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Them! (1954)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GETTING TO KNOW OUR FAVORITE MONSTERS!
________________________________

We love the giant monsters from our favorite sci-fi films, but just how much science and how much fiction is involved in these movies?

I've always enjoyed the scene in Them! when the professor lectures the authorities on the subject of ants and shows a film to illustrate his points.

Imagine a remake of this movie . . . but using giant "army ants"!

Imagine the exciting scenes this remake would have! Army ants are especially aggressive, and they're amazingly well organized — just like an army. So, a large part of this new story would be about the Army versus the Army Ants!

Picture a scene in which the Command Post is set up several miles from the "front lines" out in the desert, with a large tent for the high ranking officers to spread out their maps on sawhorse-and-plywood tables while they move small objects around which represent tanks, artillery, and troops.

The map illustrates that the huge ant colony is surrounded by the Army, and the generals discuss how to mount an all-out attack at dawn to wipe them out. The ants' stronghold is so widespread and so deep underground that an atom bomb might not destroy them all — and besides, the radiation cloud would endanger the population of Las Vegas, less than five miles away!

Suddenly the ground begins to tremble, and the rumbling noise alarms all the soldiers in the area. Seconds later a large section of the desert floor around the Command Center tent drops down into a hole, and we hear the screams of the men as they plummet into the abyss!

Out of the rising dust from the hole come dozens of the giant ants! Some of them are gripping soldiers in their mandibles — from privates to generals, and all the ranks in between!

The giant ants flip over jeeps, slice men in half, and even demonstrate their frightening ability to coordinate their efforts by teaming up two-and-three at a time to overturn tanks!

Their surprise attack is devastatingly effective, because the tunnel they've built has not only broken through the lines of their enemy — mankind — they've also destroyed the Army's on-site command structure and left the human forces in complete chaos!

Science Fact Check: Real army ants actually advance by establishing a colony and then sending out soldiers to forage for food in all directions. Once they've depleted the food in that area, they march in mass to a new area and then start all over again.

In our remake of Them! we could have the hungry ants gobble up the U.S. soldiers who thought they had the ants contained, and then swarm across the dessert towards Las Vegas, where they use the elegant hotels and casinos as their new colony, eating all the poor people who don't evacuate in time!

The sewer system in Las Vegas and the elaborate system of storm drains under the city would become the perfect home for these well-organized creatures. They could survive for months by dinning on the many homeless people who live in the storm drains (see the article at the link above), as well as the tons of food in the freezers of the many restaurants throughout the city.

Meanwhile, the U.S. authorities would quickly realize that once the ants were well established in Las Vegas, nuking the city would not necessarily be the best way to deal with the situation. Dropping an A-bomb on Sin City would kill any survivors who might be left, and it would destroy billions of dollars in both property AND currency located there!

Folks, I love this concept, and it has so much potential I really don't know where to take it next! But I'm sure you guys have some interesting ideas to offer. A remake of Them! using the suggestions I've made here would certainly be an exciting movie.

What do you guys think? Very Happy

________________________________

____ Army Ants Eat Everything | World's Deadliest


__________

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Pow
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting that years later Disney would give us a friendly ant who saves the miniaturized kids in "Honey,I Shrink The Kids."

And the ant would battle a nasty scorpion reminding me of the classic "Black Scorpion."

The ant & scorpion appear to be done via a combo of a large scale animatronic practical prop & stop-motion animation.

It all comes together wonderfully & gives us a suspenseful & dramatic scene with both insects.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Agreed! And yet Disney STILL hasn't released a decent DVD of this movie, much less a Blu-ray! The DVD is in 4:3, dammit! Mad

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scotpens
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:

. . . Out of the rising dust from the hole come dozens of the giant ants! Some of them are gripping soldiers in their mandibles — from privates to generals, and all the ranks in between!

Now, there's a horrific thought. Imagine a giant ant with its mandibles gripping your privates!
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud, is THIS what you had in mind??







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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scotpens wrote:
Bud Brewster wrote:

. . . Out of the rising dust from the hole come dozens of the giant ants! Some of them are gripping soldiers in their mandibles — from privates to generals, and all the ranks in between!

Now, there's a horrific thought. Imagine a giant ant with its mandibles gripping your privates!

Oh my God! Shocked

Yes, in general that would be a major pain! It's sort of the ultimate in corporal punishment! Thank goodness this is fiction and there isn't a colonel of truth in it!

Gord, you're right! I'd forgotten that the Mars Attacks trading cards included the Army battling giant ants. I love the idea more than ever, now!

And just to show how wicked smart ants really are, watch the stunning video below about two ant colonies at war with each other!

It's awesome! Shocked

I wonder if our Them! remake might include a story element about a second colony of giant ants who covets the Las Vegas colony's prime location and bountiful food supply.

Remember, I said the military decided they couldn't nuke Las Vegas because there were still survivors trapped inside, and because it would destroy the city and all the riches it held.

So, when the military leaders learn that a second group of ants are headed across the desert towards Las Vegas, they initially assume this new group will just join the ants already there and make the problem even worse.

But our hero scientists realize that the second group is coming to attack the Las Vegas colony, so they convince the military to let the attackers go through the blockade that surrounds the city.

The ensuing battle would reduce the number of ants the military would eventually need to battle inside Las Vegas.

And there's our climax! An invasion of the city by the military, with hundreds of troops, tanks, and other armored vehicles moving down the Las Vegas streets as they battle the ants.

Naturally the scientist make it clear to the military leaders that they must find and destroy the queen ant. She would be carefully guarded by the ants in some large casino showroom (just because that would look the coolest).

