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DVD Review

DVD cover

Warlords of Atlantis (1978)


Starring: Doug McClure, Peter Gilmore, Shane Rimmer and Lea Brodie
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: PG
Available 30 July 2012

Aboard the Texas Rose, a professor of archaeology, his scientist son, and an engineer are on a quest to find the lost city of Atlantis. When a giant octopus attacks their ship, they awaken within a mysterious under water realm. A deep-sea kingdom has been colonised by an advanced alien race with immense psychic powers and a dark secret...

From writer Brian Hales, best known for his time as a writer of the original Doctor Who TV series for almost a decade, comes this tale of mutiny, hidden treasure, giant sea monsters and lost worlds. Warlords of Atlantis is a movie I must have watched over 100 times as a youngster. I saw it at the cinema and watched the VHS video until the sound and picture started to fade.

While it's far from a classic movie, it does have a charm that still shines through almost 35 years later. The basic plot follows two groups of men whose lives are changed when they discover a gold statue while on a mysterious expedition in the middle of the sea. The first group are the scientists who have funded the trip (made up of a professor, his son and an engineer who designed and can work the diving bell they will be using to explore the depths of the sea), the second are the crew of the boat (the captain, three crew, the young cabin boy and the ship's cat). When the crew discover that the expedition could bring them more money than they could ever have dreamed of, three of them decide to band together and kill everyone else on board, taking the treasure for themselves.

However, before they can do this, the boat is attacked by a giant octopus, which drags the captain and the three crew men under the sea. In the meantime, the professor's son and engineer (who are below sea level in the diving bell) find an underwater cave that leads to a mysterious other world - and when they get there they find that the ship's crew have been washed up alive on the beach. They have arrived at Atlantis - in the exact location that the old professor had suspected was the resting place of the mythical land.

As our heroes are introduced to the new land, which is home to various monsters as well as the ruling alien race, they soon realise that the utopian environment is anything but.

The monster effects (by Roger Dicken), while a poor second to stop-motion genius Ray Harryhausen's famous creature effects, work well here. Rather than stop-motion, Dicken appears to have used puppets and filmed them with a faster frame rate to produce the moment of the monsters. This, on the whole works well, and is much simpler to produce than stop-motion animation.

This movie was previously released on DVD back in 2005, and is quite a rare find. I'm suspecting that is simply a reissue, as the picture quality is okay, but it's obvious that the print hasn't been cleaned before the DVD transfer was undertaken. There are no extras, which is a shame as I'd loved to have seen at least an audio commentary on the background to the filming.

While by no means a classic film, for those of a certain generation there's enough here to make it worth adding to your DVD collection.


Darren Rea

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