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Review: Lake Placid

Old 06-09-00, 06:53 PM
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Something evil (well, maybe not evil, but dangerous) is lurking under the surface of Black Lake, Maine. When a fish and game service scuba diver is pulled back into the boat on a beaver-tagging expedition, he is missing something important…his legs. At first glance, it is a rather typical horror film about a giant Asian crocodile that has somehow gotten loose in the waters of a secluded main lake. In short order, various personalities swoop in to try and deal with the situation, including the local Sheriff (Brendan Gleeson, of Braveheart fame), an officer from the fish and game service (Bill Pullman), a millionaire crocodile enthusiast (Oliver Platt), and a lovely paleontologist from New York City (Bridget Fonda), and various other lesser characters (several of whom are sure to die before the film ends). There is also this kooky old woman who lives alone in a cottage by the lake who may know more than she is letting on (Betty White).

Lake Placid is the second film producing effort and third film writing effort from David E. Kelley, the force behind such television shows as The Practice, Chicago Hope, and Ally McBeal. It is directed by Steve Miner.

Lake Placid was almost universally panned by the critics. Having now seen it, I’m not sure why. I rather enjoyed it. You’ll recall my deliberate use of the phrase “at first glance” above when I said that Lake Placid is a “rather typical horror film”. It really isn’t. What it is, in large part, is minute after minute of usually hilarious, mostly sardonic, and virtually always acrimonious dialogue in the thin guise of a “typical horror film”. Pullman’s character stands as a not-so-effective bastion of civility among the paleontologist, sheriff, and millionaire as they lash out at each other almost incessantly. Add to this Betty White’s character, who is far from the sweet old Grandma figure from The Golden Girls and has several lines that would make a sea-hardened swabby blush.

Depending on your sense of humor, your mileage may vary. However, I found the first two-thirds of Lake Placid to be deliciously uproarious. It only loses steam during the last third, when it foolishly discards the level of wit that has carried it this far and tries to take itself seriously for a little while. One rather notable climatic scene, wherein the main characters must make an important decision, would seem absolutely ripe for more humor, yet almost none comes. Only in the waning moments does Lake Placid attempt to recapture its comedic energy, and by then it is half-hearted and too late. While hardly its strong point, Lake Placid also has the occasional pretense of being a horror film. Some of these elements do in fact work so be prepared to be scared occasionally, if not consistently.

Despite its shortcomings and its overall casual nature, Lake Placid was, for me at least, a lot of fun and chock full of memorable, risible dialogue. Betty White’s smutty utterances alone make this worth the rental.

(out of four)

The DVD features a letterboxed widescreen transfer (2.35:1), DD5.1 sound, animated menus, a making-of featurette, trailer/TV spots, and cast/crew bios
Old 06-11-00, 12:00 AM
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The first thing that comes to mind about this movie for me is that often used elusive description "...well, it's a fun movie". Once the critics have almost universally panned a movie, almost any description of it comes across as a defense.

I really liked this movie as the usual diversion from reality. I uncontrollably guffawed out loud at the second or third opening line of the movie. I'm not one to laugh out loud much watching anything ...my kind of sense of humor but also, it evoked that knee-jerk reaction. It really is a fun movie. Good review JustinS!

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Old 06-11-00, 12:13 AM
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I agree. I didn't think it was great by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought it was certainly okay. Most people panned it more than likely because other people were panning it.

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Old 06-11-00, 03:48 AM
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I thought it was great when the one guy got pulled out of the water and he was bit in half.
Old 06-12-00, 03:37 PM
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I thought this was a fun movie but I hated Oliver Platt's charactor. Each time he was on screen I hoped he would be "gatorized" or simply shot by one of the other charactors.
Old 06-12-00, 04:31 PM
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Overall, not a bad film. My only cavaet with this film was that it ended a little too quickly - it was over when it was starting to get exciting. Such is the trademark of director Steve Miner - he makes his films way too short.
I found the lines funny, but some of the characters were too annoying (esp. the Oliver Platt role).
I liked Betty White - she was this close to being "John Waters" material.
I liked the humor in ALLIGATOR (1980) better.
The animatronic reptile looked MUCH better than the CGI version (which kept changing color and scale throughout the film).
Love that cartoon looking bear. That scene where it's getting eaten looks "funky" and "amateurish" right out of the Anaconda school of effects.
Love the widescreen photography - the DVD looks a little soft, but that sunset hue looks stunning.
Old 06-12-00, 07:18 PM
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does anyone know where i could download two of the good betty white quotes. Im looking for "this is where if i had a dick id tell you to suck it" and "alright officer fxxkmeat".
if you have these, for some reason, email them to me at [email protected]

thanks
Old 06-12-00, 07:43 PM
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I wasnt impress with this movie. The writers should stick with TV. The movie looked more like cheesy made-for-TV movie than a horror movie. I wasnt surprised that it bombed in theaters.
Old 06-13-00, 02:13 AM
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I thought it was just horrible. Are most of the positive reviews from people who saw it on video or in the theaters? I think that if I saw it in theaters I might have thought it was better, but on video it was the biggest waste of time. I used to like Bridget Fonda, but now I just find her utterly annoying (especially in Lake Placid). And Oliver Platt just seems to be taking on anything and everything lately. He's about the only semi-interesting character in this movie. I also thought that the dialogue never rose above "He lost his head" Keanu Reeves' Speed pun levels. It seemed that David E. Kelley was writing a movie simply to try to invent a new catchphrase. There was no real dialogue. It was all about who could rib each other the best and who's character could out cliche the other. Now, that's ok in some movies, but in this one it just seemed worn out.


I agree with Wago70 that the movie ended too quickly. It was very very short (I think most animated films are longer). I also agree with dknight04 that it did seem very TVish.


IMO David E. Kelley should just stick with TV.

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[This message has been edited by Shilex (edited June 12, 2000).]
Old 06-13-00, 04:02 AM
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This is a very entertaining movie. It won't make you think but it'll will sure make you laugh. It's more of a comedy than monster movie. The dialogue is vintinge David E. Kelly. If you like Kelly's writing style, then this movie won't disappoint you. I first saw it in the movie theatres and it's definately worth the price of a rental.
Old 06-13-00, 11:09 PM
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Fun popcorn movie.....comical and lots-o-cheese...
Old 06-14-00, 07:29 PM
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I've been meaning to rent this but it is always rented out. Someone must like it.

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Old 06-14-00, 07:55 PM
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OK,

I can't take this anymore. Stop calling movies "popcorn" movies. That is a way of saying they SUCK! It should be called a "cornhole" movie.
Old 06-14-00, 11:25 PM
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I disagree.

Popcorn doesn't suck! I like popcorn. I like to eat popcorn and watch all kinds of movies. It's not filet mignon, but popcorn tastes good! To say it's a popcorn movie is to say it's to be savored lightly, perhaps as a snack, to be enjoyed and not taken too seriously. Try lightening up by holding off on the butter, if you must.

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Old 06-15-00, 12:12 AM
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Could this one be compared to The Faculty? I thought that movie, while completely unoriginal and not scary at all, still provided some fun thrills and was hilarious at times. Just a fun romp. Just wondering as I haven't seen Lake Placid either.

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