Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garuda (2004)

When Garuda came people said it was the first big monster movie to come from Thailand, which is of course wrong. Sompote Sands did the same thing in the seventies with some of the most insane movies ever made. Garuda is more inspired by American modern monster films, and even send a few hints towards the awful US Godzilla by Roland Emmerich. But Garuda is way better than that movie, and even if the story is very generic it’s still a very nice addition to the world of monster films.

Sara Legge is Leena, a half-Thai, half- French scientist and her best friend and assistant, Tim (Daniel Fraser) is called to Bangkok when the drillers building the new subway system finds a weird cranium, something that could be proof that the legendary creature Garuda actually existed for real. They’re met by a cocky team of special soldiers, who is very nationalistic and hates that fact that Leena is half-Thai and Tim is a foreigner! Soon they discover a petrified forest and of course a real live Garuda who starts to kill them one by one, and finally manages to get up to the surface to create havoc in Bangkok!

The first big Thai movie shot with HD cameras, and it looks excellent. It probably helped a small movie to look bigger and even if some of the effects work less good it’s still a fun monster film with a lot of action and little story. The story is very straightforward and never really stops to do something unnecessary. There’s at least two love stories hinted, but they never take that final boring step to waste time on something like that when we just want to see action.

Monthon Arayangkoon is a creative director and gets a lot out of the small sets. The petrified forest is of course bigger, but much seem to be generated with CGI. The highlight is a cool showdown between the Garuda and one of the soldiers in a corridor, with some shameless nods towards The Matrix. When the monster finally roams the streets of Bangkok they even copies a shot from Emmerich’s Godzilla, when the monster is lifting a car up in the air and we see the driver from the inside falling to his death.

Much of the story around the action is focused on the nationalistic feelings that must have been a big issue at this time. In this movie it’s important for Thai’s and non-Thai’s to work together, when in later movies it’s became more common with evil foreigners who wants to hurt the Thai beliefs and traditions. A big deal is about Leena being a half-breed for example. I also have a feeling that the idea was to create a franchise from this movie, because the team has since earlier also fought against a Naga (which is seen in a flashback) and who knows what other creatures they could have been set against?

Garuda is a good movie, a lot better than some of the better SyFy channel productions out there and is worth a purchase on DVD.


Anonymous said...

Woah, I NEED this one.

Ninja Dixon said...

Hope you like it! I know not everyone seem to enjoy it!