Thursday, June 18, 2009


WHAT THE MONSTERS TAUGHT ME: We Would Have Won The Pacific War Sooner With Less Rigid Commanding Officers, More Spunky Women Pilots, and 10,000 Rabid Pterodactyls.


The “Roger That” and “Over” Drinking Game, a flaming B-52 that’s not Fred Schneider, the WASPs that don’t control the world, a Little Buddy-less Skipper, a comic book reading cutie, good ol’ fashioned sexism, good ol’ fashioned treacherous Japanese, and good ol’ fashioned people-starved pterodactyls.


I don’t know if you know this, but back in World War II, there was a group of woman test pilots in the U.S. military known as the WASPs (Women's Air Service Corps). I had to Wikipedia that because deep down inside I knew I couldn’t trust a monster movie. I know, I’m embarrassed too. But it turns out to be true. Go figure. So movies starts late in the Pacific War of WWII and plucky B-52 pilot Maxine “Skipper” West (Jamie Elle Mann) and her intrepid crew are ordered to deliver a secret weapon to an airbase. Commanding them on the trip is jerky Captain Jack Toller (Brian Krause) who brings along a couple doofy guards with him. The gals show the men what they’re made of as they manoeuvre through a rough storm over turbulent seas in the middle of the night. But a mysterious flying object crashes into the plane, damages one of the engines, and kills a crewmember. Forced to land, Skipper locates an island in the middle of nowhere where they crash as Toller’s sweaty worry for their secret cargo increases. Separated from the base with no radio and mysterious hostiles in their midst, Skipper and crew encounter a small group of Japanese soldiers. After a brief and talky confrontation, they take the enemy soldiers prisoner along with their sneaky leader Ozu (Tohoru Masamune) who’s obviously hiding something about the island. And that something’s got a twenty-foot wingspan and a hankering for some G.I. chow: a bunch of ticked-off pterodactyls! So as Skipper and Toller trade insults, the soldiers and the cowardly prisoners battle these blood-hungry lizard birds on the ground as the fighting ladies hop aboard Japanese Zeroes and fight them in the air. And you know that these characters are true military because they continually say “roger that” and “over”. Anyway, so they eventually Skipper finds out that the secret cargo is the A-bomb on its way for prep before being dropped on Hiroshima and ludicrous anti-war sermonizing soon follows, which makes me yearn for the return of the Axis of Evil, only in big frickin’ flying bird form.


Sci-Fi (soon to be SyFy) Original Movies are occasionally a thing of masochistic cinematic beauty. Case in point - Rock Monster. Or S. S. Doomtrooper. Or the classic Mansquito. These beloved TV movie gems are usually a short bus full of brain-cell-murdering entertainment. Usually. Sci-Fi’s Warbirds, a butt dumb and generally objectionable combination of war movie and monsterfest, does not fall into the category of a hurtful fun movie. It is simply a work of wounding and feeble uselessness. On paper the movie’s ideas – giant freaking pterodactyls attacking Japanese and American soldiers during WWII – is wonderful in a monster-movie loving way. Throw in some feisty female badasses and aerial battles in the mix and brother you got yourself a riotous movie night. But I knew I was in for a sucky time when I heard the cringing dialog, witnessed the terrible blue screen effects and wooden acting, and saw the lame CGI pterodactyls and airplanes doing battle like amateur night at Atari 2600 headquarters. And my apologies to my female reader, but the lead female “Skipper” was about as believable as the chompy pterodactyls themselves. She’s argumentative, constantly questions the Captain character, and generally makes stupid decisions. How in the hell did she get the Hiroshima bomb hauling gig? So ladies, if you are looking for empowerment through a Sci Fi original movie, you should really re-examine your priorities and psychological state. But perhaps the most irritating thing in the movie was the lazy screenwriting – the constant, and I do mean CONSTANT, “overs”, “Skipper”, “Skip”, and “roger that”. Roger this, roger that, roger here, roger there and meanwhile I feel like the one being rogered. Warbirds is the same ol’ crap from the bad ol’ Sci Fi channel, instantly forgettable and a terrible waste of good monster potential.

Somewhere up in giant monster bird heaven, Rodan hangs his head in shame.

Um, over.

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