Kraa! The Sea Monster

Lava Lamp
Our rating: one lava lamp.

Information about this film in the Internet Movie Database.

Kraa! The Sea Monster
Kraa auditions for a part in
an episode of Ultraseven.
In the past we have heaped a fair amount of abuse on Albert Pyun, director of such films as Spitfire and Hong Kong '97. Before him, Charles Band, director and producer of Trancers was our whipping boy. Meet our new whipping boy, writer Benjamin Carr. Carr is apparently the new writer at Full Moon Studios, as nearly every new release we've seen from Full Moon has his name on it. The last film of Carr's we watched was Zarkorr! the Invader, which we panned in a big bad way.

In a newsgroup conversation with Mr. Carr, we made the mistake of calling Zarkorr "a tragedy." He took some umbrage at this. His exact words were, "No, no. Judge Dredd was a tragedy. Volcano was a tragedy. Daylight was a tragedy." While these statements are true, do they mean that Zarkorr is any less of a tragedy? Not really. It's just a different kind of tragedy. We once got really bored and watched Daylight for a second time because it was on cable. It's bad, but at least competent. In contrast, we never have and never will get bored enough that watching Zarkorr again will seem like a good idea.

Because we are gluttons for punishment, and also because we will watch anything with a giant monster in it, we decided that we should watch Kraa! The Sea Monster, the next in Full Moon's line of giant monster films. And there, right on the box, was Benjamin Carr's name.

Kraa opens with a title card, which informs us that we are looking at "Proyas - The Dark Planet." Alex Proyas, director of The Crow and Dark City, should probably sue. We are then introduced to the leader of Proyas, Lord Doom, master of all he surveys. Unfortunately, all he surveys is a smallish set that contains a throne, a pillar, a midget, and some mood lighting. Lord Doom is an undeniable homage to Dr. Doom from the Fantastic Four comic book. Homage. That's french for "steal."* As a matter of fact, Kraa! The Sea Monster's first line of dialogue ("Revenge is best served cold!") is an homage to either Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Paradise Lost, though slightly rephrased in such a way as to not quite make sense. (It should be, "Revenge is A DISH...") In any case, Doom sets forth to conquer Earth through the use of a giant monster, namely Kraa.

Kraa! The Sea Monster
The Planet Patrol, boldly wearing uniforms
stolen from other, better movies!
Who can possibly stand against this poorly costumed menace? Why, the Planet Patrol! All four of them. Led by Captain Ruric, these tireless defenders of the galaxy watch stuff happen on tv screens because their scenes were filmed separately from the rest of Kraa, presumably in an attempt to pad the movie to feature film length.

We arrive on the scene just in time to see a new recruit join the Planet Rangers, a young woman named Curtis. Curtis is a psychic, though the other three members of the Power Patrol don't believe in her powers. This leads to the most cliched exchange this situation can possibly engender. You've probably guessed which one we're talking about. Something happens, and the psychic asks "Where did that come from?" or something similar. And then someone present, usually the resident wise-ass, will say (say it with us...): "You're the psychic! You tell us where it came from!" That made us laugh the first 4000 times we heard it.

If it were up to us, we would give Colton Scott, who plays Captain Ruric, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. It's not that he's any less wooden than the other actors. Hell, the four actors who make up the Planet Patrol make the kids on Saved By The Bell look like the Royal Shakspearean Theater by comparison. But we would give Colton Scott an Oscar because he delivers such lines as "Looks like Lord Doom is trying to heat things up again," and "Get ready to go to Earth. You've got a monster to fight," with a straight face. We know we couldn't possibly do the same, and we find his acheivment so noteworthy that he should be honored instead of hacks like Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson.

Kraa! The Sea Monster
Scientists work long and hard trying to figure out
how movies like Kraa! The Sea Monster
keep getting made.
Just as we are getting used to the stomach-churningly bad acting of the Planet Patrol, the film shifts to footage of Kraa. Kraa is essentially a giant version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Actually, it looks like the version of the Creature that showed up in The Monster Squad, or the one that showed up in The Guyver. Kraa soon heads for New Jersey.

Why would he head for Jersey, other than for the obvious reason that Jersey could use a good destroying? And wouldn't destroying Jersey make the world a better place, and isn't Kraa supposed to be doing just the opposite? Wait, maybe Lord Doom's plan is subtler than we gave him credit for. Maybe he plans to have Kraa destroy New Jersey, and then the people of Earth will make him their leader out of pure gratitude!

We're getting way off topic here. The reason that Kraa heads towards Jersey is because that's where Mogyar landed. Mogyar is the only agent the Planet Patrol could find to fight Kraa. They send him to Earth, where he crashes into a diner. There he meets Bobby Machek and Alma James, played by the two cheapest actors the movie's producers could find. Mogyar is also hunted by an elite government unit that's sort of a combination of the Men in Black and the FBI agents from The X-Files, only without the equipment, intelligence, or fashion sense of either.

