Them!

Ant Rap

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased out now! 1954 | PG | blu-ray & dvd (dual for­mat)

Di­rec­tor Gor­don dou­glas Cast James Whit­more, ed­mund Gwenn, Joan Wel­don

blu-ray de­but Half­way through this atomic age mon­ster movie there’s a short real-life na­ture film about ants and how they op­er­ate. It’s fascinating, ar­guably more so than the main fea­ture sur­round­ing it, and it also rather shows up the movie’s ant pup­petry.

Harsh per­haps, be­cause Them! is a solid sci-fi sus­penser. But, crikey, there are more meet­ings in it than a lawyers’ an­nual jam­boree – talk is cheap, and gi­ant ants are ex­pen­sive, pre­sum­ably. It’s a good 27 min­utes be­fore we see out­sized mandibles, af­ter the ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions into a ran­sacked store and a bat­tered corpse found in the desert. When it turns out that gi­ant ra­dioac­tive ants are to blame, there’s meet­ing af­ter meet­ing to dis­cuss the threat. We get more dis­cus­sion of the threat than sight of the threat it­self, which is a shame if only be­cause of the spooky hum­ming the in­sects make when they’re around.

A fiery, sewer-set cli­max fin­ishes things on a high. Them! was a pop­u­lar and in­flu­en­tial film, but its im­pact has in­evitably been weak­ened – if it’s more pol­ished man vs bug ac­tion you’re af­ter, maybe stick Star­ship Troop­ers on?

Ex­tras Three min­utes of out-takes, pro­vid­ing glimpses of the crew op­er­at­ing the gi­ant ants; trailer; gallery. This HMV ex­clu­sive also comes with four art­cards. Rus­sell Lewin

A young Leonard Ni­moy makes a brief ap­pear­ance as an army sergeant read­ing a re­port of “fly­ing saucers shaped like ants”.

Barry hadn’t acted this way on the first date.

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