black Lagoon
In Startling 3-D Vision!

Yes.

The movie opens with a narrator explaining how God created the heavens and Earth out of nothingness. Mere seconds later, it goes on to explain how life evolved on Earth over a course of billions of years. The narration clearly isn’t up to date with current science, as we now know evolution is a lie and the Earth is a mere 4000 years old. Luckily, this is the last we’ll hear from him.

At this point, something explodes and the remnants fly towards us; stuff flies towards the screen a lot in the movie, in an effort to justify the use of 3D. You could probably fashion a pretty good drinking game around this principle.

An interesting side-note: a notice on the side of our 3D Glasses tells us to hold onto them after the movie, as “Deep Vision 3D TV” will be coming soon. Personally, I can’t wait.

Now, we are introduced to our main characters!

Dr. Carl Maia: The first ten minutes of the film focus on Carl, leading us to believe he will be the protagonist right up until he disappears into the background for the rest of the movie. Carl is allegedly an archaeologist, though his credentials are suspect; when he finds the fossilized “Black Lagoon” hand that starts our adventure, his excavation method involves hitting it a few times with a pick-axe and then ripping it out of the ground. Later on, when the rest of the characters come back to find the rest of the creature’s fossil, they can’t because there’s nowhere marking the find. Great going, Carl.

Dr. David Reed: Our male lead and hero. For the record, “Dave” is the worst hero name ever; it sounds like he should be a middle-manager or fodder to be killed by the monster, not it’s greatest threat. Dave is a Marine Biologist, but keeps going into long rants about space and the wonders it holds. You can tell that Dave probably tried to major in Astronomy but flunked out, and now he’s stuck trawling lagoons for old fish. He lets his boss walk all over him and he’s too much of a loser to propose to his longtime girlfriend. It kinda sucks to be Dave.

Kay Lawrence: Dave’s girlfriend, she claims to be a scientist of some kind but is never seen doing anything useful. The Creature from the Black Lagoon is in love with her because… well, fuck, it’s a monster movie, and the monster has to be in love with the female lead. There’s really no explanation beyond that. Dave’s boss is in love with her, too, but Dave won’t say anything about it. Goddamnit, Dave.
Kay is also supposed to bring “sex appeal” to the movie, but being the 50’s she’s limited to swimming around in a one-piece suit. Drinking games could be built around “whenever Kay shrieks in fear” and “the blatant misogyny surrounding Kay”.

Mark Williams: Dave’s boss and all-around dick, obsessed with fame and fortune. Mark wants to kill the creature and bring it back with them because he’s convinced it’s the only way people will believe their story. This is ignoring the fact that they have a fossilized “Lagoon Creature” hand that is all the proof you need. Mark is pretty much an idiot, and you know he’s going to get himself killed by the end of the movie.

The Creature: The Creature is actually a very crappy monster. It’s first few appearances are as an ominous hand, reaching, slowly reaching, and then!… nothing. After about three times this would get a little lame, except each time it’s in 3D and reaching directly towards the audience so it’s thrilling. That’s exactly how 3D works.
The Creature spends most of the movie hiding in reeds and trying to avoid capture. At least when King Kong did this, he interspersed it with fighting T-Rexes and Bi-Planes. Not so for our cowardly Creature; he really doesn’t do much at all.

Our scientist heroes spend most of the film trying to capture or kill the Creature because hey, why not. Mark even rigs up a speargun to kill it with. Dave suggests they study it in their natural habitat but nobody listens to him. You’ve got to be more assertive, Dave.

After escaping Mad Mark and his Sparkling Speargun, the Creature storms the scientists’ boat and kills a deckhand because hey, who needs that shit. If they’re going to be speargunning him, he might as well fight back. Around this time the Captain suggests they spread a drug called Rotanol in the water that paralyzes fish, possibly to capture the monster but mainly because fish are delicious. The Captain even mentions how he’s used this in the past to catch fish for dinner. The fact that he regularly eats drugged-fish should tell you everything you need to know about him.

So, they spread the Rotanol in the water. When it doesn’t work, they go out and do it again. From a narrative perspective, this makes no sense. Why have them do it twice? It serves no purpose but to fill up screen time. Anyway, the drug works and the Creature trips out. During this time he tries to kidnap Kay and ends up killing a guy, but he can hardly be blamed. I mean, if someone spiked your morning coffee with LSD, you couldn’t be held responsible for your actions.

It’s during this time we learn the Creature has a signature move, the Head-Snap. Whenever he attacks someone, he grabs their face and just twists. It’s pretty great.

Also, if you were playing the misogyny drinking game, take three shots; Kay shrieks, is kidnapped, and in trying to escape falls down for no good reason at all. Apparently women are too fragile to even run away properly.

After this they capture the creature and put it in a bamboo cage, from which it will certainly never escape. At this point Mark is all for booking it back home, but Dave wants to stay and finish their scientific research first. For the first time in the movie Mark agrees with him, and they go off to take underwater pictures. While they’re away the Creature escapes and fucks up another guy’s face. Way to go, Dave.

After all this shit our heroes decide to leave, Creature or No Creature. They take the boat out of the lagoon, only to find their way blocked by a tree; the Creature, in what can only be described as a stupid-ass move, has blocked their way. Dave goes to under to try and tie a rope around the tree so they can move it; Mark wants to go down to have one more shot at the Creature, and Dave responds by knocking him the fuck out. Dave is pretty much sure to lose his job over that one, but at this point all he wants is his motherfucking boat out of the motherfucking lagoon. And who can blame him?

Mark recovers, goes down anyway, and manages to keep the Creature from fucking up Dave hardcore. This is followed by a kicking underwater fight where the Creature rips off Mark’s breathing tube and drowns him. Huh. Who could have called that one? Despite having five minutes of fight-time in which to secure the rope around tree, Dave drops the ball and returns to the boat empty-handed. Way to let your boss die in vain, Dave.

At this point Dave hits on a perfect plan- since the last time they used Rotanol resulted in a death and a kidnapping, they should use it again! He even rigs up a Rotanol Gun so they can spray the drug directly into the Creature’s gills. It works! The Creature is driven off and Dave gets the rope around the tree! Everyone is saved!

Except now the drugged-out Creature storms the boat again and kidnaps Kay. Whoops.

The Creature’s utter disinterest in Kay becomes apparent when, after kidnapping her, he just sort of leaves her on a rock and wanders away. It’s like he knows he’s done what the plot called for, and now he’ll have no more of it. Dave appears to “rescue” Kay, and we’re reminded that it’s 3D by the fact a bat flies directly at the screen for no apparent reason. Kay, though previously unconscious, is suddenly able to stand at escape with the mere presence of a man. Take a shot, everyone.

The Creature, tired of people barging into it’s home and trying to kill it, goes to fuck Dave up. Dave responds by stabbing the Creature in the heart, which is a pretty rude thing for a house guest to do. Then some of the other crew-mates show up to shoot the Creature with rifles a few times, just for good measure.

The Creature staggers away, wounded and dying. The ship’s captain raises his rifle for one last shot, a mercy killing, but Dave says no and won’t let anyone shoot the Creature anymore. It staggers away to die a slow, agonizing death because Dave won’t let anyone put it out of it’s misery. Dave is a real douchebag.

The Creature falls into the lagoon, dies, and it’s corpse drifts away… in 3D! Credits roll! Thanks for coming, everyone!

Soon to come: Reviews of all the other movies I’ve seen in the last two days, including “The Truth About Sasquatch” and “Red Men Rising”. Be there!

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