I must confess, I wouldn’t be as much of a movie fan as I am now if it weren’t for…
Adapt or die.
Ants form a collective intelligence and attack humankind. Two scientists fight back.
I was pretty curious as to the body of work the cinematographer of Phase IV is known for outside of this project, so I wanted to look him up. To show my level of maturity and let you know that you should take my opinions and observations with a grain of salt, I couldn't do anything but giggle at his name - Dick Bush. Although, wildlife photographer Ken Middleham was responsible for a majority of what we see in the film--the closeup photography of the ants. Normally I love this sort of stuff in nature documentaries, but the main difference here is that it's used in a film without a narrator giving tons of facts about the creatures we're watching.…
Phase IV answers the ultimate cinematic question, what would happen if you mixed 2001: A Space Odyssey with Them!. This film would be the result. Though it is admittedly nowhere near as good as either of those seminal sci-fi works, it is a surprisingly well made, intelligent killer ant film, something which I don't get to say near often enough.
After a cosmic occurrence which prophets say will be the end of the world, humanity is surprised to find that nothing has changed the next day, at least that they can see. Deep within the acrid desert of the American Southwest an army is being forged. Ants from disparate species are joining forces and constructing massive towers, and soon they…
The story about an interspecies conflict for global conquest between man and ant is not exactly the sort of stuff I expected from famed film credits designer Saul Bass. A cool crime caper is more what I had in mind when I think of his style, and yet here’s Phase IV coming right out of left field. His only work as a director is a weird sci-fi/horror/war pastiche that deemphasizes the human drama while favoring the insects’ point of view, resulting in a refreshing take on the usual B-movie creature feature trope. Ants take center stage whereas the main actors are no more than tired caricatures. In contrast to the mindless, hulking beasts from the Atomic Age cautionary tale Them!,…
"We had quite a severe ant problem at the vineyard this year. I had Art Garfunkel come by with his compressor, and we created a total vacuum outside the house, and we blew the ants out the front door. But I'm sure you high-tech NASA people could care less about our resort-town ways."
Not a typical science fiction or ecological thriller, Saul Bass's directorial outing, "Phase IV," is a low-key piece of work that is as remarkable for its style as it is anything else. With its closeup cinematography, lack of dialogue, and focus on the real power of nature, the film is a genre oddity. It may not be for everyone, but it is strangely compelling.
Feeling like a combination nature documentary, experimental science fiction film, and 1970s thriller, "Phase IV" is built around the attempts of two scientists to stave off an invasion from ants. The ants are not imbued with radioactive powers or other genre pretensions, they are simply dangerous in their massive, collective amounts.
The standard genre plotting gives…
The odd, dark and otherwordly intelligent sci fi/horror of Phase IV blew me up. I'm just mad it took me this long to finally watch it.
no wonder Paramount saw this movie and freaked the fuck out and took off the extra psychedelic end sequence. this is sci fi that makes most modern sci fi look like Baby's Day Out. Directed by the visual genius Saul Bass, this is a small film that tells a huge and bizarre story of the start of man's evolution into another form of being. and it's all about super intelligent ants. Seriously, there's lots and LOTS of ants in this movie. amazingly filmed close up shots of real ants. ant society. ant funeral. it's incredible
Phase IV is absolutely next level, underrated and ahead of it's time and is now in glorious HD widescreen on Netflix streaming. just after you watch it, watch this original ending. you'll thank me later. youtu.be/beLpsWaUDNk
Style matches content as the film becomes progressively unhuman.
Okay but what if just the alternate ending with all the trippy insane stuff?
Still not sure how to review this thing; Bass' visual eye is impeccable, obviously, and I was reminded of 2001 (I know, the point of comparison for every visually ambitious sci-fi movie) in terms of its near-total lack of interest in its human characters (there's more attention paid to characterization here than in 2001, but it seems half-assed, which is part of the film's appeal, perhaps). Five stars for that alternate ending, which is total gonzo weirdness, half pretentious garbage, half visionary genius, an avant-garde trashterpiece.
Impressive microphotography that pulls off the tricky feat of making ants (real ants) seem menacing as fuck.
Not much in the way of plot here. Very "designed" - especially the alternate ending that Anthology was kind enough to show after the screening.
Creepy sci-fi about how terrible it would be for humans if ants were intelligent.
Who would have thought that a film directed by Saul Bass would be one long title sequence?
This is the only movie directed by Saul Bass (famed designer of the opening credits for Vertigo), about ants that become super-intelligent and attack humans. The first twenty minutes of ants (not shot by Bass, apparently) is fantastic. The following seventy minutes are boring; the script is inert, terrible. Then, the last seven minutes (of the alternate ending, not the release version) are very obviously the work of Bass, very trippy and out there, and amazing. My recommendation to you: cut a new version for yourself (using iMovie, Final Cut, or some such thing that the young folk are doing these days) consisting of only the ant miniature photography and the alternate ending, drop some really chill psychedelic drug or smoke some extra fine weed, then watch this new cut on an endless loop. Far out, man.
Your ordinary "when animals attack" film this is not, more like an abstract 2001-esque minimalist experiment. A shame Saul Bass did not direct more films.
The ants respond to the provocation and close people in their own, futuristic research station. They seem to know exactly where to strike in order to meet the people. They adapt biologically in a rapid manner, which leads to the question of how fast they learn. They sat far in the glasshouse under observation the scientists, they return to this relationship, so that the protagonists end up under the microscope. Whoever explores whom? And to what end? This is very interesting for content, only by the sparse dialogues and the images unexpectedly lengthy, so that you lose track of time and always looks at the clock. Reinforcing just adds that the characters react incomprehensible, which makes it difficult to sympathize…
I had thought that this was more surreal and mysterious when I last watched it ten years ago on Sci-Fi channel at 2 AM. Unfortunately, the human characters are far more broad and take up far more time than the awesome insect sequences. The ending is great, but the interactions between the humans that lead to it are really illogical and frustrating to watch. Why is this four stars then? I really like micro-photography of ants.
I'm posting this list earlier than normal as I'm not sure I'll be around much next week.
For the purposes…
they try to bury them under mountains of "popular on facebook" junk, but there is actually a ton of old…