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Thursday, March 24, 2011

BEHEMOTH -- DVD review by porfle

When a SyFy original movie has the words "worldwide destruction" in the synopsis, you can pretty much bet you're going to hear about it more than see it, with most of the action taking place in a centralized location with occasional dollops of bad CGI.  In BEHEMOTH (2011), the location is a mountain community in the wilds of Canada, and the CGI dishes up one of the goofiest monsters this side of REPTILICUS.

A rash of earth tremors and some mysterious deaths have the citizens of Ascension on edge, including concerned geologist Emily Allington (Pascale Hutton, GINGER SNAPS: UNLEASHED) and government agent Jack Murray (Ty Olsson, "Defying Gravity").  A lovable, quasi-senile old professor, William Walsh (William B. Davis, who was Cancer Man on "The X-Files"), believes that the ravaged Earth has dredged up a mythical beast to purge itself of Mankind as it sometimes does whenever we get too destructive with our global warming and whatnot. 

Ed Quinn ("Eureka") makes a pretty stalwart hero as logger Thomas Walsh, William's son and Emily's old boyfriend, who ends up guiding Jack up the quake-prone Mt. Lincoln in search of some vital equipment left behind by two missing agents.  Naturally, Emily insists on going along, and, even more naturally, Thomas' headstrong younger sister Grace (Cindy Busby, "Heartland") and her dopey boyfriend Jerrod (James Kirk) are camping out on the same mountain.

The behemoth, it turns out, is so big that it practically wears the mountain like a backpack and can flex its enormous CGI tentacles for miles.  Just as the romantic Jerrod picks the perfect moment to hit a knee and propose to Grace (thus marking himself for death), a giant eyeball pokes out of a hole in the rock wall and peers angrily at the two lovebirds.  Their reactions are somewhat comical as they scamper off down the mountain screaming "What was that!  What was that!" as a tentacle makes a grab for them.  This would probably be a good time to mention that some of the acting and dialogue in this flick aren't quite up to par.

Meanwhile, Thomas and Emily are having their own tentacle problems as they search for Jack's missing equipment, which turns out to be an anti-behemoth weapon.  We know exactly what they're going to do with it, too, because it's foreshadowed in the most obvious terms possible by one of William B. Davis' early lines.  Speaking of which, Professor Walsh and his waitress friend Zoe (Jessica Parker Kennedy) get trapped in a diner that's gone down a sinkhole and has tentacles sliding past the window like city buses.

The screenplay takes its time slowly building up to the action until finally it's time for the cameramen to start shaking their cameras around and the characters to start freaking out while the behemoth lobs its appendages at them.  As Professor Walsh works his tired old bones to a frazzle trying to rescue the infuriatingly-stupid Zoe, the big finale features the behemoth sticking its giant, roaring head out the top of Mt. Lincoln while tentacles writhe around it.  This is a sight that will either stupify viewers or have them rolling on the floor in bad-movie delight. 

The DVD from Vivendi is in widescreen with English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  Closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.  No extras.

BEHEMOTH is the kind of monster movie that used to run on a drive-in double bill before turning up years later on "Mystery Science Theater 3000."  If you can appreciate bad movies of recent vintage in addition to the finely-aged ones, you'll probably find it a somewhat enjoyable viewing experience.  If not, however, you should follow the advice of the town sheriff and evacuate the area around Mt. Lincoln as soon as possible. 

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