What a Woman

Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman is the unnecessary remake to an already cheesy cult classic. A B movie concept like this can only go so far in the 20th century. Director Christopher Guest goes for a slight campy tone, but still expects it to be taken seriously. Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman became a TV movie released on HBO. Despite the R rating, there’s only one instance of nudity and an F bomb. The blue tinted 1993 remake follows a lot of the same beats as the original.

Daryl Hannah goes from timid Nancy Archer to confident sexual goddess over the course of the movie. The aliens arrive in a conventional flying saucer that eventually turns her into a giantess. The enlarging effects obviously look better in the 90’s. They just take more cues from The Amazing Colossal Man by including a giant needle and a mundane activity like bathing in a swimming pool. The ending is more like the original when Nancy starts screaming for “Harry!”

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is playing at a drive-thru to make it more obvious. The biggest difference is the more feminist slant they give it. None of the female characters are made to look bad. Harry is still a cheating jerk (played by a Baldwin), but Honey is more redeemable. Nancy’s father is also included to show someone else putting her down. Her psychiatrist and the comical deputy are also changed to women. I was mostly on board until the drastically altered ending. Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman is a fine, but forgettable remake.

Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman

Nancy Archer baths in a swimming pool

Remake of: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

Big Girls Don’t Cry

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman turned a beast into a beauty. Although The Amazing Colossal Man and its sequel War of the Colossal Beast have been mostly forgotten, the gender swapped Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is a well known cult classic. I dare call it my personal favorite 1950’s B movie. I’d been wanting to see it for years. The idea of a 50 foot scantily clad woman going on a rampage was much more appealing to me. Hence why Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is so bad that it’s good.

It’s far more silly compared to other size changing movies. Since most women in 50’s movies never had any serious problems to deal with. Nancy Archer is wealthy, but dealing with mental distress and a drinking problem. Made worse by her sleazy husband Harry cheating on her with a floozy named Honey. They plot to take Nancy out of the picture, but a giant alien in a UFO does that for them. More time is spent on either Harry’s scheme or the police investigating Nancy’s claim.

Nancy finally becoming a giantess doesn’t disappoint. She’s definitely one of the sexiest monsters of all time, thanks to busty model Allison Hayes playing the part. A laughable paper mache hand is used for close up shots and some truly terrible compositing effects are used when she walks around. The only convincing shots are in miniature sets. Nancy’s only goal is to take out her cheating husband “Harry!” He very noticeably becomes a doll when she finds him. Neither survive, but I wasn’t expecting them to. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman speaks for itself.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

Nancy Archer disrupts a power line

This Man, this Monster

War of the Colossal Beast continues the tragic tale of “The Amazing Colossal Man.” It’s a fitting title since former Lt. Colonel Glenn Manning is now more beast than man. Manning grunts like a monster and has a freakish half skull disfigurement as a result of his fall from the Boulder Dam. Eternal growth is no longer an issue since the giant syringe kept him at 60 feet. The makeup is disturbing even for a 1950’s B movie, but it was likely done to hide the fact that he was a different actor.

None of the original cast returns for War of the Colossal Beast. You’d swear it wasn’t a sequel if they didn’t reuse a large chunk of the first movie in an extended flashback. Despite claiming to have no family, Manning’s sister Joyce replaces his fiancée Carol as the most personally concerned party. A mysterious accident in Mexico slowly reveals Manning’s monstrous presence. The military tries to reach the man within, but Manning has completely lost his mind at this point.

The Colossal Beast rampages through Los Angeles and very nearly destroys a bus full of kids. The miniature sets and special effects are just as iffy as before. His sister reaches his humanity, but Manning’s fate is sealed by a nearby power line. Although entirely black & white, color is briefly used for the electrocution. War of the Colossal Beast is more tragic fun that gave Mystery Science Theater 3000 even more to mock.

War of the Colossal Beast

Glenn Manning electrocutes himself

Preceded by: The Amazing Colossal Man

I Don’t Want to Grow Anymore!

