As we are all eager to see original genre movies, like the Ellison post—apocalyptic yarn, or other mind—bending, knockout, mind—blowing things, it's reassuring to be aware that the cinema will go on supplying such curiosities. But was Scarpelli successful in his attempt to emulate Lang? Despite its clumsiness, the Italian 'Metropolis', and the ambitious send—up should be acknowledged, is, in intention, a weirdly original movie, a sort of _proto—steam-punk—what if people living 200 centuries before the CE, or 180 centuries before the Jewish Patriarchs, would of used advanced technologies, under the command of a truly nasty ruler who reduced his people to zombies, beings without will, wandering through the barren cityscape of that smashing tyranny; yet the results are not only unconvincing, but uselessly silly and childish. In fact, perhaps kids might like it.
Beware a current synopsis—IL GIGANTE
is not about Metropolis being
sinful—whence such an idea? The citizens are bland sheep; it's the king who proves himself guilty of the latter—day sin of Frankenstein and Jekyll—and he's also quite lustful, though, of course, unable of healthy romance. Nor is Scarpelli's tiny budget futurist fairy tale about
godlessness; these Conan undertones are abruptly lacking. There's never a word about religion—in a bleak cityscape where dizzying technologies and ray—weaponry are put to serve the king's plans—which, however, don't make much sense to begin with.
I mean, a bit of intelligence would of sufficed to spare us from many of the goofs, and some good sense could of supplied, at least partly, for the shortages of the budget, and the nonchalant, almost insulting _cluelessness of the cast; even if he had to work on a tiny budget, and with a bunch of retards, the director and his handful of scriptwriters could of spared us so much of what's unintentionally laughable.
The actresses are ugly (in fact, the whole cast is decidedly unlikable), the weapons—mindlessly bizarre, and the fight scenes—largely goofy. Otherwise, any of the Italian genre movies—Westerns, Peplums, Sci—Fi, horror, comedies, crime thrillers, erotica, etc.—is better than any episode of 'S. Trek'; I couldn't help comparing IL GIGANTE
to the S. Trek, and even this one is certainly better, more thrilling and exciting.
A clan of dissidents traveling towards Metropolis to challenge, one knows not how, the limitless authority of the king (and his clique of irresponsible scientists)—maybe merely to warn and admonish him of the envisioned consequences of his senseless behavior, become a threat to the citizen's existence as such, let alone their minds
—is decimated, except for one, obviously stronger than his kinsmen, who survives in that ruthless world, despite the harshness and hopelessness. This survivor is arrested, brought to the king, than pushed to fight—first, a goofy strongman—than, some murderous pygmies—who defeat him. The political prophet is tortured with rays. Otherwise, we don't get to see many gadgets from that 20 thousands yrs old civilization
. Mercilessly and minutely tortured by the king, with that creepy technology, the chained prophet is helped to escape by the Queen, and counseled, against his own misgivings—after all, what could a redneck, albeit a muscle-man, do, against all those fancy rays?--, to launch a guerrilla war. The muscle-man becomes a one—man—army, almost a Rambo of sorts; meantime, natural disasters begin to occur. The tiny budget makes it necessary that they are rather recounted, told, than shown.
Who's the protagonist chosen by the director when he set himself to outdo Lang? This survivor is a prophet, an ethical one, as Metropolis' world is devoid of any religion, there is not a word about religion and godlessness, and there are, anyway, much too few presumably thinking characters—the royal clique, and the few rebels; and Stafford tells us that Metropolis was in the extremely distant past—not in the future.
Be that as it may, the righteous prophet uses, one evening, a weapon resembling either hooks, or crooked branches; other times, he fights with a chain, or some huge and flattened, bi—dimensional spoon, that could also remind of a flattened bone. So, he becomes a guerrilla fighter, and is even joined, sadly only once, by a girl—something meant to puzzle us as well, as her identity is only later revealed.
But the sets are direly uninspired, as is the presumably erotic dance that precedes the nuptial encounters. The movie is _charmless and discouragingly trite.
Mitchell didn't look like Heston (who, by the way, never looked better than in the blockbuster EARTHQUAKE); he looked like a thug. But as Obro (whatever), he looked, when tortured, genuinely distressed and scared, hopeless and downtrodden—in a eerie way; we owe this fact, to his committed, wholehearted acting. And I mean it in a good way; he's not a detached, aloof by—passer. And even in the otherwise unremarkable clashes with the blackguards, Mitchell seems committed and on to something. I said all the performers in this movie are butt—ugly, indiscriminately; and none of them is, of course, uglier than the lead—the muscle-man's is the leading ugliness, something entirely unpleasant, even annoying. Mitchell had a brutish ugliness that reminds of York, Palance, Bronson, and other butt—faces of the silver screen.
(Anyway, the European directors of genre movies seemed eager to shot such ugly faces. It became their sense of the bizarre and the insidiously menacing.)
Some of the sets have a certain almost Aztec touch; and there is a scene uncannily forecasting the STAR WARS—the king faced by his dead father's specter, and talk about a force, all—pervading. Anyway, the unrepentant king refuses to face the ecological implications of his disruptive policies.
This is a kids' movie. I liked the last 30' of it. Eventually, it climaxes as a disaster movie—Atlantis, Rhodos, Pompeii
. Yet the final frame is hopeful—the strongman and the princess, embraced in the sunshine, after the catastrophe has ended.
Mitchell, as I said, contributes a hearty, albeit wholly clueless, performance.
Review by Cristi_Ciopron from the Internet Movie Database.