Saturday, February 1, 2014

Countdown To Godzilla: Q The Winged Serpent Review

Theatrical poster painted by the awesome Boris Vallejo.
     Here we are, once again looking at a giant monster media while we await Godzilla's release.  Last time, we looked at IDW's publication of Dinosaurs Attack!. Today, we're going back even further in time to 1982 to look at the film Q, or more commonly known as Q: The Winged Serpent.
     The movie starts off with some creepy pervert window washer getting his head bitten off by some unseen creature.  As the police investigate, Shepard (David Carrodine) suggests out of frustration that maybe the washer's head came loose and fell off while he tries to connect this latest murder to the string of mutilations that have occurred..  Meanwhile, a sleazeball small-time crook named Quinn (Michael Moriarty) abandons his colleagues in the midst of a heist and loses the merchandise.  While on the run trying to hide, he stumbles upon the creature's nest and tries to use his knowledge of the lair as a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card once he gets taken in by the police.  After some unorthodox investigations, Shepard comes to the conclusion that the mutilations were ritual sacrifices done by a modern day Aztec worshipper that has brought back the ancient god Quetzalcoatl and now Shepard and Quinn have to devise a plan to stop the creature before it can kill again and breed.
The title creature, after having been fed a few bullets.
     This film seems to be one of those movies that is making me stall at the keyboard trying to figure out what to say about it, which is nothing short of frustrating.  Even if doing reviews is just a hobby, I try to word it the best that I can as if I were being paid for doing so...and then a movie like this comes along that leaves you feeling like you don't have a lot to work with.  Was it a masterpiece?  No but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it was a total disaster either.  If you're into scenery chewing, this movie is right up your alley.  Carrodine handles the situation very calmly and open minded unlike most other monster movies that have the authority figures going, "Hogwash!  There's no such thing as monsters!"  Perhaps Carrodine merely nips at the scenery, come to think of it.  This is especially true when in the company of co-stars Moriarty and Richard Roundtree.  Whenever these two are on screen, I swear if you look close enough, you can see chunks of the decorum between their teeth.

Mmmm, brick...
     Alright, what good is a monster movie review if we don"t talk about the monster?  The special effects in Q are pretty decent, with the creature being brought to life via a leg puppet prop and stop motion animation by Randy Cook (whose other works include The Thing and Ghostbusters, amongst others) and David Allen.  Now I know a lot of people groan with stop motion animation but I seem to be one of the few people who find it creepier than CGI probably because it looks so jerky and unnatural, making the monsters it animates seem that much more not of this world.  This movie also takes the same approach that Jaws & Predator did where you do not get a clear look at the creature until at least 45 minutes into the movie.  I've always liked this approach just as long as the rest of the movie can tide you over until the creature is on screen, which I don't necessarily felt that Q did.  To tell the truth, Q is one of those movies where I found the production of the film more interesting than the film itself.  I guess in the end, I'd say this movie was okay but you'd probably really have to twist my arm to get me to recommend it to anyone.  I know this is kind of an odd way to end a review, but I really don't know what else to say about it.
     Check back in a while when we take a look at Guillermo del Toro's Kaiju smackdown romp, Pacific Rim.  Hopefully it'll give me more to work with.

-The Cynic

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