Friday, December 31, 2021

Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century


Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century
Gianfranco Parolini

Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century is a wonderfully absurd cash-in on both the Bigfoot craze of the 1970s and the big budget remake of King Kong (1976). The movie moves from goofy moment to goofy moment with an abandon that makes it into a comedy on the level of Airplane (1980) at times. There is a refreshing lack of realism and rationality (and skill) on display during its runtime as the movie bounces between back and forth between violent monster flick and silly kiddie fare.

There is something very cartoonish about the opening act where a wealthy entrepreneur attempts to transport and thaw out a huge icebound figure who looks like he’s been dragged out of a nearby Scooby-Doo cartoon. What they do manage to unfreeze is a giant man with fantastic hair. Kaiju moves are almost always stretching suspension of disbelief. Monster costuming bridges that gap between real and unreal, so when this Yeti looks just like a guy with a mane of blonde hair it becomes increasingly difficult to take anything seriously.


"Get this guy a towel!"

Not that this movie seems terribly interested in being serious (until it does). The Yeti takes a liking to a collie who seems more disinterested than frightened. He also makes a woman comb is his luscious hair with a giant fish skeleton and shows an affinity for hairspray. This mirrors virtually any version of King Kong where early on, Kong and whatever woman he’s run off with have bonded over some minor adventure, but here, it’s taken to a level of absurdity. The movie keeps insisting that he Yeti has a hard time breathing because of… I’m not really sure. Presumably the air is much thinner way up in the Himalayas where he lives, so coming down to ground level he should be giddy from oxygen density, but the opposite happens here. Thankfully the movie at no point attempts to engage in anything like accurate science so I’m going to let this one slide.

As is tradition in giant monster movies, the size of the Yeti varies greatly as the movie progresses. Sometimes he’s 20 feet tall and others he seems to tower well over 50. The Yeti is brought to life through large scale props and optical effects. It is never brought to life convincingly, but after a while this becomes part of the charm of the whole affair.


"Thanks for the towel!"

Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century is a silly mess, it is neither a good monster movie nor a good children’s film. Despite its many flaws, the movie glides by from moment to moment in such a carefree way that it is difficult to not get caught up in the fun. Sure it is shoddily made and needed several more passes on the script before it could have become something good, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an enjoyable experience.

With the 2020s being the way they are a visit to the Giant of the 20th Century really is a nice place to visit.

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