DVD
Attack of the 50ft Woman

Starring: Daryl Hannah and Daniel Baldwin
Infinity
RRP: 15.99
INF020
Certificate: 12
Available 09 October 2006


Heiress Nancy Cobb Archer discovers that her no-good husband Harry is cheating on her with the local floozy. Nancy drives out into the desert where she has a close encounter with a UFO. Harry uses her talk of flying saucers as an excuse to have her declared mentally unstable so that he can get hold of her money. But then, as a result of her alien encounter, Nancy suddenly goes super-size. The 50ft woman discovers a newfound self-confidence and pursues Harry on a mission of vengeance...

OK, let's face it - the original 1958 version of this movie wasn't great. It earned its "cult classic" status thanks to an iconic poster design and by being "so bad it's good", with cheesy dialogue and special effects that were risible even in its day. This 1993 made-for-TV remake may have improved special effects, but it's just not as much fun to watch.

Supposedly a comedy, it isn't very funny, which is remarkable when you consider that it is directed by the legendary comedian and This is Spinal Tap star Christopher Guest. The one line that is reasonably amusing is Daniel Baldwin's as Harry Archer: "Congratulations, Doctor [Dr Loeb, who has just suggested that Nancy's condition is hormone related]. You've just discovered a new kind of PMS."

Also, is it just me, or would you expect a film that involves Daryl Hannah (who has proven to be not averse to getting her kit off in movies such as Reckless, Splash and At Play in the Fields of the Lord) growing huge and bursting out of her clothes to include a bit of tasteful Hannah nudity? No, all we get is a very tame bath scene. The irony is that the film does include a quick butt shot, but it isn't Hannah's, but rather that of Cristi Conaway as Harry's lover, Louise "Honey" Parker (and very nice it is too). Furthermore, there's an instance of the F-word being used. Why is this movie so tame in some regards but adult in others?

The production also seems a little unsure of where it stands when it comes to the time period. The fashions, hairstyles, cars, architecture and even the look of the flying saucer all reflect the 1950s setting of the original movie, yet other references suggest a later date. Nancy's father (William Windom) has an old picture of himself shaking hands with former US president Richard Nixon. And Harry uses the phrase "close encounter", which was first coined (by J Allen Hynek) in 1972.

Director Guest and writer Joseph Dougherty emphasise the feminist aspects of Mark Hanna's original storyline (the empowerment of women) and tack on a new ending. 24 fans may be interested to know that this ending features an earlier appearance by Xander Berkeley.

Sorry to put you off with this far from growing - er, I mean glowing - review, but there are also no special features on the disc. However, with no sign of the 1958 version becoming available on DVD any time soon, I suppose this one will have to do for now.

Chris Clarkson

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£11.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
£11.99 (Blahdvd.com)
   
£10.69 (Thehut.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.