• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms

TITLE: The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms

YEAR: 1953

GENRE: Science Fiction and Horror

Anybody who does not believe that Ray Bradbury was one of the great writers of twentieth century science fiction and horror probably should just check themselves into a mental institution. Bradbury wrote the stories that inspired some great sci-fi films including Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes, plus his imagination and writing style influenced countless writers and film makers. The 1950’s sci-fi/horror hit The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms is based on Bradbury’s short story “The Fog Horn” and the film is a perfect example of how to create a fantastic giant monster running amuck-type of movie. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms is pure popcorn munching drive-in theater fun.

Up at the North Pole a nuclear explosion is conducted as part of a scientific experiment. The result of the experiment is something supervising scientist Dr. Tom Nesbitt (played by Paul Christian) did not expect: the blast awakened a 30 foot tall carnivorous dinosaur that had been frozen in ice for 100 million years. The military nor his scientific comrades do not believe his outlandish claims, and desperately tells his story to Dr. Thurgood Elson (Cecil Kellaway) and his assistant Lee Hunter (Paula Raymond). As sightings of the monster mount in Greenland andCanada, the scientists come to the conclusion that the monster is on his way toNew York Citythanks to the Atlantic current. Colonel Jack Evans (Kenneth Tobey) of the United States Army is called to supervise the confrontation of the prehistoric wrecking machine and an epic battle of the super powers commences!

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms was one of the very first giant monster movies from the 1950’s and easily one of the very best. The technical aspects of the film are more than adequate although admittedly low budget, but the acting is a highlight as it is much better than one would expect from a film of this nature. Director Eugene Lourie (Gorgo, The Giant Behemoth) does his best work in his limited directorial career in wrangling the acting talent into a fairly cohesive unit. What makes The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms truly special is the spectacular stop-motion special effects which still look wonderful today. The scene where the dinosaur tears up the New York harbor is utterly fantastic, plus another scene where the monster destroys Coney Island complete with an engulfed in flames roller coaster is truly iconic. There were more than affair amount of 1950’s monster movies that were downright terrible, but The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms is an exception as the story is exciting yet simplistic and builds to an exciting, edge of one’s seat climax.

The stop-motion dinosaur and small set effects were created by the legendary Ray Harryhausen, and this was the first film to feature exclusively his revolutionary work that inspired generations of special effects artists. This was also an early effort for the skills of screen writer Fred Freiberger; Freiberger moved on to production later in his career and supervised some of the greatest sci-fi television shows ever created including the last season of “Star Trek: TOS”, “The Six Million Dollar Man”, and the highly under-rated “Space: 1999”. I have had some fun shredding some of the god-awful 1950’s sci-fi dreck, but The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms is definitely not one of those films. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms is one of the truly great films of early science fiction that displays the wonderful talents of two individuals who would forever change the genre. Recommended.

* * * * 1/2

–Mark

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