Swamp Thing Reviews
The film has numerous flaws and while they're not so bad that they make the film unwatchable or even unpleasant to watch, it's impossible to ignore them. One of the biggest problems is the special effects. Swamp Thing looks pretty good when the camera doesn't linger on him for too long, but whenever there's a close-up, you can clearly tell that it's a rubber suit. This is an instance where the film would have been much better if it had been set mostly at night, in the shadows or if the creature had been created with a combination of makeup, stop-motion and costumes. Little things throughout also distract from the story, preventing you from completely immersing you in the events. When Alec is set on fire for example, he just runs into the water without making a sound. Now I'm no expert on setting people on fire, but I'm pretty sure there should have been some blood-curdling screams there. Another flaw with the film is that the story feels pretty repetitive, like it was the plot for a string of TV episodes mashed together. Characters are constantly getting separated or kidnapped so that Swamp Thing can once again come up to the rescue. After a while it feels like it's just killing time to get to the 91 minute mark.
The flaws are frustrating because the movie actually has a lot of charm and is very entertaining. The characters are likeable, particularly Cable and a young boy she meets after her escape from the lab (Reggie Batts as Jude). Even Louis Jourdan, hamming it up as Dr. Anton Arcane is a lot of fun to follow because he's actually a competent villain. There are some nice, reflective moments when Swamp Thing isn't ripping off the roofs of cars (a terrible special effect that will have you laughing) or beating up Arcane's henchmen too. Overall the film really works on the emotional level because Alex and Cable have some good chemistry. You can believe the lingering affections they have for each other even after Swamp Thing appears. There's some good dialogue and plenty of action too, so the movie is never dull. It's sort of a mash-up between a smart sci-fi drama and a bad creature-feature. When there are people talking, you want people to hush up so you can pay attention and when there's a creature on the screen, you'll be howling out of excitement and bewilderment. It doesn't get any better than during the climax of the film, which comes out of nowhere and is thoroughly entertaining. I really can't tell you what happens because the beauty of it is in the surprise, which is unfortunate. I can tell you that there is no way you can predict where this rivalry between Arcane and Swamp thing ends up.
This being my first time seeing "Swamp Thing" I have to say that overall I was pleasantly surprised. Often it was as bad as I expected it to be, but often it was actually very competently made and genuinely good. I can't say it's for everyone because the tone of the film is so back-and-forth that a lot of people won't be able to stand it. Overall though I would recommend you check it out (try to get it on Dvd or VHS though, Blu-ray will not be kind to this film); it's a solid mix of "so-bad-its-good" campy fun and genuinely good monster action. (91 min. PG Cut on Dvd, November 7, 2013)