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Thursday, March 21, 2024

Leviathan 1989 * 1/2 Stars


Watching 1989's Leviathan, you get an Alien/The Thing vibe, what with all those clips of creature mutation, persona durance, and slimy monsters coming out of people's stomachs. It's not really fresh material I tell you, and all the special effects, make-up magic by Stan Winston isn't gonna hide that whole "been there, don't that" feel. "What are you saying, Doc?" I'm saying that Leviathan is a mediocre film, recycled and salvaged and I'm no Doc.

Made on a limited budget, distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and included in a wave of '89 flicks that fashioned that whole sci-fi, horror shtick (The Abyss, DeepStar Six), Leviathan builds its scenes to a slower-than-though creep, so when horrific images and violent skirmishes do occur, the tension is almost deflated. 

So yeah, maybe it's the banal script by two writers (David Peoples, Jeb Stuart) that despite its mild use of deep sea, geological psychobabble, gives Leviathan's actors nothing to do or um, nothing to really bounce off of. Or maybe it's George P. Cosmatos's (Cobra, Tombstone) sloppy direction and defective use of lightning, providing Leviathan with a blurred smasher of the action and a bogus sense of sending you away with your knees knocking. Or maybe just maybe, it's the sight of star Peter Weller as Earth boffin Steven Beck, delivering his lines like he's drifting out of some PVS coma while careening on set. "See you topside". Yeah whatever Stevie.

Along with Weller and some stock, science fiction gadgetry, Leviathan co-stars Richard Crenna, Amanda Pays, Meg Foster, and Ernie Hudson. Yup, the only thing keeping their characters from putting you to sleep, is the musical score glue-holding their rhythms by the always reliable Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith's stuff here is foreboding, modern, and dreading, acting as the Pine-Sol to polish up Leviathan as cinematic poo poo. "Sinking whale". 

Written by Jesse Burleson 

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