“If I must just choose the method of my demise, I choose…
Death By Cinema!” -Britt Rhuart
Day 16 – Gorgo
“Hurry, hurry to see Gorgo!” This is a line I remember from the trailer for Gorgo. Unfortunately, I did not take up this advice right away. I waited 20 years. Let me go back, one of my favorite videos growing up was call Fantastic Dinosaurs of the Movies. I even reviewed it last year for this column. It’s a compilation of giant monster trailers. Gorgo was always a film I had meant to see and never did. It just looked so much fun. Of course, last year I also did a review of Crater Lake Monster, the trailer of which was also in this compilation, and I was woefully disappointed, so I’ve still been wary of seeing this film. I’m hoping it’s better and more fun, especially since I’ve been putting off seeing it for 20 years.
A bit of backstory on the film… after Godzilla came out, every country tried their hand at a giant monster movie. Never mind that most of these were bad carbon copies of Godzilla, though that film itself owes a debt to both King Kong and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. South Korea had Yongary, Monster of the Deep. North Korea had Pulgasari. India had the now lost Golgola (though the fun soundtrack still exists https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=XAzv0tvCNeQ). Japan also had Gamara. Even Denmark of all places had Reptilicus. Naturally, the UK wanted their shot at making a giant monster film and they went with Gorgo. There is one thing I know that this film does that was different… they tried to make one of the humans interesting and relatable. Part of the reason most giant monster films are viewed as bad is because the humans are by far the least interesting part of the films. So does this film succeed? Or is it like my good friend, Salim, has been known to say, that there are only two good giant monster films, King Kong and Gojira? Let’s find out, so “Hurry, hurry to see Gorgo!”
Random Thoughts While Watching the Film:
The film has a title card at the beginning thanking the city of London amongst others for helping with the film. Huh, that usually comes at the end of most films.
This score is very subdued thus far for a giant monster film.
A ship at sea is nearly swamped and sunk while salvaging a sunk ship. I wonder what could have caused that.
The blue screen shots here are really bad, literally you can see the outline of blue around the moving actors.
They see a bunch of these weird, Lovecraftian fish monsters with arms floating on the surface. Their idea is an ocean quake opened up a hole in the ocean floor. I guess that’s where Gorgo comes from.
Here’s the interesting character I’ve mentioned. It’s this kid who has a strange bond with the monster. For a child actor he’s actually not bad. Kid also has a wonderful Irish brogue and is wise beyond his years.
Finally, while diving for sunken gold, they see Gorgo. The underwater scenes are actually pretty.
Gorgo is a really good looking monster and I’m really liking this initial fight between the monster and the villagers at see. Some decent editing as well.
The kid, Sean, tries to warn the chief sailor, Joe, not to go after the monster as it would be a “bad thing.” I want to know what the connection is between Sean and Gorgo.
I will say, underwater Gorgo swimming looks a lot less impressive than land or underwater standing Gorgo.
They captured baby Gorgo with a net. That’s a surprise to me.
I love that both Ireland and the UK are fighting over who owns the monster. Very realistic.
Tied up Gorgo is very sad looking. I feel bad.
Sean snuck aboard the ship the free Gorgo as they make their way back to the UK. Now he’s stuck with them.
Now there’s some biologists who also have a problem with the people bringing Gorgo into the city of London. Of course the don’t listen to them.
I’m not commenting as much on this one because, while there’s nothing tremendously bad, there’s nothing tremendously outstanding about this film either so far. Again, that’s not saying boring or bad, this film is fun and enjoyable thus far.
Gorgo seems scared of fire. Good to know.
Gorgo whips his tail and nae naes… I mean, kills someone.
This kid Sean is a solid character. He’s relatable and likable, the only character like that in this movie.
The biologists from earlier tell our heroes that the monster is a baby and the mother (who they estimate at 200 feet tall), could come after it.
Ready or not, here comes mama! It destroyed the island where the monster initially was.
I love the fact the Royal Navy is just trying to blow the mom out of the water, though it seems more like something the US would try to do.
The effects with Mama Gorgon walking through the fire look near.
Hey, it’s one of my favorite tropes! Little girl runs through the streets being dragged by her mother and drops her doll and therefore her innocence.
I don’t get why they’re trying to kill Mama Gorgo. They know it just wants it’s baby. Just give her what she wants and she’ll go away.
I’ll tell you it’s cool to see a giant monster destroy a city WITHOUT a bunch of pagodas. Yup, Gorgo destroying London Bridge and Big Ben is very fun.
Seriously, what is Sean’s strange fascination with and understanding of the creature. I hope they resolve that problem satisfactorily.
The rubble falling from the rooftops either looks very good (in the close shots) or very bad (in the wide shots). There is no in between.
The contrast between the red sky, the outline of Gorgo, and the bright lights and ads of Piccadilly Circus looks pretty awesome.
I love that there’s one nutty hell cryer walking the streets of London, yelling REPENT and ruining this monster attack for everyone.
Now they’re talking about electrocuting the creature to death. So far, nothing will stop it, and that’s a good thing.
Man, Gorgo really is tiny in relation to Mama Gorgo. He’s only the size of her foot, all though he may be as big as knee height in the next shot. Mama Gorgo and Baby Gorgo swimming off is pretty cute and a good ending. They escape and there’s a happy ending. I mean, thousands of people in London are dead, but the Gorgos are alive!
You know, they never really outright explain why the kid has an affinity to Gorgo, but I think it’s supposed to be he’s an orphan and doesn’t like seeing a child taken away from a parent. Plus, I think it has to do with the kid believing Gorgo belong in the sea (very environmentally conscious) and fascinated by the monster itself because, I mean it’s a monster!
Ok, so I don’t know that I can call this a good film, but it is a worthwhile and fun film. It brings little new to the table, but to does have a cool monster and awesome battle scenes. I’d put those scene up there in quality with a lot of Godzilla sequels and better than most Godzilla ripoffs. In fact, I think I can say this film is one of the better giant monster films even if there’s nothing new. It discusses the theme of whether or not it’s appropriate to take an animal from it’s habitat and several other moral questions, though I may be reading too much into the story. The story itself is decent. I don’t really like most of the characters or find them interesting, but that’s true of most monster flicks, the monster is often the most interesting character. I do like the kid Sean, but unfortunately, he’s relegated to the background of most scenes. It’s style reminds me a lot of the original Journey to the Center of the Earth (the one with James Mason, a favorite of mine). The editing, especially when he monsters are on screen is mostly well done.
Overall, this is a fine film and if you like giant monster flick, or even just decent action, this is a film for you!
Tomorrow, I review Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster. Woof, that one will be hard to get through!