The Amazing Colossal Man really grows on you. This 1950’s B movie takes us through the tragedy of eternal growth. The extreme opposite of eternal shrinking. The Amazing Colossal Man was released the same year as The Incredible Shrinking Man as an obvious cash in. So obvious, that The Amazing Colossal Man had the honor of being mocked on Mystery Science Theater 3000. A normal sized Lt. Colonel Glenn Manning has his life changed forever when his body is belted by plutonium on a military testing range.

All of his dead tissue grows back, but his head remains bald. Much like the incredible shrinking man before him, the growing process is a slow one. Manning grows approximately 8-10 feet a day. The military keeps him under control and doctors try to treat him, but it’s no use. His caring fiancée Carol is all he’s got in the world. Even with the standard monster movie premise, Manning’s personal torment is unfortunate. He doesn’t want to grow anymore!

As his mind starts to go, the newly dubbed “Amazing Colossal Man” wanders into Las Vegas. The miniature sets and special effects used to enlarge Manning actually look pretty good. At least they do when he’s about 16 feet tall. His 60 foot rampage through Vegas hasn’t aged well. Especially when Manning picks up Carol. Manning’s heart will give out unless he stops growing, but a giant syringe can only do so much. The Amazing Colossal Man is big fun with a tragic end.

The Amazing Colossal Man

Glenn Manning sits with Carol

Followed by: War of the Colossal Beast

Deliver Us

The Book of Eli has a deeper purpose than I could’ve possibly imagined. I initially wrote it off as just another late 2000’s-early 2010’s post-apocalyptic movie. True, The Book of Eli is very similar on the surface. A war has ravaged the world and plunged it into a bleak dystopian future where crime runs rampant. Remaining humans wear sunglasses to protect them from the light. Denzel Washington walks through the wasteland as Eli. His mission is to carry a single very important book to a safe location. Important because most books were destroyed after the war.

The Book of Eli is seriously underappreciated. My mom stressed the importance of my brother and I seeing the movie. The action is the first major highlight as Eli quickly dispatches of several highwayman using only a machete. Subsequent brutal violence is just as fast-paced with satisfying take downs. Denzel is at his usual best and the rest of the cast is up to the task. Mila Kunis really convinced me that she can do action as her character Solara joins Eli on his mission.

Jennifer Beals is her blind mother and Gary Oldman is the despicable villain who runs a destitute town. Carnegie will cross any line in order to rule mankind with Eli’s book. SPOILER ALERT! After awhile you realize the sacred book is in fact The Bible. As a Christian, it’s so refreshing to see the importance of faith reinforced in an action movie no less. The Book of Eli feels so much like a modern passage with Eli representing a man given a difficult task by God. The second twist is far too shocking to give away. The Book of Eli needs to be seen to be appreciated.

The Book of Eli

Eli remains on his path

A Miss Most Foul

Artemis Fowl is easily one of the worst book adaptations of all time. It’s right up there with botched adaptations like Dragonball: Evolution or The Last Airbender. I never read the children’s book series by Irish author Eoin Colfer, but even I knew what the fundamental problem was. Artemis Fowl is supposed to be the villain of the story! Artemis Fowl is described as “Die Hard with fairies” and the 12 year old genius criminal mastermind is supposed to be the Hans Gruber of the story. Disney basically said, “We can’t have a mean old villain as the main character.” So they instead turned Artemis Fowl into a stiff stock smart kid in a suit with redeemable motives. I knew about Artemis Fowl for a long time since the book was advertised on my Spy Kids VHS tape. I always expected an adaptation, but it looked ridiculous the moment I saw the trailer. The 2019 release date being pushed back to 2020 didn’t inspire much confidence.

I was expecting a colossal box-office bomb, but Disney got lucky by releasing it on Disney+ during the pandemic. Artemis Fowl bares an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes and is every bit the boring, lackluster, confusing, mess it appears to be. Instead of kidnapping a fairy for a ransom of gold, Artemis just wants to find his father. He was kidnapped by the incredibly pointless villain Opal Koboi. Even as a basic adventure fantasy science fiction story, Artemis Fowl fails. All they do is deliver never ending exposition and tell you how to feel at all times. Gold is replaced by some random McGuffin not present in the book. The underground Haven City world of fairies, dwarves, trolls, and centaurs is so dull you’d hardly believe this was directed by Kenneth Branagh. Fairies wear green and have pointy ears, but I swear they’re not elves. They’re also Irish and work for a police force called LEPrecon, but I swear they’re not leprechauns.

