Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Them! (1954)

Nuclear tests in the desert have caused a mutation in common ants that make them huge. Sargent Peterson (James Whitmore) and FBI agent Graham (James Arness) bring in the esteemed Doctor Medford (Santa) and his hot daughter to plot a course of action.

One of the first and arguably the best in the Giant Bug genre of cold-war science fiction movies. The plot is described quite simply but the movie surprises with it's elegant complexity. You don't necessarily want your viewing to be all text book, and many knock off films take a giant turd on the science portion of the show, but Them! does it right. Enough valid science to keep the nerds in the audience happy and enough giant ant mayhem to please the rest.

One interesting point is that Them! was originally supposed to be color and in 3D, but apparently a studio exec got nervous and pulled the budget at the last minute. Maybe he saved the movie in the process. The ants were all colorful and glittery and looked somewhat foolish, but they worked in black and white. Joan Weldon (the hot doctor-daughter mentioned earlier) said she laughed every time she saw them.

Them! is a classic sci-fi that holds up. Not too high concept and not dumbed down, excellent pacing, and the story, script, and acting were above grade. I held off watching it because I was already very familiar with it, but it still pleased. Even my kids liked it. AMRU 4.
Robert Graham: And I thought today was the end of them.
Dr. Harold Medford: No. We haven't seen the end of them. We've only had a close view of the beginning of what may be the end of us.

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