The calving of an Arctic iceberg releases a giant praying mantis, trapped in suspended animation since prehistoric times. It first attacks military outposts to eat their occupants, then makes its way to the warmer latitudes of Washington and New York. A paleontologist works together with military units to try to kill it.Written by
During the movie, the Air Force sends out a message to members of the Ground Observer Corps asking for help in spotting the mantis. This was a real group that existed at least since World War Two. It was comprised of regular citizens who received basic training in spotting and identifying aircraft, but was discontinued in 1959. See more »
Since insects are cold-blooded - just like reptiles - they'd be unable to move about (much less fly) in the cold temperatures of the polar regions. See more »
[a volcano near Antarctic erupts, causing an ice flow in the Arctic, which releases the Deadly Mantis]
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
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Say you like this movie if you thought it wasn't a complete waste of your time. Seriously, folks, movies are largely just an assemblage of lies (including documentaries and biographies) strung together by some type of formulaic narrative strategy.
As Giant Monster Movies usually go, I've only two personal favorites: Japan's "War of the Gargantuas" and this one served up in the late '50s by America's Universal Studios.
This lie (In real life, even prehistoric dragonflies didn't get half as large as this cinematic 'creation') is told effectively enough; for its time, it must have seemed infinitely impressive.
So if you felt you had to say anything about DM, say enough good things about it as well...
Serviceable special effects, especially when we get close-ups of the titular Praying Mantis, peeping in windows and a roar to match its size and density. The monster has a special aversion to planes, trains and automobiles (all the miniature vehicles and sets met with my own personal 'satisfaction' standards).
The overall production is marred slightly by the film's initial 'public service message,' warning us that atomic energy is bad (Duh!), and its piddling knowledge about North American ground control (yadda, yadda, so what!), the story's most interesting moments are repeatedly slowed down by long stretches of non-activity (through the use of time filling dialog and scenes that take you 'nowhere' in particular).
In short, this would have made a fascinating half-hour production, with non-stop original thrills (Case in Point: the filmmakers in this one resisted showing a hyper-destructive opportunity when, as the flying monster alights on the Washington Monument, it doesn't destroy it; my guess is, it needed to rest its wings).
I must point out one error in DM: Although Mantis is supposed to be migrating due south, why is he heading north, from Washington, D.C. to New York City?
I found the ending satisfactory (Watch for the modest, yet interesting false alarm!).
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