May 26, 2012


From my 1950s Science Fiction Marathon, part 5 of 12.

Them!, 1954. A colony of giant ants emerges from the New Mexico desert.

Directed by Gordon Douglas. Written by Ted Sherdeman; adapted by Russell S. Hughes; story by George Worthing Yates. Starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon & James Arness.

Concept: 4/4 (Great)
Story: 3/4 (Good). It's based in bad science (clearly the writers have no concept of what a genetic mutation is, or how evolution works), but if you ignore that and just take the Giant Ants as a given, everything else follows with remarkable logic. Much more clever than the corny monster movie I was expecting.
Characters: 1/4 (Bad)
Dialog: 1/4 (Bad). Very uneven.
Pacing: 3/4 (Good)
Cinematography: 2/4 (Indifferent)
Special effects/design: 2/4 (Indifferent). The ants themselves are just silly, but everything else is mostly good.
Acting: 1/4 (Bad). Okay, but with moments of awful due to stumbling over horribly-written dialog.
Music: 2/4 (Indifferent)
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good, 3/4).  The Thing from Another World is the 1950s' Alien, and this is the 1950s' Aliens. It's nowhere near as scary or exciting as Aliens, but the parallels are strong enough that you could almost call it a remake. They really seem to have put some thought into the question, "Well, what would happen if there were giant, man-eating insect monsters?"  Not that anyone was dying to know the answer, but it turns out to make a pretty cool movie.
Objective Rating (Average): 2.2/4 (Okay)

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