Such a frustrating disappointment
While it is a pity that the story wasn't told with more visual finesse, this is trivial compared to our real-world problems. It takes a good movie to put that into perspective.
Unshakable, witty and deeply felt, the film will be paying emotional dividends for a long, long time.
Let me be very fair here, this is not the best movie in my opinion. But, this movie is fun, it has purpose and is very enjoyable to watch.
In some ways 1965's "Village of the Giants" is a godawful flick about a group of "kids" (more like mid-20s) who stumble upon a potion that turns them into giants. Godawful or not, there's just something mesmerizing about this flick! It's ridiculous and the "special effects" are laughable, yet it's full of energy and is thoroughly entertaining in a swingin' 60s kind of way; and entertainment's the name of the game.Highlights include: the weird bass-driven 60's score (borrowed by Tarantino for "Death Proof"); the accompanying sensual dancing of the "teens" (they really don't know what else to do after becoming giants, so they just dance, lol); the cast -- which includes a young Ron Howard, Beau Bridges, Robert Random and Tommy Kirk -- is great; and last but certainly not least, the cast includes not one, not two, but three gorgeous 60's babes -- Joy Harmon, Tisha Sterling and, best of all, a young redheaded Toni Basil (who went on to become a one-hit wonder with "Hey Mickey"). Basil is so jaw-dropping it's worth seeing the movie just for her. For instance, watch out for Basil in the pool party scene. She also has an extended dance sequence late in the film in black leotards.So, yeah, "Village of the Giants" is a real turkey, but it's a golden turkey. " For comparison, it's superior to the contemporaneous "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" (which was released 2.5 months earlier) in that it's (1.) in color, (2.) doesn't attempt to be serious melodrama in the manner of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) and (3.) lacks a sneering one-dimensional psychopathic vixen as antagonist. In other words, "Village" treads similar terrain to "Faster" but without the negative elements.The film runs 81 minutes and was shot in Burbank and Hollywood, Ca.GRADE: B (Actually a "C" but "A" for entertainment value; so overall "B" )
A boy scientist (a young Ron Howard) accidentally happens upon an enlarging formula that first affects animals and, then, an unruly set of teenagers (led by Beau Bridges). Despite its promising satirical take on both the generational gap (a remnant of the previous decade) and anti-establishment attitudes (then coming into force), this emerges as just about the most inconsequential adaptation ever made of a fantasy classic – the source being H.G. Wells' "The Food of the Gods"
which the director returned to, relatively more soberly, 11 years later for his film of that name. The sighting here of huge go-go dancing ducks, barely acknowledged by assorted 'hipsters' (including leading man Tommy Kirk) similarly letting rip at a nightclub – to the strains of The Beau Brummels and Jack Nitzsche – is not easily forgotten and unfortunately synonymous of the film's innate silliness. Incidentally, Gordon seems to have had something of a fixation on giant-sized menaces throughout his career, since he frequently dealt with this subject matter
and, for obvious reasons, was himself affectionately referred to as "Mr. B.I.G."!
What's the first thing to do when you and seven other friends crash your car into a road block and you're stuck in the mud? Well, you DANCE! What's your first reaction when you're attending a rock concert and all of a sudden two gigantically over-sized ducks come waddling in? You start DANCING, of course. What's the very first thing you must accomplish when you and your friends grew up to a length of 30ft. after consuming a gooey unidentified substance? Right again, you must DANCE! I don't think the legendary bad movie director Bert I. Gordon (BIG, for his friends) ever intended to make a loyal adaptation of H.G. Well's novel "Food of the Gods", he merely just wanted to make a light-headed and 60's spirit-capturing musical about the earliest Rock 'n Roll generations. "Village of the Giants" features an intolerably high amount of pointless padding sequences that simply show teenagers whether 30ft tall or not singing and dancing to Jack Nitzsche's (admittedly catchy) music and that's it. Thank God the film never at one point attempts to be a real scary and unsettling Sci-Fi movie, because that would have been really pathetic with all the lousy acting performances, tacky effects and the virtually non-existing screenplay. The annoying former child star Ron Howard portrays the nerdy kid-inventor Genius and accidentally discovers a substance that causes living creatures to grow to enormous proportions. A gang of naughty, outer town kids manage to steal a big slice of goo because they're sick and tired of being bossed around by adults. The adults probably just righteously stated they should waste less time on dancing and get a job! The goody-two-shoes teenagers in town fight (and go-go dance) back, though! What a totally demented movie this is. I wonder if Beau Bridges would like to be reminded of his role in this film as the nagging and totally uncharismatic leader of the bad pack. Presumably not
And neither would Toni Basil and Ron Howard. However, it must be interesting to see an X-rated version of this film, since all of the girls are quite beautiful (particularly Joy Harmon) and literally bursting out of garments as they feed on the substance. "Village of the Giants" is never suspenseful or interesting, with the exception of one notably engaging gargantuan tarantula scene, and manages to be quite boring despite the short running time. Jack Nitzsche's theme music was obviously brilliant, because no less than Quentin Tarantino borrowed the song "The Last Race" for his own recent grindhouse movie "Death Proof". Worth a peek in case you're a fan of horribly bad low-budget 60's stuff or in case you have a strange & inexplicable admiration for director/writer Bert I. Gordon, like I have.
Where to begin? Okay, first off...it's obvious director Bert I. Gordon has a severe macrophilia fetish. Accepted. And what at times seems like one of those innocent,'60s Disney family comedies (little Ronnie Howard concocting strange potions) gets strangely 'adult' for a family flick (Joy Harmon's growing breasts bursting open her sweater, giant teens gyrating ENDLESSLY in slow motion). Practically jump-starts young boys into puberty! With giant ducks, house pets and spiders, this (VEEERRRRYYY)loose adaptation of H.G. Wells' FOOD OF THE GODS seems aimed for the 'atomic monster/make-out movie' drive-in crowd. However, in this era of multiplexes and make-it/break-it opening weekends, it would be straight-to-DVD! There is no story logic to speak of; objects frequently change scale, giants seemingly enter/exit 'normal' sized doorways, dance music 'spontaneously' occurs, etc. Gordon seems to invest the most effort to the seemingly infinite go-go dancing sequences and the teen growth scene where clothes rip/break off (kind of risqué for 1965--and in a family film to boot!). His camera practically ogles the 'giant' girls in an uncomfortable, perv-cam way. It's a creepy (yet strangely innocent and retarded) little movie at times! It tries to be a comedy (midget/breast size jokes...H.G. Wells would not be amused!), but the "jokes" hit with a dull plop. Thankfully, Ron(nie) Howard would put this mess behind him and go on to become an A-list director/producer. Other than Howard and Beau Bridges(call it a youthful indiscretion), it seems as if the largely no-talent cast disappeared into obscurity. Probably for the best! Worth watching only if you can catch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. A VAST improvement. One can only really laugh at(not with) the film and even that requires assistance!