Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Giant Monsters All Out Attack Week Day 2: The Valley of Gwangi

<- See that. The tag line. Cowboys, battling monsters. Yeah. Totally. I'm in. A million times, I'm in for this. The Valley of Gwangi is a movie that was originally conceived by Willis O'Brien, who did the stop motion effects for King Kong in 1942. It took almost 40 years for Ray Harryhausen to make the movie himself.

We start off with something in a sack being stolen from the Forbidden Valley and a blind gypsy woman warning of the curse of Gwangi. "He who takes from Gwangi the evil one is cursed." The sack stealer is noticeably unimpressed. Heh, I called him a sack stealer.

Next, we're in a Mexican town somewhere in Mexico. There's a parade. And a rodeo at the arena. Tuck wants to go, but the little local boy wants Tuck's money. After some clever banter, Tuck gives Lope some money for a horse and a guide to the arena where the rodeo is. You know, rodeo. As in

Well it's bulls and blood
It's dust and mud
It's the roar of a Sunday crowd
It's the white in his knuckles
The gold in the buckle
He'll win the next go 'round
It's boots and chaps
It's cowboy hats
It's spurs and latigo
It's the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo*

Rodeo. This particular one is run by a Ms. TJ Breckenridge who likes to swim with horses in pools ringed by fire. Tuck and TJ used to be something of an item. But then Tuck left. And now he's back. Not to rekindle some flame, but to try to buy TJ's diving horse Omar.

TJ doesn't want to sell out though. So she tells Tuck to fuck off. Tuck proceeds to fuck off and meets a Professor while wandering the desert with his little friend Lope. The professor shows him fossils of a small prehistoric "dawn horse".

Tuck goes back to town with Lope where TJ finally starts being friendlier. She shows him the mini horse that Carlos the Sack Stealer found. The plan is that the tiny horse will dance on the back of the big hose and we will all be rich! Rich I say! Tuck, in his giddiness over how sweet ass this tiny horse is decides to show the professor. The professor though wants to talk to the gypsies about where it came from. And, being the noble scientist that he is, he tells the gypsies where the tiny horse is so that they can steal it back and maybe lead him to the forbidden valley from whence it came.

So, the gypsies steal back the tiny horse. In fact, it's the tiniest gypsy who gets to break in and retrieve it. Fitting, in a way. And, since no one likes Tuck, it's easy for everyone to imagine that he was responsible. Tuck, in reality, is chasing after the thieves to try to retrieve the horse for TJ because, well, he loves her. And love makes you do funny things sometimes. Like chase after gypsies who stole a little horse. Chase them all the way to a forbidden valley in the hopes of finding MORE little horses because they're just so gosh darned cute.

Once inside the valley, they are attacked by a pterodactyl who tries to fly off with Lope. Luckily Lope is too damned heavy or something because the damn thing lands abruptly. Someone then jumps at the chance to break the poor thing's neck. Poor thing.

They find other creatures in the valley as well. Three different dinosaurs in fact. Two of them get killed by the third, Gwangi. Gwangi is lord of this realm. Gwangi is about the size of an elephant. And Gwangi seems displeased with the people in his valley. The group however sees dollar signs and manages to capture Gwangi to take back for their show.

Back in the arena, the gypsy midget undoes the bolts on Gwangi's cage. Gwangi kills the poor bastard as a thank you and then kills an elephant. Hell of a show. Well worth the price of admission to me, but the spectators in the crowd collectively shit themselves and run out of the arena.

While Tuck and the gang try to fight Gwangi, everyone retreats to the church for the final showdown with Gwangi. Once Tuck is in the church, however, everyone flees the church figuring that it will be better if Tuck handles that final showdown thing himself. Luckily Tuck is one resourceful dude and manages to set the church on fire, killing Gwangi.

Then, the townsfolk hang Tuck and the gang for bringing the beast to town and destroying their church and city. Or at least that's what SHOULD have happened. I mean, the church was CONNECTED to other buildings. The fire will SPREAD. Gwangi didn't destroy the town, the rodeo people did! No, instead we go out with Lope being all emo and shit. Crying to teach us that we should respect all life, or that we should let sleeping prehistoric beasts lie in their forbidden valleys. I don't know. Why else do kids cry?

This is, without a doubt, the BEST cowboys versus dinosaurs movie that I have ever seen in the history of ever! Harryhausen's effects look great. The story, for as cheesy as it sounds today, is great. The acting is good. It was such a great movie that I'm giving it 8 circles of mountains, jagged peaks and steep cliffs that could be the perfect barrier against man and the elements to contain a land of the lost without any sleestacks out of 10.

*Holy shit...did I really use lyrics from a Garth Brooks song?


Nik! said...

I'm really loving the foot note usage. :)

And the Garth Brooks lyrics.