B-Movie Review - The Swarm (1978

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


As usual, mother nature is striking back at us, now with killer bees that have slowly been traveling north form their South American origins and they just happen to make their way to a secret
American Military establishment (possibly nuclear in nature) killing everyone except a lone entomologist tracking the bees with aspirations of stopping them and saving mankind.

Submitted: August 18, 2018

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Submitted: August 18, 2018

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A long time ago in what we now call the not so dark, but still dark ages, or the days when there wasn’t really an Internet. I mean it was still there, first developed long before the days of the personal home computer, but it just wasn’t used or had a use until everyone got on it. Today we have YouTube and the rest of the sites out there in the ever evolving cyberspace that is able to fulfill a unique purpose in providing us with the “Where are They Now” pages and videos. These are the slightly better than gossip rags trying to fill in the details of what has become of the big stars from three months ago, because if you are not in front of every entertainment craving slug in the world, then you are rapidly sliding down the celebrity hell of anonymity chart.
So what did we have all those years before TMZ and YouTube? We had something incredible bringing the top talents and has-beens together in one massive monumental feature known as the disaster movie. No one was better at the disaster movie than Irwin Allen. He was responsible for, The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and of course a lot of TV. These movies broughtmega stars like Paul Newman and Steve McQueen together in the same film as stars your parents would have to explain their relevance like Fred Astaire or Shelly Winters. To be honest, I think I prefer the old method better.

 
the%2Bswarm.jpg
 
 
 
 
The Swarm (1978)
 
Director
Irwin Allen
The Main Players
 
Michael Caine
Brad Crane
Katharine Ross
Captain Helena Anderson
Richard Widmark
General Slater
Richard Chamberlain
Dr. Hubbard
Olivia de Havilland
Maureen Schuster
Ben Johnson
Felix
Slim Pickens
Jud Hawkins
José Ferrer
Dr. Andrews
Fred MacMurray
Mayor Clarence
Henry Fonda
Dr. Walter Krim
Patty Duke
Rita
There’s a lot more, so look it up.
 
 
Synopsis: 
As usual, mother nature is striking back at us, now with killer bees that have slowly been traveling north form their South American origins and they just happen to make their way to a secret American Military establishment (possibly nuclear in nature) killing everyone except a lone entomologist tracking the bees with aspirations of stopping them and saving mankind.
 
Review:
This is a strange movie and when you watch it, you'll start to understand how it’s the film example of putting the cart before the horse. Basically there’s a very well structured plot involving a large ensemble of characters that have their lives suddenly intertwined by a large disaster making both friends and adversaries alike, come together to save everyone. It’s an excellent formula offering the right amounts of drama and touching moments, but when you watch, you can’t help but feel like they started with everything but what the disaster was going to bee (little pun). It felt like they had everything in place and someone just got up and said, oh yeah, what is everyone supposed to be afraid of. Some P.A. probably just shouted out, Killer Bees and then they tried to ram that square peg into the round hole giving us this remarkably un-disastrous disaster movie.
Michael Caine shuffles his way through this as the loud obnoxious know it all about bees of all varieties named Brad Crane. He spends a lot of time arguing with authorities about how to deal with the bees. The military people want to go to war against them and don’t do so well in their first encounter. After losing a couple choppers in the battle with the bees Slim Pickens shows up at the front gate looking for help for his son and to make nice cameo to represent the simple folks lining in the area. There is a heart felt scene between Slim and his injured boy that everyone sort of rallies around deciding they will fight the bees. With so much going on with the military trying to intervene we have have a catalyst to drive the thin plot forward and we get it with some kids in the park.
One kid, who’s only just recovered from being stung, gathers his friends with intent to strike the first blow through the magic of fire bombing and few of them in the hollowed out tree they live in. All this does is stir up the bees and whatwould any ruthless group of killers from South America do when restless in their hide out, they head in to town to stir shit up. The bees are now more riled than ever before as demonstrated by their need to find a way into a storage area that they have now way of knowing of it’s existence, and will stop at nothing to get inside including going through the air conditioning system. They areafter all ,super killer bees, and it quickly appears they are holding a grudge of equally super proportions. Despite the number of scientists working to find a solution to battle the bees, we learn very little about bees. Most people are unaware that bees communicate with each other by means of a sort of dance to show others where the best nectar is. You’d think given the kind of budget and star power pulled together for this one, they could have at least had the bees do the dance of Lets Kill Everyone We See.
My favorite part is when we get to see how the attack of the bees is a major news item bringing the big news networks to town in their giant motor homes featuring moment by moment commentary by the on air talent. What they don’t explain is the courage of the unsung heroes of the network. The humble and brave cameramen up on top of the motor homes brining you live minute by minute images while being swarmed to death and never once flinching. It’s just another level of preposterous activity forcing you more and more to suspend suspending disbelief. My immediate first thought was how could the union let this happen. Regular bees would be one thing, but South American undocumented illegal bees would not be tolerated.
Of course, we can’t rely on union action alone to stop this ecological disaster, and we all know you have to fight fire with fire. In this case they decide to attack one Eco-disaster by starting another. Now, for some reason, the bees decide to attack a nuclear plant, and one can Oliy assume they just want in on that industry as well. Through some amazing, and yet to be inventeddevice, Crane discovers the real reason the bees attacked the military base in the first place. Like everyone else they hate the sound of an alarm siren blasting into the peacefully outdoors, which is very interesting when you consider bees don’t have ears. They don’t hear sounds but they can feel vibrations and I can only assume tops on their list is the incessant buzzing all around them. That would turn anyone into a killer. So, Cranes our hero uses helicopters with speakers ballasting out the sound bees cant hear to lure them out to the ocean where this thoughtfully environmental warrior has lay ed out a nice slick of premium crude oil. They set it ablaze killing all of the bees and any marine mammal life that just happened to wander into the spill zone. Kind of like a Dawn detergent commercial but instead of washing the fuzzy duckies off, you set them on fire.
Lessons Learned:
•Cameramen will do anything to get the shot.
•Bees do not respect international boarders or coastal exclusion limits.
•For aging actors, if you’re going out, it might as well be with the help of Irwin Allen.
•Despite being barely able to fly, bees can keep up with a Huey unless playing Ride of the Valkyries.
•Flame-throwers aren’t just for fun anymore.
 
•Train travel is still the safest form of… never mind.


© Copyright 2018 Brian P Baldwin. All rights reserved.

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