Sheriff Kyle Williams moves to the small town of Bywater looking
for a quieter life, unfortunately for Kyle Bywater is anything
but a quite place to live. Ensconced in the leafy swamps,
this is a town of death and murder, where it is not unusual
for people to disappear. The town is being torn apart by an
internal fight between the locals who want to preserve the
swamp and the local bigwig, Frederic Schist, who wants to
exploit its natural resources. The locals are not the only
guardians of the swamp, within its darkest recesses lurks
the Man Thing...
Thing is the much unloved child of Marvel, originally
destined to have a theatrical release; this was scaled down
to a few theatres and an almost straight to DVD release. It
has previously been shown on the Sci-Fi Channel as an original
movie. So what was so bad about the film that made Marvel
want to bury it?
movie was directed by Brett Leonard, who had previously directed
the rather unsatisfying Lawn Mower Man and Virtuosity
- whilst both were interesting, neither of them set any great
new bench marks in film making. The script was written by
Steve Gerber, who has worked on animation scripts, the original
comic and on the original Howard the Duck comics and
Hans Rodionoff, whose list of work whilst short appears to
be mainly in the realm of B-movies. So, not a great start.
strange thing is that this much unloved son of Marvel isn't
all bad; it has a lot more to commend it than the vacuous
Fantastic Four. Ok, so the script isn't good, it's
not partially original and for all fans of the comic it dumps
much of the original premise of the story. It's full of clichés
and stolen ideas. The first killing we see is of a teenage
couple, who in the midsts of coitus are interrupted by a tree
killing the boyfriend, at which point we will all draw a quick
veil over all the jokes about the poor boy getting a inconvenient
real star of the show is the swamp, which is portrayed as
both beautiful and frightening. Steve Arnold, who was the
cinematographer on the movie, really pulls out all the stops
to make the swamp an integral character in the movie and this
is nicely complimented by Roger Mason's score to bring some
genuinely creepy moments.
cast all put in good performances and obviously do what they
can with such a derivative script, even the monster at the
end doesn't disappoint. If failure there is, it's with the
direction. Like his previous films you walk away from Man
Thing thinking that it could have been so much better
in someone else's hands.
best way to approach the film is to think of it as a superior
B-movie which, with a six pack, will make for an enjoyable
night in. It won't change your life but it just might scare
the bejesus out of you. The odd thing is that this is an attempt
to make a horror movie out of a comic book, which leaves the
film as an interesting and brave attempt. But, given the glut
of superhero films, I'm not sure that now was the time to
make Man Thing.
disc comes with little in the way of extras, just a trailer
for the film and three other trailers. The print is clean
and the audio options are either stereo or 5.1. The 5.1 really
is good for opening up the soundscape, though if you don't
have this option the stereo does a fine job too.
a good watch on a boozed up Saturday night.