Holly Short is the kidnapped fairy who’s supposed to be the protagonist, but she’s instead relegated to co-lead. The unknown child actors are lousy and they roped several major celebrities into this travesty. Dame Judi Dench talks with a bizarre gravelly voice, Colin Farrell is wasted, and don’t get me started on Josh Gad. He plays the giant dwarf Mulch Diggums a little too close to the book as he unhinges his jaw with freakish CGI and dirt shoots out of his butt. Fowl’s intimidating bodyguard Butler is strangely race changed and his niece is just kinda there. Just about everything takes place in the Fowl Manor during a painfully generic time stopping fairy house raid. Artemis and Holly become fast friends and the movie ends with Artemis calling himself a criminal mastermind despite never earning that title. Artemis Fowl is the disaster you get when you purposefully anger longtime fans and give general audiences no reason to care.

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl and friends

Flying Rubber

Flubber brought The Absent-Minded Professor into the modern age. The extreme 90’s was a decade where Disney embraced CGI and began remaking their older classics. I would’ve been 2 years old if I saw Flubber in theaters like I assume I did. Otherwise, most of my memories are of seeing it on TV or possibly VHS. It was never a favorite, but I fondly remember Flubber. After seeing the original, I can definitely tell what the problems are.

Flubber was written by John Hughes and stars Robin Williams as the very forgetful Professor Brainard. Names are changed to fit the 1997 setting and Brainard’s very patient fiancée Sara is now promoted to teacher. Marcia Gay Harden gives her a bit more depth, but Weebo is the true MVP of the remake. Instead of a dog, Brainard’s closest companion is a female hovering robot with an unrequited love for her inventor. She’s strangely similar to Tinker Bell in Hook. Weebo is especially memorable for her monitor that mostly displays Disney clips.

In order to really draw kids to the movie, Flubber is given sentience and a mischievous personality. The little green mass of flying rubber has multiple scenes of it bouncing around or performing a dance number for no apparent reason. Everything else is similar to the original. Christopher McDonald is the smug romantic rival, there’s a much more downplayed flying car, and a businessman trying to close down Medfield College with his son. His henchmen are just given more comedic scenes. They recreate the Flubber basketball scene well enough, but it’s actually Flubber that the villain steals in the bouncy conclusion. Flubber is a silly remake with a lot of heart.

Flubber

Professor Brainard discovers Flubber

Remake of: The Absent-Minded Professor

Flying Football

Son of Flubber is the very first Disney sequel. Which is just as rare as using black & white, because Walt Disney wasn’t a fan of sequels. It’s so forgotten that I actually had to seek out Son of Flubber. I have no idea what the title is supposed to be referring to. Since Professor Brainard and his wife Betsy don’t have a son. It might be referring to the Flubber gas that Brainard invents, but the title still doesn’t make sense.

Son of Flubber wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as The Absent-Minded Professor. I think they took it a little too seriously. The bouncy fun of the first movie is instead replaced by financial problems, marital problems, and legal problems. The Government doesn’t pay Brainard what he deserves, there’s a love rectangle that goes on forever, and a court battle replaces the exciting flight over Washington from the first movie. The only thing I found funny was a commercial for Flubber products.

The entire original cast returns to rehash a lot of what came before. Mr. Hawk is once again after Brainard’s breakthrough invention and Shelby is once again terrorized by it. The Flubber based invention is a practically magic weather gun that creates rain clouds. Hawk’s son Biff is now working with the Professor in a subplot that changes the Medfield College sporting event from basketball to football. The Flubbery inflatable football scene is more goofy than inspired. Son of Flubber retains its mostly impressive special effects, but forgets to have fun with it.

