JULY 23, 2007
Man, I really thought Dark Harvest would have provided me all of the ‘bad actor as lead’ movie watching I could handle this week, but along comes Ezra Godden in Dagon to prove me wrong. Luckily, unlike that disaster, Dagon is good, often even great, and Godden’s abysmal acting isn’t enough to sink it.
The CG effects, on the other hand, come dangerously close to doing just that. For a story that relies heavily on giant storms, sea monsters, etc, the CG budget should have been a lot more than the apparent ten, twelve dollars tops it actually had (maybe they should have stolen some money from the sound dept., since though the surround mix is way above average). Luckily the effects are used sparingly, but that’s also part of the problem, as you get totally immersed in the story and then BLAM! You’re suddenly seeing what should be demo animatics at best. Escape From LA itself didn’t look so bad at times.
OK, yeah it did. Come on. Nothing’s as bad as Escape From LA’s effects.
Godden also commits cinematic sin twice in one scene. After first trying a (broken) light switch three or four times, he goes over to the phone and, not hearing a dial tone, taps the receiver a bunch of times. God fucking dammit, has this EVER worked, in cinematic OR real world history? If the fucking light isn’t on, and you flick the switch, and it still doesn’t come on, then the fucking thing is broken!!! Give up! The most excruciating example is in Halloween 5, when Loomis does it with the butt of his gun, and takes about 30 seconds to do so.
The guy also has the most durable eyeglasses I have ever seen. Through the course of the movie, he fights, dives, runs, falls, jumps, etc. Almost every single time he lands, his glasses go flying off, but they never break! At one point they just disappear, but I bet they are intact.
For a Lovecraft story (the film is NOT based on "Dagon", but "Shadow Over Innsmouth", just to confuse folks), this one moves along rather quickly too. I was expecting long bits of atmospheric walking around and things of that nature. But from the 20, 25 minute mark all the way to the end, it’s almost nonstop action/suspense/ horror/whatever. The hero is constantly on the run, and the one time he really stops is when he gets to 2nd base with a mermaid. Who turns out to be his sister (and then we get this gem: “You are my brother, and you will be my lover.” Hey-o! Between this, Hamiltons, and Captivity, maybe I should make an ‘incest’ genre).
The other day I bemoaned the amount of production logos at the head of Isolation. Well those Irish bastards ain't got NOTHING on the Dagon investors!
Seriously, movie companies: PUT THIS SHIT AT THE FUCKING END. There is no need for TEN goddamn production logos at the start of a film! Considering the fact that this film obviously did not have a bank-breaking budget, it is beyond ridiculous that so many different companies need to give themselves a pat on the ass before the movie begins. All we need to know at the beginning of the movie is the title and the ONE distribution company (in this case, of course, Lion's Gate) for the format we are watching it on. That is IT. All the rest of this shit can be saved for the end credits. Christ!
Otherwise, I can't recommend this one enough. Stuart Gordon is always hit or miss, but this one was still a pleasant surprise. Maybe for the 25th anniversary of the film, George Lucas can buy it and have his wizards fix the effects to his liking. I doubt he will have the technology to improve Godden’s hilariously bad performance, but at least then he can be pretty much the only flaw in an otherwise pretty f-ing good movie.
What say you?