Monday, March 9, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Swamp Thing (1982)

Comic book movies are all the rage in 2015, but there was a time when fanboys like me didn't have a whole lot to cherish so far as film and television are concerned.  However, one such motion picture from my childhood that I remain particularly fond of is Wes Craven's Swamp Thing.  Yes, Swampy doesn't look all that hot (and he's a special effects extravaganza compared to the nefarious nemesis who challenges him in the closing reel), but the movie still works in spite of a lousy rubber suit.  The locations are gorgeous--forgive me, but I've got a serious jones for swamps.  The score is nifty, Craven's direction is solid and pays homage to comics several times throughout, and the plot is engaging and lean.  The cast is really good, with the late Louis Jourdan shining as the demented Arcane while Adrienne Barbeau does a lovely job as Alice Cable.  Would you believe that Cable serves as the Swamp Thing's love interest?  It's kooky but true.  David Hess does a nice job as a vicious henchman, and though the picture isn't overly faithful to the comic book property that spawned it, it's close enough to please fans of the title.  The special effects are surely a bit lackluster (and that's probably a bit of an understatement) and Craven certainly didn't go out of his way to hide these shortcomings, but I enjoy the picture nonetheless.  I think that anyone who likes the comic book character will embrace this Swamp Thing, and those who could care less about Swampy but dig fun movies from the early 80s will also be entertained.  Additionally, I should note that while the 1989 sequel The Return of Swamp Thing boasted vastly superior effects work, it wasn't nearly as entertaining.  True story: sometimes the prettiest girl at the dance isn't the best dancer.

Wow.  There had to be a better close to a Swamp Thing review than that, but the hell with it.  Craven didn't shy away from a lousy rubber suit.  Why should I shy away from a lousy finish?

Final Grade: C
Finding a good shot of this particular Swamp Thing costume is like trying
to get a good look at the Bigfoot creature, but this one isn't too bad.

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