Behemoth (2011)

(On cable TV, March 2012) A steady diet of made-for-TV Science-Fiction films rots the brain, so it’s best to watch them with distraction (say; while doing housework).  It’s not, frankly, as if they’re worth constant attention: The way they usually go, and Behemoth is a case in point, is formulaic to the point of redundancy if you’re seen two or three of them: Built around the classic disaster-movie plot template, it starts with mysterious and deadly events, progresses with the accumulation of clues, reaches a third-act plot twist when stuff actually starts going badly, and resolves whenever the threat is eliminated.  Dialogues, characters, acting and direction are strictly utilitarian, reinforcing the impression of a mass-produced feature.  The only saving grace are to be found in the occasional bit of nice cinematography or special effects: Here, we get some nice footage of mountain forests, and a really awesome shot of a creature coming out of a mountain that makes up for dozens of bad CGI shots.  There’s even a nicely-conceptualized scene in the “eye looking out of the mountain” one.  Still, such rewards are few and slight compared to the prospect of sitting through 90 uninterrupted minutes of such by-the-numbers cheap filmmaking.  Fewer disaster movies and more dirt-cheap high-concept experiments, please!  Cube and Primer were awesome SF movies on ultra-low budgets –why not invest in a few such experiments rather than the same old disaster-movie endlessly repeated?

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