Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mini-Review - "Atragon" (1963)

Awesome ideas in this film, but mostly laughable execution.

To illustrate that point, the plot consists of an underwater empire, known as Mu and is said to be more powerful and advanced than Atlantis, has decided to invade the surface world and take back what they feel rightfully belongs to them. The Mu Empire knows that its weapons and technology are far ahead of ours, except for one piece of weaponry that has been in secret development for years - Atragon, a flying submarine with a giant drill on its front with a weapon that freezes everything to absolute zero.

Yet most of "Atragon" is spent on our cast of characters, almost all of whom would be used again in later Godzilla films like "Mothra vs. Godzilla," and the drama of their lives, like the photographer who wants take pictures of this woman he finds attractive, but she has daddy issues with the guy building Atragon. It takes at least 50 minutes for something interesting to happen in "Atragon," when the film has less than half an hour to go.

Granted, once the film gets to that point, the effects kick into overdrive as Tokyo literally falls into the ground and we get a cool (although short) battle between the Atragon and Manda, a giant sea serpent. The Atragon is a ridiculous concept that you can't help but respect the filmmakers for being able to bring such an idea to life. There is also a neat theme involving the captain of the Atragon, who is so devoted to the Japanese mentality of honor and devotion that is blinded to the fact that Japan has evolved since the end of WWII and now cares more about the world around it.

Overall, it takes a while for anything to happen in "Atragon," but when something does occur, the film pulls out all the stops. It is clear this movie was made by the same people as the Godzilla films, especially with the eccentric tone that rolls with the punches. There is a cheerful atmosphere throughout, so the film is never dull or a pain to sit through. Give this one a watch if you're bored and want something new to appreciate.

Final Grade: B-

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