So once again we have survived.

Wanna See Vern’s MAN-THING? Er, His Review, I Mean…

 Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

Wait… Brett Leonard made a bad film? THAT’S UN-POSSIBLE!!

Dear Harry-Thing,

I happened to see this movie MAN-THING and I figured it was my duty to notify you boys. The cover says it’s Marvel Comics and “from the producer of SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL, X-MEN and BLADE.” Funny, no mention of ELEKTRA or DAREDEVIL. You remember that one, where Ben Affleck was the blind sadomasochistic biker version of Spiderman, and Colin Farrell kept trying to kill him by flicking peanuts and paperclips and shit at him? I was thinking maybe I dreamed that movie but my sources assure me that it was an actual, theatrically released movie starring popular Hollywood actors.

Man-ThingThis one though MAN-THING is not a theatrical release and does not star actors I ever heard of, anyway. I guess it was made to play in theaters but somebody along the way must’ve watched it and decided to be true to the film they made by releasing it straight to video where it would never be seen by anybody unless they like to get high and watch the Sci-Fi Channel. To be fair, it is actually kind of a half theatrical, half straight to video abomination of nature. The photography is pretty decent, nice colors and lighting. The effects are better than a BOA or a PYTHON or a BOA VS. PYTHON. The score is decent too, sounds like a real orchestra, none of that Full Moon Video keyboard shit. The production values are definitely on par with a lower budget theatrical movie. It’s only minor details like the story and characters that scream SASQUATCH HUNTERS.

Remember that old Wes Craven movie SWAMP THING which I believe was also based on a comic strip? Not that good of a movie but the premise was, there’s a swamp monster living out in the swamp, only instead of just being a monster and scaring everybody he’s actually the romantic hero who stops the bad guy and gets the girl. For MAN-THING they took that premise and twisted it around. What if instead of the good guy, the swamp monster was a monster, out in the swamp, attacking people? What if there were people going around in the swamp, and then all the sudden they start screaming at the sight of some thing off screen and then blood squirts and the music gets all loud?

Yes, this is the story of a tree monster in a swamp that eats a bunch of characters you don’t give a rat’s ass about. The kind of characters who, even if you were the writer and you based the characters on your own mother, you wouldn’t feel anything seeing their rotted half eaten bodies dissected on film.

So if you are someone who likes imagination, originality, something that is not boring, etc. in a movie, you are in the wrong god damn swamp, boy. While the Swamp Thing was a man who grows into swamp, the Man Thing is a swamp who grows into swamp. As the Wise Native American Elder Who Explains Everything explains, Man-Thing is a spirit guardian protecting the ancient swamplands from the encroachment of macho oil drillers. “It protects what our ancestors called, ‘The Nexus of All Reality’.” Unfortunately this is the only funny line in the movie.

The bad guys are bullying father and son oil magnates the Schists, who I’m sure had their name made fun of when they were kids so they turned evil. The son’s haircut and company logo patch make him look like a nazi, a rare nice touch in a not very nice movie. The good guy is called Sherriff Kyle Williams, one of those handsome young WB looking sheriffs. They figure if they keep mentioning he’s young for a sherriff they can get away with casting a guy who doesn’t look like a cop. The actor, Matthew Le Nevez, is actually okay I guess. He seems like some guy in a TV pilot you figure you might grow to like if you watch more episodes. But let’s face it, you got better things to do with your life than watch more episodes of this.

The Man-Thing by the way is off screen for most of the movie, you only see him clearly 3 or 4 times near the end. He is a big plant guy with vines coming off him. He makes plants grow out of people and at least once whacks a dude right in the crotch, which I assume is where he gets his great nickname. Not sure if that’s from the comic or not. The only trouble with Man-Thing is, he is not a character. He does not have a personality or really do anything cool, or even look all that cool. It’s got all the elements of a good monster movie except for the good parts. So it’s got, like, a monster. That’s about it.

They act like you’re supposed to care about the sherriff as he solves a mystery: who is killing all these people in the swamp? But we already knew before there even was a sherriff that it’s the fucking swamp monster. So I’m not sure what the idea is here.

I think this picture was shot on Harry’s favorite continent, Australia, judging from the shifting accents. The FRIDAY THE 13TH-style girl-shows-boobs-then-dies opening had me feeling pretty dislocated because the accents seem to span from generic American to Aussie to phoney cajun.

Funny thing about that opening scene: a couple goes out to screw where the sun literally don’t shine, the “dark water” of the swamp. Man-Thing pulls a J. Voorhees, impaling the guy while the woman screams over his shoulder. You don’t see what happens to the gal, but in the next scene the police talk about how a local boy is missing. No mention of a girl missing or saying she saw a monster. I guess she must’ve gotten away but figured it wasn’t worth reporting that her boyfriend was torn apart by an angry Native American plant monster.

