Television Review: "Bigfoot"
· Bruce Davidson
· Danny Bonaduce
· Barry Williams
· Howard Hessman
· Sherilyn Fenn
by Dennis Russo
Published: June 30, 2012
This is the fourth and final installment of what SyFy called part of its most Deadliest Month on Television -- and after three weeks of half-fish/half-snake creatures, giant fire-breathing spiders and killer sharks off the Jersey coast, "Bigfoot" had big shoes to fill -- and it falls a little short compared to the others.
For this movie it appears SyFy pulled out all stops! Spending all their production money on three "big name" celebrities in Danny Bonaduce, Barry Williams, and"Dr. Johnny Fever" himself Howard Hessman (who, by the way, the older he gets, the more he is looking like a John Huston in his later years). Now I will forego the easy comparison of "It's the Partridge Family vs the Brady Bunch." It's much more than that... I think. In any case, I think after paying them their undoubtedly exorbitant salaries, there appears there was not a lot left to sink into special effects or story.
"Big Foot" is the campy story of two ex-friends Harlee Henderson (Bonaduce) and Simon Quinn (Williams) former bandmates of the frictional 80's rock band "Midnight Daffodils" -- yep I said daffodils -- now at at odds with each other in part because Harlee slept with Simon's mom back in the day, but more recently because Harlee (a DJ at a radio station in South Dakota) is trying to put on an 80's rock and roll reunion concert and is trying to clear a bunch of trees to make room for the outdoor event. Simon has become a "treehugger" and opposes Harlee at every turn. Harlee, who has the Mayor (Howard Hessman) on his side wins out, and is able to continue clearing the land. Now, you would think right off the bat that this would be taking place in Oregon or Washington state (at least I did), but it doesn't. It takes place in South Dakota.
All this destruction of nature, however, upsets Bigfoot who lives in nearby caves. The best way I can describe this CGI Bigfoot is to ask you to imagine the "Jack Link's "Messin' with Sasquatch" Bigfoot having an affair with King Kong (the original version) and them having a kid that resembles Harry from "Harry and the Hendersons." Why, he even beats his chest at one point!
This Bigfoot is huge, towering over many trees, so how on earth it could have been hidden without anyone seeing it before is beyond me. Anyway, Bigfoot is running amok killing people and biting the heads off everyone he gets his paws on. For a CGI creature he lumbers about with choppy motion akin to a cross between the "Abominable Snowman" from "Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer" and the "Ymir" from "20 Million Miles To Earth." He's not a very believable beastie as he traverses across the land and through water. Its interaction with real objects and many of the actors (who we know are reacting to something they can't see) could have used some more polishing. I think it would have fit better with the campiness of the movie if Bigfoot had been a tall man in a suit, shot from and angle that made him look big.
After Bigfoot crashes Harlee's bust of an 80's rock fest, (deemed "Woodflop" by Simon) by stomping on the likes of Alice Cooper. (How they got him in the movie beats my two pair.) At one point Cooper says to Harlee while he was looking over the sparse, stoned crowd and the lack of other musicians before he went on stage, 'Where Procol Harum?, Where's Jethro Tull?" I thought this very funny since both those bands were in their heyday in the late 60's and 70's. What I thought was really cool though was Alice's "Billion Dollar Babies" jacket he was wearing. Now that brought back memories for me -- but, ahem, not from the 80's. Well, after Bigfoot squashes Alice and many other concert goers, Harlee goes on a quest to capture or kill Bigfoot to use him as an attraction to draw people to their sleepy town. Simon, on the other hand, vows to stop him and convince him and the rest of the world that Bigfoot is not to blame for his actions: people are. Barry's tree hugging lines are so over the top I don't know how he managed to keep a straight face. At one point he says that mother nature struck back in self defense and that Bigfoot will stop if we turn off our streetlights and stop using 4-wheelers. Hoo boy!
Towards the end as the military and Harlee and Simon were closing in on Bigfoot, I shook my head and laughed out loud when -- like King Kong -- Bigfoot ascended a monument to get away from his pursuers. However, since they were in South Dakota instead of New York city, it couldn't climb the Empire State Building; so it had to climb the only thing it had available. Yes, that right, Mount Rushmore. And in lieu of bi-planes diving in to kill Kong, what do we see? We see Simon in his ultralight, gliding towards him to try and tranquilize him with a dart gun. Well eventually real planes show up and... well, I won't spoil what happens for you. You'll have to watch it for yourself. (Poor Abe).
Unfortunately the story was weak from start to finish, and there really isn't much to say about it other than that I don't think it was meant to be anything more than a vehicle to showcase Bonaduce, Williams and Hessman. For a movie such as this, I expected more over-the-top campiness, a little less attempting to be serious, and better CGI effects. (Maybe if they only spent money on two stars instead of three they could have bought the better special effects computer?)
One thing I like and admire about both Bonaduce and Williams is that they they appear to know their station in the acting world. They may be B-listers in the movie world, but I don't say that as if it is a terrible thing. I actually mean that in a flattering way because, in B-Movies, they are the big stars. They're the reason to watch it and they get the top billing they desreve. It's easily evident they know the type of movie they are in. They know the lines they are saying are tongue in cheek, and so easily apparent that they have fun with it, and convincingly deliver their lines, turning on the corn when it calls for it. This is their realm, so to speak. While this movie was not up to the caliber of "Jersey Shore Shark Attack", "Piranhaconda" or "Arachnoquake", it was still fun. It was good to see Danny outside of something other than "Worlds Dumbest" and just good to know Barry is still alive (although it is off but when I see Barry give a big smile/grin he uncannily looks like the "Grinch" and at one point during a scene that I won't tell you about here, you'll have to look for it, you almost expect to hear Boris Karloff say "Well in Whoville they say, the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day").
Okay so I'll admit it here: at times, yes, I did see "Bigfoot" as The Partridge Family versus The Brady Bunch, but cut me some slack. I grew up in and through the 60's, 70's and 80's, so I guess that gives me the right to say that.
If you're home on Saturday and you want to see some of your "old friends" from your youth, turn it on and have fun with it. I think they did, and I did too.
"Bigfoot" airs on the SyFy channel on Saturday night June 30th at 9pm (ET/PT).