Empire of the Ants (1977)

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Empire of the Ants (1977)

Post  BoG on Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:02 pm


Ah, yes...Empire of the Ants. Joan Collins, just prior to her movie The Bitch and her role as the queen bitch of the "Dynasty" TV series, plays...a bitch. Do I sound unkind? Watch the movie, then judge. I wanted to slap Collins around after 10 minutes of watching Empire of the Ants. Forget the ants. The villain here...is Joan Collins, hamming it up as a prima donna scam artist, right in the middle of pulling some real estate scam when the giant ants decide to attack the human race. Director Bert I Gordon - Mr. B.I.G. himself - had just gifted us with Food of the Gods (1976) and was on a real creative streak. This was one of his last.

Another surprise here is seeing Robert Lansing, who easily gives the best performance as the contracted boat skipper who has to deal with the antics of Collins and then the ants. This was just not his day. I always think of the Star Trek episode "Assignment:Earth" whenever I see Lansing; if that pilot episode had been given a go-ahead as a new series, Lansing might have been as well known as Shatner these days, or at least David Janssen. Albert Salmi also pops up later as a distracted sheriff.

The middle third of this eco-terror film is basically a 'pursue-and-destroy-fleeing-humans-through-wilderness' plot and somewhat tedious. The ants here are probably realized worse than even in Them!, over 20 years prior; please, can we now get a great giant ants movie - now that computer FX are in vogue? Something besides the silly Antz-type computer animated films? The final 3rd gets a bit interesting, as it tried to follow the original story by H.G.Wells to some extent. Everyone puts down producer-director Gordon these days, sort of not wanting to let him off the hook since Ed Wood is also usually sneered at. But, would we really be living in a better world without such Gordon films to distract us? BoG's Score: 5 out of 10

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