(Or more likely they added this scene at the last minute to get some tits in there, and didn’t care that it didn’t connect with the rest of the movie.)

The directionist is Brett Leonard who did LAWNMOWER MAN and VIRTUOSITY. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as proud as the next guy, I’m sure it was real hard to put the damn virtual reality goggles down and get on with his life. But I’m not gonna handicap him. This is not a good movie. I have not seen his last movie SIEGFRIED & ROY: THE MAGIC BOX so I don’t know how it compares to that. If it’s anything like this one though I ain’t trackin it down. And it’s probably about a bunch of people wandering in a casino and getting eaten off screen by a magic tiger.

Anyway, not gonna waste anymore of your time on this one. I cannot recommend it either on an ironic or actual level. MAN-THING is gonna play on Sci-Fi Channel, where it belongs, on April 30th, and it’ll be on DVD June 14th. Mark those dates on your calendar and then make sure you’re busy on those days, I guess.

–Vern

As always, Vern, I bow to your superior kung-fu.

“Moriarty” out.

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/20008

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • April 23, 2005, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Man Thing

    by Mister Man

    Hmmmmmmm

  • April 23, 2005, 4:58 p.m. CST

    I wish there were a counter on this post

    by Mister Man

    ’cause I bet the number would be high from the Superman photo crossover.

  • April 23, 2005, 5:07 p.m. CST

    To be noted: There aren’t as many penis jokes as one might expec

    by Agent Blue

  • April 23, 2005, 5:16 p.m. CST

    i saw this one

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    ages ago. more than a year, and the tit scene was in it. i loved that scene because it was so random and stupid. sadly, the movie didnt live up to its COMPLETELY idiotic potential. its pretty dumb…but not dumb enough to be good. also, the plot just sort of unfolds round the characters towards the end which really hurts the final product. and, man thing, when he came on screen, all i could do was shout SPAWN! he looks just like the movie version facialy.

  • April 23, 2005, 5:30 p.m. CST

    what is worse than straight to video

    by dr.bulber

    straight to sci fi channel

  • April 23, 2005, 5:46 p.m. CST

    yeah i caught that daredevil thing too….

    by Jolly Mon

    …. but who gives a shit, it’s Vern!

  • April 23, 2005, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Yes, but do….

    by DocPazuzu

    …”all who know fear BURN at the Man-Thing’s touch!” I always kinda liked that aspect of the critter.

  • April 23, 2005, 7:54 p.m. CST

    I can’t believe I have seen Lawnmower Man, Viturosity, and the f

    by Big Bad Clone

    Since I must be both a masochist and a completist.

  • April 23, 2005, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Morbius the Living Vampire???

    by Drworm2002

    That would make a great movie…or better yet. Make him the bad guy of Blade IV

  • April 23, 2005, 9:36 p.m. CST

    ManThing

    by glodene

    Actually, ManThing, the comicbook was some of Steve Gerber’s and Mike Ploog’s best work. It’s also where Howard The Duck made his first appearance in Fear – issue 19. Damn! I miss the 70’s era of comics.

  • April 23, 2005, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Man-Thing could make a killer movier

    by BurlIvesLeftNut

    Always one of my favorite Marvel characters… to bad. I guess the chances of this being anything worth watching would always be low.

  • April 23, 2005, 11:18 p.m. CST

    Warner Brothers is at it again

    by HarrisonsDad

    Back in Feb. WB announced they were re-imagining the Looney Tunes as a team of Super Heroes 700 years in the future. Read more about it at this link. http://leftofcentrist.blogspot.com/

  • April 23, 2005, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Plant!

    by MisterE

    Plant, or, uh, something…

  • April 24, 2005, 12:33 a.m. CST

    Vern, I love ya baby,

    by Grando

    But, I saw this weeks ago and didn’t feel it worthy enough of posting to a newsgroup. Nevermind AICN….. Anyways, hers my thrupenceworth –

    Man-Thing, (2005) – 3/10.

    Kyle Williams (Mathew Le Nevez) is the new Sheriff in Bywater, a small

    town in the deep US south that sits adjacent to a swamp. A lot of people

    have been going missing in the swamp and Williams thinks that the local

    industrial developer may have something to do with it. However,

    something even more deadly lurks in the Swamp…..

    Suddenly Marvel’s batting average is looking less than rosy. The

    Punisher led the way and Elektra slammed it home. Man-Thing is bringing

    up the rear to kick dust in your face.

