I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with me. There are dozens, possibly dozens of dozens–which I guess would be grosses–of movies I haven’t seen, but have access to. I’ve been really interested in watching Looper, Equilibrium, and I don’t even know how many other titles lately. But did I watch any of them? Nope.
Instead of popping in the copies of those movies into my Blu-Ray player, I chose to stay at the computer, and run through Netflix’s streaming offering for the first time in a few weeks. I saw a bunch of movies I’ve been interested in, and a few series, including the exclusive House of Cards series… but did I watch any of them? Nope.
Because there’s something wrong with me, I’m telling you. In the recently added section, staring me in the face was Mongolian Death Worm. I’d never heard of it. We don’t get SyFy ’round these parts. But since there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way my brain fires, I overlooked over a dozen movies, and a dozen shows I’ve been waiting and wanting to watch… and I put on Mongolian Fucking Death Worm.
I went into this movie with three expectations:
- It would be hilariously bad.
- It would look hilariously like shit.
- It would be an unabashed rip off of Tremors.
I was right about one thing. It’s an unabashed rip off of Tremors.
Mongolian Death Worm has a story. I’m sure of it. It’s set in Mongolia. There’s some Doctors Without Borders that need to get medicine to a village where everyone’s dying of worm rot, or something. That’s where Young Indiana Jones comes in. Sean Patrick Flanery plays young Harrison Ford once again, this time trying his damnedest to conjure up Han Solo, if Han were driving a Jeep around in the barren wastes of
Texas Mongolia, looking for Genghis Khan’s tomb… because it obviously would have limitless treasure, like it’s the fucking Cave of Wonders or some shit. Turns out the Shale Gas industry has awoken the ancient guards of Genghis Khan’s tomb, the Mongolian Death Worms. What’s that? Is it a heavy handed warning about the dangers of the corporate America ruining the global environment? We’ve offical got ourselves some Science Fiction Garbage, ladies and gentlemen.
It’s hard to be disappointed in a movie that you went into knowing it would be bad. The disappointment manages to come in when you realize it’s not the right kind of bad. The writing in this movie is just horrible. They spent far too much time trying to think of ways to explain or link the five or so story threads they had going together, when they should have been working on making a hilarious and charismatic rogue out of Flanery’s character. They realized the archetype they were going for, but instead of making him a loveable scoundrel, they spend their time literally telling us, at least twice, that he is one. The other characters are even worse. They simply exist on the screen, never showing any emotion. They’re there delivering their lines like cardboard cut-outs, waiting for their inevitable fate, either being eaten, or saved by Young Indy.
Now don’t get me wrong. The writing of a monster movie should be bad. This kind of movie should have a terrible, derivative story. But it also needs heart and wit. This requires walking a fine line between taking itself seriously, and hamming it up constantly. If the acting can’t be top notch, it should be terrible. Never cardboard. The violence needs to be hilarious, shocking or both. In this movie, the victims elicit no emotion. It’s almost understandable, though, since the worms aren’t frightening or funny. They slink their way around with horrible CGI, and bloodlessly eat people with their weird four-jawed frog-tongue things. There’s no shock, no awe, no fun. I can’t think of more boring death sequences than the ones in this movie.
Another problem is the ever-present CGI. It’s everywhere, and it’s noticeable. A movie like this shouldn’t be made, if it can’t be made with a mixture of puppets, corn syrup and latex. It’s incredibly difficult to create a feeling of cheesey excellence without using practical effects. Good CGI is almost seamless. Bad CGI leaves the viewer with the feeling of “Well, I guess they tried their best, and it still looks horrible.” Good practical effects are noticeable, but add a level of humour that can’t be found with CGI. Bad practical effects leave a viewer with a feeling of being brought in on the joke. In a monster movie, you can’t lose with practical effects.
Maybe there is something wrong with me, but it’s not what I originally thought. Maybe this is the new era of Cheese, and I’m just not capable of liking it. I hear about SyFy originals, and their craptacular cheese factor all the time. Maybe I’m just too old for this shit. I don’t know. I do know that I didn’t enjoy anything about this movie. It failed at being a cheesy movie. They set out to be one, and abandoned everything that makes a bad movie great.