The Man-Thing (II) – The Movie

Sheriff Kyle Williams’s first day on the job in the town of Bywater has him facing environmentalist protesting the local oil refinery and a corpse of a local man. Not the way he thought things would be. However, it’s about to become much worse. See, the refinery is located on holy Indian ground, and it’s foul presence has disturbed the forces there in. These forces have resurrected the murdered body of Ted Sallis, who now stalks the swamps as the murderous Man-Thing.

Before the snarking begins, let me say two things. First, this isn’t a bad movie. It’s by no means a good movie, but I can’t tell you that I didn’t derive some pleasure from watching it. You could probably do worse that this flick. I know I have.

Second, I witness this thing on the Sci-Fi channel. With all of the over dubbed swearing going on, I no doubt missed the subtle nuance the director and writer were going for. (These are the jokes, people.) Also, I no doubt was denied some of the more grody scenes. I know for a fact at least one nude scene was missing. I’m not sure any of this would have changed my opinion one way or the other, but I’d hate to have anyone renting this thing based on my halfhearted recommendation and get a surprise.

Now that that’s out of the way, let the snarking begin.

Who the hell thought nudity and violence was appropriate for a comic book movie called Man-Thing? I understand it in Sin City; it existed in the comics. I could almost see it in an adaptation of a story from the Tomb of Dracula magazine, for the same reason. But come on! This is the Man-Thing! He battles Spider-man, for God’s sake.

(Of course, so did the Tomb of Dracula‘s Dracula. But don’t try to confuse me with logic!)

On this, why the hell are you going to pick up a comic book character and completely dump his back story? With only the name Ted Sallis and a vague comment about the Nexus of All Realities (which is a concept from the series), there is nothing from the comics. Man-Thing here is a malign entity and not the mindless brute. While there is something to be said for the choice, it changes the hero Man-Thing into a very obvious villain.

If they had done something with this, then maybe, just maybe I could see it. Instead, we’re given left overs stereotypes from the Seventies. We have the Wise Native Americans who are in touched with Mystic Forces (ooooh!) We have the spunky environmentalist babe who is hot for Sheriff William’s (innovative!) We have the necking couple who are interrupted by censor scissors Man-Thing (horrifying!) We have the “real” bad guys be the Oil Refinery and rednecks, who are, of course, by nature racist murdering bastards with little to no real brains (edgy!) And let’s not forget the unstoppable killer. Haven’t seen that before. Uh uh.

In fact, the only real difference between this film and any one of countless monster movies is that the heroic sheriff is absolutely useless. And he waffles in the wind. “I’m a cop. I don’t believe in the supernatural.” Breeze picks up. “AH! There’s an ancient nature spirit slaughtering stupid town folk! I must stop it! Eventually.” Now that’s innovation

<a title="Not the REAL Man-Thing” href=””><img class="alignright" src="; alt="Not the REAL Man-Thing” width=”257″ height=”199″ align=”left” />And then there’s the Man-Thing. My dad, on seeing him, said he looked like an evil Ent. I can do no better than that. He only just looks like the real deal. On this, gone are his powers to burn with his touch. Replaced them are root like limbs and the ability to cause plants to grow out of people. Fun.

Why the hell would you do a movie about a comic book character and change everything about him? It’s unthinkable. That’s like doing a Captain America movie without Captain America’s shield.

Oh wait.

They did that, didn’t they?

Heh heh heh.


Tangents aside, if you are doing a Man-Thing project and the words “Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch” are not strung together in some way (or even words to that effect), you might want to rethink things. Fans are picky about their heroes.

Sometimes too picky.

But that’s a different essay.


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