Son of Flubber

Professor Brainard aims his weather gun

Preceded by: The Absent-Minded Professor

Flying Car

The Absent-Minded Professor is the original Flubber extravaganza. The original movie is good clean fun with a lot of bounce and pep for a live-action Disney movie. As a 90’s kid, I of course grew up with flying rubber. I wasn’t aware of The Absent-Minded Professor since the title is different from the remake. It’s notable for being an extremely rare Disney movie filmed in black & white. Rare, because Walt Disney always prefered technicolor. I think the impressive 1961 special effects are the reason for the colorless choice.

Ned Brainard is an absent-minded professor who teaches at Medfield College. It’s a simple story, so Brainard only has his dog Charlie and housekeeper to keep his head straight. Brainard strives to unlock the mysteries of science, but what he can’t figure out are the mysteries of women. Which is why he’s missed his own wedding three times. Betsy is Brainard’s mostly patient sweetheart. Fred MacMurray and Nancy Olson’s chemistry adds a nice romantic element to the wacky events.

Flubber is a simple perpetually moving super ball that can make people bounce and even power a flying car. The bouncing is used in a funny basketball sequence. While the flying car is really the main focus as Brainard flies around in his Model T. He just faces romantic competition from Shelby. As well as the conniving businessman Mr. Hawk and his son Biff attempting to steal the Flubber powered car. Only the people of Washington can appreciate his breakthrough. The bouncing and flying aren’t always flawless, but that doesn’t take away my enjoyment. The Absent-Minded Professor won’t soon be forgotten.

The Absent-Minded Professor

Professor Brainard flies his Model T with Charlie

Followed by: Son of Flubber

Part 1 of… Nothing

The Divergent Series: Allegiant is basically the reason why we don’t see final books split into 2 parts anymore. After The Deathly Hallows, Breaking Dawn, Mockingjay, and even The Hobbit, Hollywood got way too comfortable with that money making scheme. Veronica Roth’s Allegiant was finally the last straw. The Divergent Series was barely a hit YA franchise to begin with. So thinking audiences would pay to see 4 movies was a risk that didn’t pay off. Allegiant bombed at the box-office and I’m partly to blame for that. Unlike Divergent or Insurgent, my brother and I chose not to see the third movie in theaters. I honestly stopped caring at that point. The worst thing about Allegiant is that it is half a movie. With the lead villain dead, Four’s estranged mother Evelyn leads what remains of the factions in Chicago.

People are still murder crazy as they execute those who were loyal to Jeanine. Leading to a struggle between the factionless and the allegiant. The wall leading to the outside world has been closed off, but Tris, Four, Peter, Caleb, Christina, and Tori managed to grapple themselves over the barrier. The Divergent Series was always science fiction, but what they find over the wall is so advanced that it feels completely different compared to what came before. The environment looks like another planet with a high tech civilization overseeing the outside world. There are weapons that can shield you with drone technology, holographic Chicago surveillance systems, hovercrafts, bubble travel, and futuristic cities. The convoluted reason for the experiment was for the Bureau of Genetic Welfare to repair a contaminated world with genetic testing or something.

Shailene Woodley grew her hair out a bit, but she barely does anything as Tris is given further tests as the only hope for humanity. Four and Christina are learning military stuff and Peter and Caleb are off surveilling. The only new characters worth mentioning are Nita, Matthew, and the Bureau’s leader David. Without Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels takes over as the clearly evil shady government type. The conflict involves gene purity vs. the damaged citizens of Chicago. The Bureau raid the wastelands to steal children and wipe their memories with amnesia gas. Something they plan to do in Chicago during an anti-climatic climax that was clearly meant for a midway point. The threat of the Bureau continues to loom in the background, but we’ll never see the conclusion since the awkwardly titled The Divergent Series: Ascendiant was cancelled. Like the story itself, Allegiant is proof that forcing a movie to be divided for no reason leads to chaos.

3. The Divergent Series Allegiant

Tris and Four flee Chicago

Preceded by: The Divergent Series: Insurgent