Frogs (1972)

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Frogs (1972)

Post  BoG on Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:01 pm

Frogs was one of the earliest eco-terror sci-fi thrillers of the seventies, revolving around the notion that nature would rebel against mankind in some way as retribution for mankind's unthinking, polluting ways. This one begins in a very quiet, laidback fashion, showing a young ecology professor (Sam Elliott) in a canoe taking photos of the wildlife in a typical Florida habitat. He gets swamped by the reckless maneuvers of a local (Adam Roarke) in a motorboat and gets an invite to attend the birthday celebration for the family patriarch (Ray Milland).  Milland plays this character in a wheelchair and as something of a despot, very similar to his role in The Thing With Two Heads that same year.

The thing is, the laidback, slow pace continues for the rest of the film, even as the characters finally realize that all of nature's creatures around them have become dangerous. The other problem is that, except perhaps for the alligators, none of the creatures seem to pose a serious threat, least of all the animals of the title  - I mean, Frogs? There is absolutely no way that a bunch of frogs can harm a human being, unless one introduces some kind of new toxin into the story, which was not done. There are also a bunch of small lizards which, again, seem like they would spend all their time avoiding getting stepped on, not attacking humans (strangely, these do use a toxin - one from a breaking bottle - to do away with one person).  
Besides these problems, the pace gets even worse when one person gets into some danger, wandering around with a butterfly net; this scene drags on for far too long.  However, the film is watchable, just for the entertainment factor of cheesy seventies schlock and the sight of Milland hamming it up as he tended to do at this point in his career. The other actors are just OK, with Joan van Ark in an early role as Roarke's sister and possible love interest for Elliott's character, 7 years  before her big break in TV's Knot's Landing. The later eco-thriller which resembles this most is Day of the Animals (1977), in which the depletion of the ozone layer was blamed. We are offered no explanation in this one, just that nature (even plant life in one scene) suddenly gets pissed at mankind. BoG's Score: 4 out of 10

Frog Trivia: one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films or, as he puts it, one of the coolest movies of all time.
>>>>>>>>> The other one, in the same genre, is Night of the Lepus (72).
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