Swamp Thing: The Problem With Reviewing A 30 Year Old Movie
Two weeks ago I posted a review of the 80s movie Swamp Thing in which I complained
It was too slow, not funny enough and the story, which should have been over the top and “what were they smoking” crazy was incredibly clichéd.
On reflect I was overly harsh on this movie because I saw the movie 30 years after it was released. Why does that matter?
To explain this properly I need to start with a history lesson. In 1971 Swamp Thing first appeared in the American comic book called House of Secrets. I recently read his (it’s?) introductory story and it is over written and has nothing to do with the Swamp apart from that is where the villain of the piece dumps Swamp Thing‘s human body. The character was popular so the creators Len Wein and David Micheline were asked to write an ongoing series that re-worked the character into more of a hero. I haven’t read these stories but they were clearly popular as they ran for four years and resulted in a movie being made based on them – the film I talked about last time. After the success of the film, Swamp Thing was revived by Martin Pasko and then Alan Moore. My introduction to Swamp Thing was Moore‘s first volume which is definitely “what were they smoking crazy.”
In his first story Swamp Thing‘s origins are re-written so that he has always been an elemental monster rather than a human turned into a monster. The reader discovers this by watching Floronic Man carrying out an autopsy that includes him eating parts of Swamp Thing. As I said about “what-were-they-smoking-crazy” is not in short supply on this book. So the reason why my criticisms of the movie were unfair was that I was wanting an adaptation of storylines that had yet to be written when the movie was being made. Maybe The Return of Swamp Thing made in 1989 or the TV series that followed it included more of the craziness I was looking for. If I ever watch either I’ll let you know.