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Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: THE MAGIC SERPENT (1966)

A quick rewind in our progress on the BIG LIST.  Every once in a while, I come across another film that should be on the list that I missed when I made it last year.

So, this film is The Magic Serpent (1966).

My 11-year-old son, James, goes first:
Well, this one is one of the most horrible movies, they copied from Daimajin, but that's not it, one of the main characters gets his head chopped off and then he's the headless magic man and picks up his head.  And one of the kaiju is a frog? Seriously?
So, rating wise, i'll say 0.888856 out of 5 Atomic Farts of Awfulness!
My turn:
As stated in our reviews for the Daimajin trilogy, I'm a sucker for samurai-style pictures, particularly of the Kurosawa variety.  So I enjoy feudal era tales. 
Just like two-thirds of the Daimajin films (which came out the same year ... hmmmmm), this one involves a benevolent lord who is betrayed.  The son is on the run and grows up in exile.  Then he returns and exacts some measure of revenge. 
That's the basic framework.  Throw in some wizards and ninjas and you've got Magic Serpent.  Like the equally unfortunate Orochi, The Eight-Headed Dragon, this film is based on a famous tale from Japanese history.  It earns its place on the list thanks to the presence of guys in suits fighting the battles. 
The lead bad guy is the dragon and the main protagonist is the giant horned frog (seen above).  They are goofy.  Beyond goofy.  To top it all off, the sound effects for the giant animals are reuses of Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan sounds. 
The model work is pretty good, even if the suits aren't.  The acting is ... there.  The music is often unnecessarily audacious.  The hair: just look at the poster. 
All of that plus some proto-Crouching Tiger wire-fu fight scenes and you've got yourself a movie. 
The Magic Serpent ... it's goofy, but not much fun.  1.75 out of five atomic breath blasts.
No trailer, but here's the fight scene between the frog and the titular dragon:

Up next, Godzilla 2000, for real.

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