Friday, October 10, 2014

Orca (1977)

Director: Michael Anderson

Writers: Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Donati, Robert Towne

Composer: Ennio Morricone

Starring: Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, Will Sampson, Bo Derek, Keenan Wynn, Robert Carradine, Scott Walker, Peter Hooten, Wayne Heffley, Vincent Gentile, Don 'Red' Barry

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Terror just beneath the surface

Plot: After witnessing his mate and child's death from Nolan's hands, Orca, the killer whale, goes on a rampage in the fisherman's harbor. Under the villagers' pressure, Nolan, Rachel and an Indian sail after the great beast, who will bring them on his own turf.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I may be generous giving this a 6 out of 10 but it's not all that bad.  I've known about this movie since it came out 37 years ago yet it's taken me this long to get around to seeing it.  I'd always thought it was a JAWS (1975) clone.  On one level it is but there's more to it than just a sea creature going fish-o a man-o with a whaler.  The cast alone is worth watching it for.  You'll have to look quick to see Carradine and it's Bo Derek's first film.  I'd swear Will Sampson's voice is dubbed unnecessarily.  Keenan Wynn is always fun and Rampling and Harris play this as seriously as a heart attack.  Morricone's somber score works nicely.  The pacing is surprisingly quick.  Before I realized it we were going out to see for the big finish and there was only twenty minutes left.  There are a few nice shots thrown in and it's not that bad of a film even though it's far from being a great one.  You could do far worse when it comes to JAWS clones which I'll loosely count this as one as it's also heavily inspired by it.  One thing that I got a big chuckle out of was the film opening with a great white shark terrorizing a diver and then it gets swiftly eating by a much larger killer whale implying a much more dangerous foe than the shark in JAWS.  Hilarious. Oh, my, and the vocal as the credits roll comes out of nowhere like a banshee.  It's just lyrics added to Morricone's theme.  The tune isn't bad but the lyrics are initially awkward as hell.  It's currently on Netflix streaming for anyone wishing to kill 92 minutes.

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