Beginning of the End Reviews
July 3, 2011
Another giant bug movie, with a few scenes very reminiscent of Them!. Gordon is my least favourite sci-fi horror director, his movies aren't so bad that they're good, they're just plain bad. The special effects are so simple a kid could have made them, the acting is bad, the story is lacking and full of holes. I wouldn't recommend this movie.
June 17, 2008
Um, saying its one of the better giant grasshopper movies, isn't exactly an endorsement.
July 4, 2007
"We may just be witnessing the beginning of the end"...of Peter Graves' quality acting! Nah, kidding. Fun film, great MST3K. :>
July 14, 2006
See it if only for the brilliant special effect that looks like a grasshopper set on top of a postcard! And of course be sure to see the Mystery Science Theater 3000 way, too, especially for Crow T. Robot's epic 15 act play about Peter Graves at the University of Minnesota.
March 31, 2012
One of the worst films of all time only to be made watchable with the assistance of people making fun of it.
March 11, 2012
The story is a bit interesting, but the effects can be pretty cheap in some shots and the film goes nowhere near the beginning of the end. Decent characters but none too interesting. Best if watched on MST3K.
April 28, 2011
I've heard it said that if you've seen one giant monster or nature run amuck movie, you've seen them all. I'm not sure about that, but I do feel safe in saying that if you've seen one Bert I Gordon movie, you've seen them all. Who's that, you say. Bert I Gordon, aka Mr. B.I.G., was a somewhat prolific B-movie director from the fifties through the seventies, rather in the same vein as Roger Corman.
But while Mr. Corman worked mainly for American International Pictures, and directed all manner of low-budget offerings, Gordon worked for whatever studio would hire him, and had a more specialized niche: movies about giant creatures. He did endless variations on this theme; giant ants in Empire of the Ants, prehistoric beasts in King Dinosaur, giant rats and wasps in Food of the Gods, out of control teenage giants in Village of the Giants, and giant locusts in this film, Beginning of the End.
Another difference between Corman and Gordon was their production values. Corman usually had low budgets to work with, necessitating the use of flimsy models, cheap monster suits, second rate production facilities, and a fair amount of stock footage. The budgets of Gordon's films on the other hand were virtually nonexistent, forcing him to rely on improvised sound stages in offices or vacant warehouses, practically endless stock footage, and severe overuse of rear projection shots. This is where you place the actors in front of a screen, onto which you project the giant monsters they're supposed to be fighting or running from.
I've already mentioned that this movie is about giant locusts. These locusts became giant because they ate giant vegetables that were created using radioactive isotopes as part of Department of Agriculture experiment run by Peter Graves. Now based on his later work in movies like Airplane! I still believe him to be a decent actor who got a bad rap. But I admit that seeing the number of Z-grade movies like this that he's appeared in, it's pretty easy to see how he acquired that bad rap. But I digress. As a side effect of their rapid growth, the locusts have become ravenous, and carnivorous. And so, after destroying a small town and eating Graves's lab assistant, they attack Chicago and do battle with the United States army.
As befitting the nonexistent budget, the special effects are equally nonexistent. The small town that they destroyed before the start of the movie looks suspiciously like it was hit by a tornado. And in every scene with the locusts, it painfully obvious that they're just regular grasshoppers who have been shoddily edited into footage of the actors. Much of the film consists of grasshoppers wandering through battle footage from previous war movies and newsreels. If you look closely you can actually see them walking through the tanks and guns. The handful of extras in soldier's uniforms do their part, firing into the air and backing away in terror, but when their eaten, it's always just off-screen.
And for the ultimate in cinematic penny-pinching, look no further than the scenes of locusts climbing Chicago's most famous buildings. Anyone with good eyesight will quickly realize that what the locusts are climbing is actually postcards of famous Chicago buildings. At one point a grasshopper even walks off into thin air- and they still put the shot in the movie. These people weren't even trying. And then there's the rather anti-climactic climax, in which the locusts are lured into Lake Michigan and drown. It's just footage of grasshoppers swarming across stock footage of Grant Park, and then a close up of dead grasshoppers bobbing around in water.
The only thing that saves this movie from complete awfulness is the bad laughs generated whenever the locusts appear on screen. Even this would probably have gotten old after awhile if I hadn't been watching the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version. If there was ever a movie that was meant to be mocked, this is it. I would highly MST3K episode to fans of the series or anyone looking for some laughs. As for the original, I can only recommend it for curing insomnia. Trust me, you'll be out cold from boredom long before the first locust appears.
September 15, 2005
[font=Times][color=#000000]It?s not the worst giant insect movie, but it isn?t one of the better ones either. There are scenes in this movie that are obviously taken from (inspired by if you want to be nice) the superior movie [i]Them![/i]. Some of the ?postcard? special effects are laughable and the soundtrack doesn?t enhance the viewing much. The actors deliver their lines but never really become the characters. Only fans of this specific sub-genre will find anything at all interesting in this film.[/color][/font]