What a great movie this would make! Very Happy



______ Natural World - Empire of the Desert Ants


__________

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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krel wrote:
Are you sure that, that isn't Tennessee Ernie Ford? Laughing
David.

Look more like Walt Disney to me:



"Tennessee" Ernest Jennings Ford, in 1954:



Maybe 3 babies separated at birth?

(Excerpt only)


Bud Brewster wrote:
So, a large part of this new story would be about the Army versus the Army Ants!

What do you guys think? Very Happy


[LARGE deletion.]

Very Good!! Warner Brothers Stdio left THEM! open for a sequel. When the order was given to ebter the sewers, there was a bit of dialog about not being able to contact one of the army units. Could that unit have run into a BIG "pic-nic" problem?

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Krel
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
Look more like Walt Disney to me:



"Tennessee" Ernest Jennings Ford, in 1954:



Still looks like Tennessee Ernie Ford to me with that thin mustache. Disney had a fuller mustache. The wide-eyed look also helps with the TEF resemblance.

David.
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scotpens
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:

We love the giant monsters from our favorite sci-fi films, but just how much science and how much fiction is involved in these movies?

Well, of course, an insect the size of a bus couldn't physically exist. Because of the way arthropods are built, such a creature would be crushed by its own weight. It also couldn't get enough oxygen to survive (an insect's respiratory system consists of a network of tracheal tubes with no lungs, gills, or muscular diaphragm to force oxygen into its bloodstream).

But we geeks already know that, right? Wink
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scotpens wrote:
Well, of course, an insect the size of a bus couldn't physically exist. Because of the way arthropods are built, such a creature would be crushed by its own weight. It also couldn't get enough oxygen to survive (an insect's respiratory system consists of a network of tracheal tubes with no lungs, gills, or muscular diaphragm to force oxygen into its bloodstream).

One of the challenges (and the joys) of creating science fiction stories is addressing the problems and making their solutions a plus for the concept.

In this case, if we're talking about "mutated" ants, we can include more changes in their physiology than just increased size. Evolution proposes that species develop new traits that allow them to survive.

Thus a species of giant insects would not just be bigger versions of the ones that actually exist. The changes that produced their increased size would also include anything they needed to survive — like an exoskeleton made of a lighter-but-stronger form of chitin, and a respiratory system that's more efficient.

Actually, we'd be remiss if we didn't include changes in a mutated form, both because that's the way mutation works, and because we'd be making the creatures more interesting if they differed from the real ones we're all familiar with.

We can make an interesting change in the giant ants while also solving the respiratory system problem by giving them ten legs instead of six, and an extra thorax that includes a more efficient system for processing oxygen.

In other words, instead of this —



__________ ]


— they look something like this. Cool



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mach7
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One reason the giant ants took so long after the atomic blast to show up? Evolution.

A rapid form of evolution. Caused of course by the radiation!
Many mutations, most failed.

The 1st colony was the 1st and largest nest to be successful.
The hair must be a form of external gill! Allowing extra oxygen collection.

Obviously the exoskeleton is much stronger, again through
mutation!

Anyway, I just watched this movie again. The 1st time since the early 70s.
Its held up very well! A good story, Very well acted and directed. The SFX are top notch for its time.

The ants are very well done with one exception. I don't like the eyes. They look toylike.

Thanks for reminding me of this old classic!
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Krel
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mach7 wrote:
The ants are very well done with one exception. I don't like the eyes. They look toylike.

The movie was originally suppose to be in color and 3-D, but the studio got cold feet and cut the budget. Fortunately they had already built the giant ant props, so no spliced in ant footage for giant ants. Because the movie was to be in color they came up with a coating to give the ants rainbow eyes that would be different colors depending on the angle. A color effect totally lost in a black and white image.

David.
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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Noted collector Wade Williams was reported to have some of the color test footage. I wonder if anyone knows how to track it down?
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Krel
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they did a modern remake, they would have a problem. The U.S. Military stopped using flamethrowers and bazookas decades ago.

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krel wrote:
If they did a modern remake, they would have a problem. The U.S. Military stopped using flamethrowers and bazookas decades ago.

Hollywood has gotten really good at setting stories in past periods, like the NASA films set in the 1960s (The Right Stuff, Apollo 13, Hidden Figures, etc.) They spend the money necessary to provide the costumes, the sets, the vintage cars — everything required to create the right atmosphere for serious stories set half-a-century ago.

For years I've wished that Hollywood would make science fiction movies set in the 1950s, made more-or-less in the style of the classics, but with no trace of the campy crap we got in movies like Mars Attacks (which I hate).

I think a serious remake of Them! set in the 1950s and done with absolutely no tongue-in-cheek would be magnificent. High quality CGI ants and a story that uses the concepts we've discussed on this thread would be an exciting movie!

And setting it in the 1950s means we can borrow any ideas from the original we want — like flame throwers and bazookas. Very Happy

The more I think about that whole idea of the ants invading Las Vegas, the more I like it. What could be more indicative of the 1950s lifestyle than Las Vegas, and what could be more frightening than an invasion of giant mutated ants which take over that glittering oasis in the desert?






It would be a battle between mankind and the monsters created by atomic radiation — right there in the city which was dangerously close to all those atom bomb tests in the dessert!

It's a natural, guys!

"The arrogance and decadence of mankind, pitted against the savagery and horror of nature gone berserk!"

Doesn't that sound exactly like the dramatic narrations in those great trailers for the 50s classics!


_______________ Them! (1954) Official Trailer


__________

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