Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Giant Claw (1957) = Enact With Gal

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

There are a lot of really bad movies out there.  When I hear that a movie is bad, I will sometimes take it as a challenge to watch it, if only to see how bad it is.  While looking at a Web Site dedicated to bad movies, I came across The Giant Claw.

I immediately went to NetFlix to put the movie on my queue.  The movie came bundled with another movie called The Creature with the Atom Brain and had no special features.  It was just the two movies and an episode of some TV show I had never heard of.

The movie is pretty simple by today’s standards.  Mitchell MacAfee is an engineer that’s testing planes for the military.  On a test run, he spots some UFO that he describes as being the size of a battleship.  When pilots are sent out, they see nothing.  There isn’t even anything on radar and radar picks up everything.   Not only that, but one of the pilots doesn’t return.  No one believes Mr. MacAfee until a commercial plane reports seeing a similar UFO…right before they disappear.

Suddenly, every one is mobilized to fight this terror.  Several more incidents underscore the need to stop this thing, which looks like a giant version of the funny-looking, awkwardly handled marionette that it is.  (Add to that the bad special effects and you have something truly laughable.)

Nothing works on it.  Bullets bounce off of it.  Missiles explode with no effect.  The Bird From We Know Not Where continues to eat people with impunity.  Eventually, someone figures out that the bird has some sort of antimatter shielding.  You’re probably thinking back to your high-school science class and wondering if this is the same antimatter that annihilates normal matter.  Yes, it is.  However, in the movie, using antimatter as shielding apparently doesn’t cause it to explode.

Eventually, Mr. MacAfee finds a way to penetrate the shielding and bring the bird down.  He has some sort of scientific explanation that we’re just supposed to accept, even though narration states that the particle he wants to use lasts only a few moments.  Why, of course that will work!  Mr. MacAfee saves the day!

Can you tell how much I want to tear this movie apart?

First, the bird is a joke.  When we first ‘see’ the bird, it’s just a blur on the screen.  This is apparently to indicate that no one has gotten a good look at the thing.  When we do get a good look at it, you have to try to ignore the strings.  When the bird approaches a plane to eat the person, the bird gets just close enough that it starts to blur.  Then, the movie cuts to a shot of the bird chasing a really small toy to give the effect of its size.

Also, it’s pointed out in the movie that the bird never seems to land.  It’s always seen flying, even though it must rest.  An egg is found, implying that the bird must have come down long enough to lay it.  There’s no mention of a Mr. Giant Marionette Bird or of there are other eggs elsewhere in the world.  Also, MacAfee is able to destroy the egg, which means that it has no shielding.  If the bird is antimatter, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the egg is antimatter as well?

There’s also no talk of where the bird came from or if there are more.  I can let this one pass since the immediate concern should be getting rid of the one at hand.  However, consider that the nearest star to us is about four light years away.  Did the bird just fly here on its own or is there a spacecraft?  The bird seems at least someone intelligent.  It has shielding and it employs a spiral search pattern.  I doubt any species capable of coming to Earth, defending itself and showing some signs of intelligence wouldn’t bring at least a few friends with it.

There are other plot holes used to advance the story.  For instance, MacAfee and his mathematician girlfriend, Sally Caldwell, are about to leave to help deal with the bird when they hear a radio announcement.  Air travel had been suspended for a few days.  Now, road travel has been suspended except in emergencies.  They look out the window and see the bird, but decide to drive to the airport anyway.  That seems like a really smart plan.

You have to see this movie to know just how bad it is.  Do not buy or otherwise spend money on this movie.  I’ve noticed that the movie is currently sold bundled with other movies, and for a good reason.  I think most people that have seen the movie know better than to buy it.  Might as well get you to buy it with something else.  How else will the studio make money off of it? 


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