Bad, Bad Bird Movies

Most of us have had our worlds turned upside down in the past months. No, no, the birds had nothing to do with it; just some crummy virus – and not the bird flu either.

Sadly, birds have given many of us stomach aches at some of the truly bad movies in which they have appeared.

There are bad movies that are actually fun to watch because they are so awful they make you laugh. The best of those awful bird movies are Rodan, The Giant Claw, and Q which stood for the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl. I hope the Aztecs weren’t bored with their god as I was bored by that god’s movie.

In 1954, Japan’s Toho Studios came out with Godzilla, a radioactive monster brought back to life by the atomic bomb to destroy everything in his path. That movie stunk, although the monster was a great idea, a borrowing from a fun 1953 American film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

Following up on Godzilla came Toho’s attempt to create a bird/reptile in the film Rodan. This movie was even worse than Godzilla, although Rodan was a great idea for a monster. Rodan actually looks great in the enjoyable American movie Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).

The first problem we have with Japanese movies dubbed into English is the fact that the actors’ lips are not saying anything close to looking as if they are speaking English. In movies that are based on Romance languages (Latin-derived), the lips and the English words are often close approximations. Not so with Japanese movies.

In the Toho’s movies the actor’s lips will move and then a sentence or two comes out in English. There seems to be little correlation between lips moving and sound coming out of them.

Here’s how it goes: Actor points up to the sky and his lips move. Then we hear, after those lips have basically finished moving, “Look, it’s Rodan! Help! Help!”

The story of Rodan could have been a 10-minute short subject but Toho needed to make it an hour and a half. That means they had to stretch this thing out of all proportion. And that’s what you will watch; a movie that looks like a bad face-lift. Make some popcorn and enjoy.

Actors will take embarrassing roles in terrible movies in order to get paid because The Giant Claw is so awful – even “awfuller” than Rodan – that you feel sad for these professional actors in a movie where the special effects are so bad that my six-year old grandson said to me, “Grandpa Scobe, can we watch the news?”

Finally, we come to Q, a totally overacted movie by accomplished actors who should have known better than to lend their talents to this horrible project. Not only is the monster ridiculous in terms of special effects but the actors are all doing their Marlon Brando impersonations. At certain points in the movie you will shout out to an actor, “Please shut up! You’re not a contender!”

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