Friday, 8 August 2008

No. 8 : Warlords of Atlantis

IMDb Link :

I remember seeing this slice of hokum as a seven year old back in 1978 and thought it the best thing ever.

As with most childhood memories things now seem somewhat rose tinted but there is still the odd nugget of interest to be had.

The film opens on the high seas as a Victorian era crew are on an exploratory mission. They are equipped with a state of the art diving bell and a crew of Irish stereotypes. The mission is an unqualified success as the first dive reveals not only dinosaurs but a six foot gold statue to boot. Of course taking the statue is a mistake as it leads to a crew mutiny followed quickly by a rubber octopus attack.

Friend and foes alike end up on a golden beach which they are not unreasonably surprised to learn is the lost city of Atlantis. After meeting the campy ruler they encounter other surface men, including the crew of the Marie Celeste, who have been press ganged into working for the Atlantians, in their war against some plastic monsters.

We also learn that the Atlantians are really from space and have a glowing helmet which lets the wearer see into the future, which fortunately for the budget, is also our past. With the help of an Atlantean beauty our heroes escape but how can they get home, and how can the rubber octopus be defeated?

The film has suffered over the last 30 years and it’s now enjoyed only as an ironic pleasure as the ropey acting and desperate modelling vie for your attention. The opening scenes, shot at sea, wobble all over the place and the single camera follows the cast around rather than be repositioned. The enemy soldiers whom I thought looked cool in their face covering helmets now look a bit suspect in their tight shorts and how Doug McClure ever qualified as an action hero I’ll never know.

The wafer thin plot, that sees our heroes go to Atlantis and then come back again, serves no purpose other than to showcase some truly dreadful creature effects and cod philosophy. Bad acting, bad script and bad effects; but strangely enjoyable.

Best Bit : “It got my pencil!”

‘W’ Rating 13/23

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