    Based on a fairly obscure comic from the 70’s, the Man-Thing of the

    comics was a scientist that was working on a super-soldier serum (the

    same one that spawned Captain America) in a remote lab smack in the

    middle of a swamp. Long story short he ended up taking the serum himself

    and falling into the swamp after an attack. The serum mixed with the

    sludge of the swamp creating Man-Thing, now made up of vegetable matter

    with only the lowest form of intelligence. He fed of mans fear excreting

    a gas that caused burns when he detected negative emotions.

    The Man-Thing of the film looks like the Man-Thing of the comic and was

    called the same name when he was a man, but that’s where the

    similarities end. In the film he is a remorseless killing machine,

    taking out anyone who is unlucky enough to get in his way. This

    basically turns the film into an eco themed slasher flick, with no

    relevance to the source material.

    It’s a poor slasher film at that. Man-Thing isn’t seen till the final 20

    minutes so up till that point we only see his leftovers and a bunch of

    no-name actors acting badly and throwing meaningful glances towards the

    swamp. Honestly, not one of the guys (or girls) in this film can act for

    toffee. Throw in some laughable dialogue and heavy handed moralism that

    would give a Greenpeace convention a run for it’s money and you have a

    poor film indeed.

    The one plus point is that the effects are decent enough for a low

    budget effort. I nice use of prosthetics and CGI fro Man-Thing and some

    nice gore make-up. There are some T&A shots as well if that floats your

    boat. Also, at least they kept the idea that the swamp is the Nexus of

    Reality (the Man-Thing comics spawned Howard the Duck by the way). This

    is premiering on the Sci-Fi channel later this month, I don’t think it’s

    even worth that…….

  • April 24, 2005, 1:09 a.m. CST

    crassmonkey

    by Grando

    Oh, I’m sorry. I thought this was a talkback? Not a “please don’t post your thoughts on this movie unless you are employed by AICN ’cause nobody cares” back. And, If I’m going to be picky I pasted my post from an email I sent to a yahoogroup over a week ago, so it’s not a re’fuckin’hash you prick.

  • April 24, 2005, 1:29 a.m. CST

    Marc Buxton and his giant sized Man-Thing

    by Grabthars_Hammer

    since Chiller is next weekend I thought I would mention that.

  • April 24, 2005, 3:42 a.m. CST

    GoldenShowerGirl

    by MattCG

    You’re a guy, aren’t you? Admit it. You could e-mail me amatuer porn pics all day and never convince me otherwise.

    As for “Man-Thing” it’s a horrible crock of shit based on a character that never should’ve been in a movie, much less gotten his own flick. I didn’t even watch it all the way through, I stopped it and put on “Doc Savage” because it’s a better film and is less painful to my eyes.

  • April 24, 2005, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Oh jesus, sorry about that Daredevil screwup

    by Vern

    I’d say my brain was damaged from the movie but it really wasn’t that potent. I am just dumb. I hope you will all forgive me. Some day I will make it up to you.

  • April 24, 2005, 2:33 p.m. CST

    what the fuck is wrong with daredevil? I love that movie

    by SGT BARNES

    What the hell is wrong with Daredevil??? I really fuckin liked that movie and will go to bat for it anytime. The hits its been takin are aimed at Affleck and unfairly so. The directors cut improved the character development a lot and the legend that is Jon Favreau shines true as always.

  • April 24, 2005, 5:17 p.m. CST

    crassmonkey

    by Grando

    OMG, I must be a lamer for posting to a Yahoogroup. </sarcasm> If that’s all you got then you phail.

  • April 24, 2005, 11:45 p.m. CST

    Daredevil

    by Ribbons

    Take it from someone who hated ‘Daredevil’ but liked Ben Affleck, the is a group out there, however small, that hated the movie for slightly different reasons. It sucking being one of them. Now comes the part when you ask me why and then I explain why and then you get mad at me for explaining why and then you tell me to lighten up and not take movies so seriously (unless you’re going to seriously like them of course) because we should all ask for mediocre crap. Howsabout we skipped that part? I thought ‘Daredevil’ was weak. It annoyed me. I’m not alone here. Nor is Vern. Stop pestering the dude because he didn’t like ‘Daredevil.’

