It’s 1978. You want to make a movie, but don’t know what it should be about. Jaws came out a couple of years back, and that was pretty popular, so maybe it should be about something scary in the sea… Star Wars just came out and people seemed to like that too, so maybe you could have some weird bad guys in costumes… Yeah, this is all coming together nicely.
But wait, you still need something. You need that one big idea that’s gonna make this movie stand out from all the rest. ‘What can it be?’ you ask yourself. ‘What am I missing?’ And then, in the dead of night, it comes to you. You wake up. You’re covered in sweat. Your eyes are boggling. You open your mouth without intention and you just right out say it: ‘I need a giant octopus!’
To try to simplify this masterpiece undoubtedly does it a disservice, but alas, I’ve got no choice: if I don’t tell you about it, you might not watch it, and that would be a mistake. And so: Professor Aitken and his son Charles set sail with a rag-tag crew and a handsome American to engage in a little deep-sea exploration. The American has fashioned some incredibly dangerous (and scientifically unsound) submersible in which he and Charles intend to sink to the deepest darkest depths of the ocean.
But what the American, and the crew, don’t know is that the Aitken family are up to something pretty awesome. They are in fact searching for the lost city of Atlantis!
And do they ever find it?! After attacks by a giant octopus (Thrilling!) and what seems to be the Loch Ness Monster (Heartstopping!), Aitken, the American and the crew are dragged down to the underwater city of Atlantis (Unbelievable!) to meet their fate.
As it turns out, their fate arrives more than a little resembling Flight of the Concords Jemaine Clement’s impersonation of David Bowie. His name is Atmir, and he is a badass. Unsurprisingly Atlantis isn’t the friendliest under the earth and the whole thing turns into one big nightmare from here on in.
The group are split up and enslaved (Boo!), everyone is threatened with gill-related surgery (Hiss!), and the rulers of Atlantis turn out to be little better than Nazis from Mars (Genius!).
I don’t want to give too much away because this really does have to be seen to be believed, but I will say that there are still plenty more magnificent monsters – including flying piranhas – and all round mind-boggling excitement galore in the movie’s tense final act, and that it’s worth every second of your time.
Really, if you watch Warlords of Atlantis, and you don’t like it, then we are no longer friends. For real.