The Colossus of New York (1958)

Colossus of New York PosterThe Spensser family is one where the father (William) is a brilliant brain surgeon, one son (Henry) is really good with electronics and the other son (Jeremy) is just an all around genius who works on stuff like frost-resistant crops. Since Jeremy is the one who is getting all the headlines for winning the International Peace Prize, his daddy likes him best and that means he will be the one run over by a truck and need his brain transplanted into a giant mechanical creation of his brother’s.

In front of his moderately horrified family, Jeremy is run over at the airport, pronounced dead and immediately carted off to the family estate where dad can give him the once over in his secret basement lab.

This is one of those basement labs with a twelve foot tall steel door, lots of electrical equipment, and all sorts of space for housing a seven and half foot tall metal man. Right now though, it just sports a lot of stuff for keeping a pet brain alive.

It turns out that Jeremy’s brain was sitting in a glass case of water hooked up to an EEG machine which led me to believe that they must have had some kind of clearance sale on set leftovers from Donovan’s Brain.

William mentions that with Henry’s expertise in electronics that maybe he could go ahead and build a real big metal robot to house Jerry’s brain in.

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Before we go any further, maybe we should examine Henry’s situation to see if building a monster to put his brother’s brain in is in his best interests. First of all, Henry has always felt that his dad liked Jerry best. I’m pretty sure he was wondering whether dear old dad would go through this much trouble for him or whether it would just be a bunch of plastic flowers on his grave, chucked from a passing car once a year.

Secondly, there’s the sexy widow to think of. And Henry is doing just that. Why, he’s been sucking up to her little brat Billy for all these months and if Jerry comes back to life, that will all go down the drain!

And this doesn’t even count all the questions of morality and messing around with forces man wasn’t meant to mess with! So you can see that there’s no good reason for Henry to build this giant.

Well, Henry builds the giant. Frankly, I wasn’t that impressed with Henry’s work. Why would he build such a behemoth of a body for the brain? It was over seven feet tall, was about four feet wide, its voice squawked like a walkie-talkie, its eyes were a couple of flashing lights, and it wore big clunky orthopedic shoes. In fact, whenever the movie needed the monster to kind of move fast, they had to speed up the film!

No sooner is Colossus brought on line than he’s whining about being brought to life. He’s got no family, he can’t live as a man anymore, and he’s never going to fit into those jeans he bought just before he got run over.

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His father tells him that that’s all for the best because now he’ll have all the time in the world to conquer all those problems he was working on before his death.

Colossus, possessing a mind of superior intellect sees the wisdom in these words and agrees to do it on one condition: that no one must ever see him except his dad and Henry.

Well, Colossus breaks out of the lab and checks out his grave site which happens to be out in the backyard at about the same time as little Billy is out there. Billy and Colossus hang out and eventually Colossus’ wife and his brother see him, with the wife fainting and the brother running away all the way to New York!

A frantic phone call to dad follows and Colossus uses his mind control powers to have his dad set Henry up so that Colossus can go put a colossal hurt on him.

Mind control powers? Well, yeah, you didn’t just think that this robot was just really smart and whiny did you?

I wasn’t real sure how he got those powers, but it doesn’t really matter because the power I was most puzzled by was Colossus’s ESP.

ESP powers? Sure. It would just be stupid for a big robot to run amok without them, wouldn’t you say? No one is quite sure how Colossus acquired these powers – they just sort of appeared one day when he predicted a big shipwreck thousands of miles away.

Of course, these two powers pale in comparison with the laser beams Colossus shoots out of his eyes!

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Eye-mounted laser beams powers? Best power ever! This one just appears when he needs to kill people, and is never explained either, but you can let that slide because it leads to the grand finale when Colossus goes over the edge and stomps over to the United Nations, crashes through a big glass window and starts strafing everyone with his laser beams!

Not a very good retelling of the Frankenstein story, what with Colossus developing powers whenever he needs them and the fact that Colossus also goes on a rampage for no real reason.

The movie had no style and what with the film speeded up once in awhile to get the monster moving and the horrible piano-based score, I felt like I was watching a silent movie every now and again.

The sound effects are also distracting as there is this crackly, electrical sound coming from Colossus all the time. Memo to Henry: First order of business on the upgrade is a muffler!

The movie also suffered from a feeling of the story and the characters being completely underdeveloped. The father seemed pretty much nonplussed by everything that went on. The widow didn’t have much of a role (what sort of monster doesn’t end up taking the woman hostage?) and nobody cared at all when Henry was killed.

You don’t need any of Colossus’s secret powers to tell you that this film could have benefited from its own brain transplant.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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