  • April 25, 2005, 1:45 a.m. CST

    Why I didn’t like Daredevil

    by Vern

    Well bud I figure the bad guy who flicks deadly peanuts should be enough to explain why I didn’t like Daredevil but since you ask I will go into more detail. I agree with you that Ben Affleck was pretty bad in the movie but I don’t think that was one of the major problems. It was mainly the story and characters and the whole tone of it were so asinine. It’s trying to seem grim and gritty with the lighting and the little The Crow references and everything but then Ben Affleck is wearing this red leather S&M outfit that makes him look fat. And he’s doing flirtatious karate with the gal from Felicity (Elektra) on a playground. Michael Clarke Duncan was okay as a sort of Suge Knight style villain, that was probaly the one part of the movie that I liked. But Colin Farrel was doing the “Batman & Robin” style of overacting villain. Remember the scene where he was standing up on a motorcycle spinning knives and cackling? And then he demands to have a costume, which turns out to mean a fancy coat or something, I can’t remember. And it also kind of seemed like not a whole lot happened, except everybody got shot or impaled and was still able to flip knives around. I don’t know, mostly I just thought it was a Joel Schumacher type of movie under the impression that it’s something more gritty and serious, which almost makes it more unbearable. But more power to you bud, you can enjoy the movie if you want. I just wanted to give Moriarty a ribbing since I know he liked it too. Hey man I know what it’s like to be in the minority. I actually thought Punisher was pretty good except for that giant CGI skull made of flames. But I don’t think you’re gonna find a whole lot of individuals on here who would agree with me on that.

  • April 25, 2005, 8:34 a.m. CST

    I liked Bullseye in DD because he was actually awake in it.

    by Big Bad Clone

    Elektra was busy being “cold”, Ben being blind and ‘red headed’, Kingpin being played by someone who really didn’t belong, Joey Pants counting his paycheck, and even Stan seemed bored. Foggy was one of the few bright spots. Frankly, if you just edit out the “superjump” I’m fine with the movie.

  • April 25, 2005, 12:13 p.m. CST

    …..yeah.

    by Cliff Roswell

    All right, apparently, this site is more or less for purist fans only, so I’ll throw in my two cents on this….

    ‘Daredevil’ sucked ass. That’s all there is to it. Everyone’s been over this so many times, the subject’s starting to get potholes.

    Secondly…

    I can’t believe people are saying MT looks like he does in the comics. No. No, that’s just wrong. In the comics, MT didn’t have this goofy-ass lookin’ branch-afro on top of his head. He didn’t have the constantly pissed-off look on his…face. He was huge. And lumpy. And had what looked like three carrots hanging off his face.

    I am glad I picked up an issue of Fangoria a few weeks ago, so I could see how badly they bastardized one of my favorite characters.

    There’s only one plus-side to this, and that’s the “Nexus of All Realities” line. It opens up the possibility of a future Howard the Duck project (despite all that Avi Arad says).

    –Cliff

  • April 25, 2005, 12:21 p.m. CST

    You’ll have to Blame Steve Gerber for the Schists.

    by cookylamoo

    In fact, in the comic the character was named (I’m not kidding) F.A. Shist. Subtlety was never Gerber’s trademark. My question…is this a better movie than Howard the Duck?

  • April 25, 2005, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Vern, “And it’s probably about a bunch of people wandering in a

    by Immortal_Fish

    You had me at “Hello.” Thanks for helping me work on my abs. A shame about this. First exposure to the character was on the tail end of Rampaging Hulk B&W newsprint magazine during the late 70’s. Yet another example of how decades of source material for an easily adaptable character isn’t enough to prevent a studio from screwing up and altering it into something completely different. Man-Thing wasn’t a killer and wasn’t just a plant. The swamp would possess the corpse of a soul at unrest and then enact fear in those who dealt in fear. I can see how the horror angle could be played, but this is Marvel — not a remake of the Prophecy.

  • April 25, 2005, 12:59 p.m. CST

    what the fuck… did Golden Shower Girl get banned?

    by TV CASUALTY

    I’m reading about her, but see no post… did her pee-soaked ass get tossed or what? Oh, and I can’t say I’m surprised that Man-thing sucks… is anyone?

  • April 26, 2005, 9:59 a.m. CST

    sounds just terrible, and yet…

    by Homer Sexual

    I have every intention of getting high and watching it.

  • April 27, 2005, 1:03 p.m. CST

    KOLJAK!!!! Oops… the drugs have kickedin…sounds just terribl

    by Hipalien

    This post cracked me up big time. A friend of mine worked on VIRTUOSITY and said Brett Leonard should be allowed to make any more films. Hmmm I must have a talk with my friend. Carry on you great talkbackers and did you have any doubt these would be a classic…

    piece of crap!!! Oh yes I seemed to have avoided DAREDEVIL and feel better for it.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2006 at 4:44 pm and is filed under Action, AICN, Comic strips/Super heroes, Horror, Monster, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Wanna See Vern’s MAN-THING? Er, His Review, I Mean…”

  1. Mr. Leonard also brought us the Tetsuo the Iron Man rip-off music video Shock to the System with Billy Idol. Sorry, I actually like that forgotten album (Cyberpunk).

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