Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Dean Cain, Steven Waddington, Lucy Brown, Louisa Clein, Louis Johnson, Laia Gonzales
Directed by Victor Garcia
Syfy’s Frost Giant left so little of an impression that five days later I find myself hard-pressed to remember much by way of specifics as I finally get around to penning my review. Would it be too punny of me to say that Frost Giant left me cold?
What makes Frost Giant all the more disappointing is that there is nothing glaringly wrong with the film aside from it being blandly assembled and frequently tedious. The plot is pedestrian, the characters are stock, the dialogue is perfunctory, and yet the script is never worse than adequate. Equally adequate are the actors with their myriad of accents, but there is simply no breathing life into a character that has none on the page. The direction is… I’m a little lost as to what to write here since I’ve already used the words “pedestrian”, “perfunctory”, and “bland” in this paragraph and my Thesaurus isn’t handy at the moment. You know how you sometimes watch an old black & white monster movie from the golden age of cinema and can’t help but notice how dry the film is? Frost Giant is very much in the vein of such Atomic Age creature features, and its flaws are remarkably similar although in this instance I’d call it “freeze dried”. Too punny again?
One would think that with a title like Frost Giant the monster would be a Bigfoot, Yeti, Ymir, or some other huge hairy hominid, probably of Scandinavian lore. You would think incorrectly. They were taking the term “Frost Giant” literally in this one: A large ice creature is on the attack fatally turning anyone it swats, slashes, or stabs to ice.
You’d also probably think it be easy to destroy a monster made of ice by simply melting it? You would be incorrect again. You see, this alien ice cube is actually a gas monster from outer space that crash landed in the Arctic Circle and immediately froze into a solid and now craves heat, whether it stems from a burning fire or human body heat, as it seeks to drain such heat to thaw itself back down to its natural non-corporeal state. In close-ups it looked like an ice sculpture a chainsaw artist at Comic Con would carve. From a distance it was hard to tell what it was supposed to be. Syfy movie CGI is often dodgy to begin with; giving the computer animators the challenge of a monster that has practically see-through crystal edges was asking too much.
This so-called Frost Giant is also one of those movie monsters with such a one-track mind that I found myself wondering what it was off doing when it wasn’t killing in search of heat sources. It lives only to draw heat. There are only x number of heat sources in the Arctic Circle. So where was it and what was it doing during those stretches in between killing this research crew? Penning its memoirs, Freezer Burn: My Life as a Heat-Sucking Gas Monster From Jupiter Frozen on Planet Earth.
Characters will spend the bulk of the movie running for their lives from this ice monster only for it to finally return to its original vapor form so that the characters can then spend the entire third act desperately trying to refreeze it in order to trap it.
For the record, if your monster movie features a gaseous monster that can be fended off with flares, your movie monster sucks.
Frost Giant purports to reveal the truth behind the disastrous 1825 Arctic Circle expedition of the HMS Fury. History would have you believe the harsh sub-zero environmental hardships resulted in so many deaths and the ship being swallowed by the ice. In actuality, an alien creature arrived via meteorite back in 1825 and immediately set its sights on the explorers. Syfy history is always more interesting than real history.
Now, had the film built itself entirely around the otherworldly tribulations of the crew of the HMS Fury, Frost Giant might have had a shot at being something a little less par for the course. The film will frequently flash back to scenes involving this ill-fated encounter between 19th century Arctic sailors and a heat-seeking ice monster that remains remarkably limber despite being an entity composed of gas that has been frozen solid, but that’s only at the outset and in vignettes later on whenever Dean Cain reads another passage from the ship’s journal.
Dean Cain stars as a modern-day descendant of one of the only survivors of the HMS Fury and has dedicated his professional career to finding the location of its sunken remains. He and an Arctic Circle research team excavate its sunken hull only to discover that the reason the ship was sunk in the first place was to serve as a frozen tomb for a certain icy intergalactic interloper that could potentially threaten mankind.
One character will angrily blame the others for digging up this frozen shipwreck, setting loose a monster as if they all should have seen this coming. Of course they should have seen this coming. They’re appearing in a Syfy monster movie, aren’t they?
And if you’ve ever seen a Syfy monster or either version of The Thing, then you should see coming everything that happens next.
Yeah, punny or not, Frost Giant left me cold.
2 out of 5
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