What is Mogyar? Well, he's a smallish alien crustacean with an Italian accent.

Kraa! The Sea Monster
Is it just us, or does Mogyar look
like something from The Lost Continent?
Ha ha! We got you! You actually thought someone would make a movie featuring a alien crustacean with an Italian accent. That would just be silly. That would never happen. (As Bobby puts it, "That would be absurd!")

No, Mogyar is actually a smallish alien mollusk with an Italian accent. We fooled you good, didn't we? Truth be told, Mogyar most resembles a slimy, overlarge head of lettuce, but mollusk is probably the closest we're going to come in the animal kingdom.

The reason for Mogyar's Italian accent should probably be explained. See, Mogyar was supposed to land in Italy where he was going to try to secure the help of some Italian scientists to build a super-weapon. Instead, he lands in Alma's diner by accident. (Keep this in mind, it becomes important later in this review.) So when Mogyar lands he only speaks Italian, and Bobby (R. L. McMurry) and Alma (Teal Marchande) give him a book so he can learn English. Apparently the title of the book was "Mario and Luigi Teach-a You To Be An Ethnic Stereotype," judging by the way Mogyar talks for the rest of the film.

Kraa wades ashore and begins to Stomp New Jersey. (Hey, that's a good name for a web site!) After a quick capture-and-escape sequence involving the aforementioned government agents, the two humans take their mostly-inanimate lettuce-head buddy to a nearby nuclear power plant to hastily construct a weapon capable of vaporizing Kraa. The government agents catch up with them once again, and an excruciatingly formulaic game of "will they fire the weapon or won't they" ensues. Kraa is eventually blown away, Lord Doom is taken down by the Mighty Morphin Planet Patrol, and once again, all is well with the Universe. The End.

Kraa! The Sea Monster
"Hey Zarkorr! You dropped your wallet!"
One thing we complained about in our review of Zarkorr! The Invader was that the special effects footage was not well integated with the rest of the movie. How does Kraa fare in this regard? Not much better. Between the scene where Kraa first appears and his eventual destruction, Kraa pretty much wanders about, destroying stuff with no obvious purpose. There are no landmarks destroyed, unless you count the destruction of a large mural that reads "Godzilla." And that scene made us think of Laserblast, if that gives you any idea of the kind film we would lump Kraa in with.

There is one scene towards the begininng of Kraa's rampage which almost suggests that Kraa was supposed to be a misunderstood monster. Kraa is walking along a highway when he comes across a service station with a large advertising mascot. (We think it was "Tire King," but we could be wrong.) Kraa grabs the mascot, almost playfully. Then a tanker truck drives down the road and collides, for no discernable reason, with the service station, blowing it up. It would hardly be fair to blame Kraa for that!

Even later in the film, we are informed that the Planet Patrol has sent Mogyar's "mothership" on a collision course with Kraa in order to buy Mogyar more time. We are then shown cheap CGI footage of a pyramidal space ship streaking towards Earth, then bouncing off a satellite and flying off to the west. While this is supposed to be Mogyar's mothership, we are pretty darned sure that this footage was orginally supposed to be of Mogyar himself landing. The ship looks just like the one Mogyar lands in, its the same size as Mogyar's ship, and the "bouncing off a satellite" bit would explain why Mogyar landed in Jersey instead of Italy.

Kraa! The Sea Monster
Two members of the Planet Patrol chase a midget
around fake column. That isn't a joke, that's
what really happens.
Special effects aside, this material could have been entertaining, but the whole movie is just so inept. The Planet Patrol sequences are so hilariously separate from the Earthbound action that after a while they begin to take on the quality of a Greek chorus. None of the dialogue in the film consists of anything but the most overused cliches, with half-jokes thrown in every 20 minutes or so, until we get the ending joke ripped off from every episode of I Dream of Jeannie.

What does Benjamin Carr think of what he hath wrought? To quote the man himself: "As for Kraa, who can say? It, too, has gone through changes. It's not unusual for a movie to end up being something very different from what it was to start with."

We assume that what Mr. Carr means is that Kraa! The Sea Monster started out as a good movie.

Rent or Buy from Reel.

Review date: 10/22/98

This review is © copyright 1998 Chris Holland & Scott Hamilton. Blah blah blah. Please don't claim that it's yours blah blah, but feel free to e-mail it to friends, or better yet, send them the URL. To reproduce this review in another form, please contact us at Blah blah blah blah.

































* Homaged from MTV's Daria. Go back!