FEBRUARY 6, 2013
SOURCE: CABLE (SYFY)
One of the Syfy films I actually kind of enjoyed was Yeti: Curse Of The Snow Demon, and I quite like (pre-HMAD watch) Abominable, so I had high-ish hopes for Abominable Snowman, since it seems that they tend to do better with that sort of thing than their average water monster flick. But alas, it's a snoozer, and like the recent Snowbeast, it left me confused as to why Syfy wanted to air it in the first place, as it's very slow paced and thus not likely to keep an audience's attention long enough to see all of those car and laundry detergent commercials.
A while back, Roger Corman explained the Syfy MO, which is that they have to keep the kills coming in order to keep people from changing the channel. And while I don't think that will necessarily result in a good movie (Jaws would be rejected!), it certainly makes sense. So why are these movies so slow, lately? Are they trying to get away from that line of thinking and make legit monster movies, LIKE Jaws? If so, I don't quite think they have what it takes to pull it off - let's not forget that Jaws was hardly a low budget production; it cost around 10 million in 1975, which would be something like 42 million today - these things are shot for around 1/25th of that if they're lucky. Jaws also had the benefit of three of the generation's best actors, unlike a Syfy film which at best can boast TWO actors from Battlestar Galactica or maybe a genre fave like Lance Henriksen or Tony Todd in a bit role. Oh, and the guy that directed Jaws is kind of amazing.
So even if *I* don't find much to like about the Sharktopii of the world, I think they should stick to movies along those lines, not so much these wannabe "real" movies. At least Sharktopus will keep the drunks entertained by killing some random asshole every 5-10 minutes, and they won't care about the things I do (story, suspense, characters I care about, etc). This suffers from all of the same problems but without the bonus of a plethora of kill scenes - the body count here is I think six, and none of them are even that memorable to boot. And for every death, you get two heart to heart conversations that no one in their right mind will find much reason to care about, since it's generous to even refer to these folks as "stock" as they lack the qualities that would have turned such characters into traditions in the first place. I could barely even tell the two male leads apart, let alone find much interest in one's budding relationship with the female lead or the other one's quest to find the title monster. So it fails as a real movie AND a "so bad it's fun" one. No one wins.
Oh, and the monster sucks even by Syfy standards. Usually the terrible CGI betrays a good design, but they don't even get that much right - the "Snowman" looks more like a mutated (and slightly shaved) porcupine. The scaling is even worse than usual - at one point the characters see them approaching (there are two, not that it matters at all) from a distance, and they appear to be giant troll sized, yet when they get to the house they're able to walk through the regular sized door without issue. Snowbeast was just as dull, but at least they used a practical monster for the most part to let us know they cared at least a LITTLE bit. This might as well have been assembled out of outtakes from all of their other snowbound movies with the monster added at the last minute by a kid using 3DS Max for the first time.
However, if you like snowboarding/skiing footage, this should have you covered. It's actually kind of nice to see skiers again (I used to ski until I got a pole to the mouth and almost lost my front teeth - I quickly retired), since snowboarding has pretty much wiped them out of existence in movies, and pretty much every character gets a chance on the slopes (though this stuff isn't safe from the terrible CGI either; lot of greenscreen in order to get closeups that we don't need). At one point Abominable Snowman even chases a couple of them, but we just have to imagine what most of it's like since they never appear in a shot together, thus completely eradicating the point of a chase scene since we can't understand how far apart they are from each other. And Adrian Paul pops up a few times as a helicopter pilot, but he's so disconnected from the Snowman stuff that he also feels like an afterthought; I don't know why you hire a goddamn Highlander to appear in your Abominable Snowman movie and never have him fight the Abominable Snowman, but it's not like I understand much about anything Syfy does. He DOES get to refer to one as a Chewbacca though, so there's something.
I think I'll just give up on these. If someone I really like is in it, maybe I'll give it a look, but with the site winding down it's stupid to waste an entry on these things - it's their blandness and shoddiness that's part of why I'm stopping in the first place. Thanks for helping to kill HMAD, Syfy!
What say you?