Paranoia meets pandemonium.
It's been six days since the attack on Pearl Harbor. Panic grips California, supposedly the next target of the Japanese forces. Everywhere in California, people are suffering from war nerves. Chaos erupts all over the state. An Army Air Corps Captain, a civilian with a deranged sense of Nationalism, civilian defenders, and a Motor Pool crew all end up chasing a Japanese sub planning to attack LA.
Here I get to Steven Spielberg's first big bomb, and I can see why. This was his attempt at a comedy and boy was it bad. Things that were good, the score. Dan Akroyd was good, wasn't funny but he acted alright. The thing is even though this does have actors that would go on to be hilarious in movies like Ghostbusters, here most of the jokes fall flat. I think I laughed maybe 5 or 6 times, and those were just kinda funny. I think 1 moment was actually funny. The script was bad too. Seriously it's a shame that this was so bad after two good movies, one of which is a great classic movie.…
Unless you're Star Wars ep.1, it's never a good sign when the first thing your movie does is unspool several paragraphs of prologue text to clue the viewer in to what's going on, before a single scene appears. Especially for a comedy. And then the first scene is a Jaws parody. C'mon, Spielberg! That's like Mick Jagger wearing a Rolling Stones shirt on stage.
I say "comedy" but this really stretches the definition. It's more like a bad, extended Looney Tunes short. There are tired Who's On First-type routines. There's toilet humor. There are spit takes. At one point, there's even an elaborate Rube Goldberg sequence in a USO dancehall that pays off exactly like something from a Bugs Bunny…
Surprisingly, I knew very little about this film going into it which was written by the Back to the Future filmmakers and had a huge cast with the likes of Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Christopher Lee, Robert Stack, John Candy, Slim Pickens, Joe Flaherty, Michael McKean, and fricking Toshirô Mifune. It took about 5 minutes to learn why I had known so little about this movie. It’s a piece of crap.
I don’t know what could have gone so horribly wrong with the production of this movie, but it did. I had a good laugh maybe once and was bored stiff with the rest of it. If you haven’t seen it, it feels like a mix between Animal House and…
"We don't laugh at a gigantic riot of servicemen in and around the Los Angeles United Service Organization Club, " Vincent Canby complained upon release. "We are stunned by what appears to be the thousands of extras — enough to fill a Yugoslavian-made biblical epic." He's speaking of the jitterbug sequence, in which 13th-billed Bobby Di Cicco (who gets 10x more screen time than top-billed Dan Aykroyd) fights for his lady love against his "romantic rival" (aka a grope-y soldier who keep trying to rape his girlfriend) amidst a massive USO dance — dancing turning into fighting, the two becoming a Jackie Chan-esque unity, alternately swallowed by and disrupting the surrounding crowd. It's an astonishingly beautiful sequence, merging spectacle, choreographic…
And I thought Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was Spielberg’s worst film.
Can’t begin to fathom why Spielberg would want to make a John Landis film, but the execrable results speak for themselves. Loud and frenzied farce plays into none of Spielberg’s strengths, forcing him to juggle broad comedy, overt sexuality and an overall sense of weightlessness that’s not at all tampered by the amount of bloat that this thing carries. Amorphous, central protagonist-free narrative is essentially a launching board for intricately orchestrated mayhem and bloodless destruction, but the overall effect is numbing. Absent is the filmmaker’s playful sense of pacing or wonder, with the film going for an almost assaultive approach, so that even some of the more elegant grace notes get lost amongst all the…
This has got to be, by far, the worst Steven Spielberg film I've seen. It's a shame too because I think the concept is kind of inspired. On top of that, the cast here is fantastic. John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Candy, Michael McKean, Mickey Rourke, Christopher Lee, and Toshiro Mifune. Seeing Mifune in a Spielberg film is especially exciting and I got a kick out of watching him say "Take your Third Reich and stick it up your ass." Too bad all these performers are wasted. Most of the jokes are lame, the film is boring and goes on way too long. There is one amusing dance/chase, and had the movie ended there I'd be tempted to raise my grade, but then it goes on for another half hour.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The director of some of my favorite films, the writers of one of my favorite films, and some great comedians all join forces to create a huge disappointment of a war comedy.
There's just enough good ideas that it wasn't a complete waste of time, but it's damn near close to one. I can really only recommend it for the great effects work and the incredibly good dance / fight / overall mayhem choreography.
A few nice touches like the Dumbo scenes, Slim Pickens as Hollis Wood, and Eddie Deezen on a Ferris wheel. The paint factory scene is probably the most inventive thing in the movie. Unfortunately these good bits are surrounded by a sea of mediocre sight gags that don't land.
This was much funnier when I was 12.
@Camdun_Roar: I have a sneaky suspicion that Speilberg had the munchies while making this film. What an unmitigated mess. 3/10
I love it!
But most people consider it to be a failure for Speilberg.
One of the greatest comedies ever!
and a lot more great actors in the same film. That alone is worth the price.
Really is as bad as they say.