Warlords of Atlantis (1978)
“From the depth of space they came to vanish beneath the sea…”
Warlords of Atlantis (1978)
Director: Kevin Connor
Cast: Doug McClure, Peter Gilmore, Shane Rimmer
Synopsis: Victorian explorers in a diving bell find the fabled city, a lost race and a giant octopus.
Warlords of Atlantis is one of a series of movies made by Kevin Connor in the mid-1970s which, to young boys like me, were the very height of filmmaking. It began with The Land That Time Forgot (1975) in which Doug McClure, whom most will remember as Trampas from TV’s The Virginian, found himself in a land full of dinosaurs. The Land That Time Forgot was followed by a sequel, The People That Time Forgot, in which Patrick Wayne found Doug McClure living in a land full of dinosaurs. Presumably having run out of forgotten things to make a movie about, Connor then made At the Earth’s Core, in which Doug McClure found himself in a land full of dinosaurs. In The Warlords of Atlantis which was sadly to be the last of the great Connor-McClure collaborations, McClure, who was starting to look just a little bit chunky, found himself in a land full of dinosaurs. If it ain’t broke, as they say…
He plays Greg Collinson, an American adventurer conned into joining his friend Charles Aiken (Peter Gilmore – The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery, The Abominable Dr. Phibes) and his father (Donald Bisset) on an expedition to find the sunken city of Atlantis and its fabulous treasures. Unfortunately, they find that the city is inhabited not only by humanoid aliens from Mars, but a variety of prehistoric monsters and sea creatures – one of which nicks Aiken Junior’s pencil while he and Collinson are submerging in a diving bell.
To be honest, although I was thirteen when The Land That Time Forgot was released, by the time Warlords of Atlantis hit the screens I’d already sampled the X-rated delights of Saturday Night Fever, so I find it impossible to view this movie through the rose-tinted fog of childhood nostalgia. That’s bad news for me and the movie, because although creaky special effects look quaint, Warlords of Atlantis is difficult to sit through for anyone old enough to wear long trousers.
Connor and his team clearly believed that we kids would be so dazzled by the special effects that there was no need to cobble together much of a storyline. McClure and his mates blunder into Atlantis, then blunder out again as quickly as they can when they realise the resident’s plans for them aren’t too friendly. The best effect is without doubt the giant octopus whose attempts to climb aboard the Aiken’s modest boat initiates the crew’s submergence. He also hangs for the movie’s noisy climax, which is just as well as, apart from some flying piranha fish, the gang’s flight from Atlantis is rather unremarkable.
The cast is nothing to shout about, but it was nice to find that Cliffy Clavin (John Ratzenberger) from Cheers was a member of the mutinous crew. He doesn’t get to do a lot, though, other than moan about things and enthusiastically pound his mate on the arm whenever he gets excited.
(Reviewed 5th September 2015)