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Thursday, January 27, 2011


Not Rated

Creature from the Black Lagoon is a 1954 B-movie monster flick directed by Jack Arnold that takes place in the Amazon. When Carl Maia (Antonio Moreno) finds a fossilized webbed claw during an Amazonian excavation, he quickly returns to the Marine Biology Institute to gather help for a larger dig. He brings along Dr. David Reed (Richard Carlson) and his lover Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams), as well as their boss Dr. Mark Williams (Richard Denning) as well as a few others, and they all make their way into the depths of the jungle. When they return to Maia's campsite, they find his two native workmen dead inside their tent. Disturbed, they commence with the dig but remain wary. After a week, the group decides to push further down the river to a lagoon that may hold fossils like the one they found. However, when the boat reaches this "black lagoon," as the natives call it, they encounter a creature like nothing anyone had ever seen before.

Going in, you need to understand that you have to take Creature from the Black Lagoon for what it is: a solid B-movie that was made solely for cheap entertainment. If you go in actually expecting to get scared by this "creature," then you're going to be sorely disappointed. So, just sit back, relax and enjoy because there's quite a lot to like about this movie. The story is actually pretty good considering, pitting man against beast in an exotic locale that was brilliantly created on the backlot at Universal Studios Hollywood (I know this because of the many times I've taken the Studio Tour). It's captivating enough to draw you into the amazing events occurring around the cast, and once it grabs hold, it never lets go.

The acting is actually a little bit above B-movie grade, with the best performances coming from Carlson and Denning as two men of science who apparently have to compete over everything - including the affections of the lone female character. Each man is a foil of the other, and their verbal and physical sparring are quite entertaining, to say the least. We also get a good bit of comic relief from our boat captain Lucas (Nestor Paiva) who always brings the wit. The acting isn't going to blow you away, but it's definitely good enough for a flick like this.

The Creature itself is not scary at all, especially by today's standards; however, it is a little creepy in that it can attack you from the water. It made me think Jaws on a much smaller scale except that this thing wasn't going to chomp you into tiny little pieces. Perhaps in 1954, this thing was menacing (especially considering it was originally brought to audiences in 3D), but it's definitely dated. Still, the Creature holds its own in the annals of Universal movie monsters, so kudos should be given where kudos are due.

During the film's entire duration, I kept thinking about how this movie should be re-made. I know that most of the Hollywood fare of the 21st century has been remakes or reboots or re-imaginings, but if done right, this one could actually be very, very good. I wondered how it had come to pass that no remake for Creature from the Black Lagoon had yet to surface, but after a little bit of searching, I found that one has been scheduled for a 2013 release. Now, they could very easily destroy it, but if the filmmakers do it just right, they could revamp and revitalize this classic piece of cinema that is definitely worth watching.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: B
2 Thumbs Up

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