Starring R.L. McMurry, Teal Marchande, Robert Garcia, Robert J. Ferrelli, Jeff Rector, Stephen Martines, Anthony Furlong, Alison Lohman, Candida Tolentino, J.W. Perra, Jon Simanton, Jerry Lentz, Michael Guerin, John Paul Fedele
Directed by Aaron Osborne (with kaiju SFX scenes directed by Dave Parker)
Expectations: I hope it’s as fun as Zarkorr! the Invader was.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
Kraa! the Sea Monster begins with promise. Lord Doom, a red-caped villain with a skull face (who looks like he could be a cousin of the metal-faced, green-caped Doctor Doom!), converses with his minion Chamberlain, a midget with white face paint and space goggles. They hatch a plan to steal the Earth out from under us humans by sending down the alien behemoth Kraa to pave the way for the Doom clan. Lord Doom’s planet is becoming too cold to support life, and he craves the warmth of the Earth. Someone just send this guy a space heater and call it a day!
Unlike Full Moon’s previous kaiju film, Zarkorr! the Invader, in Kraa! the survival of the Earth does not hinge on the actions of one man. That task mainly falls onto the backs of the Planet Patrol, a group of teens flying around the galaxy in a Death Star-like sphere ship. Lord Doom disables their ship so they are unable to respond, but somehow (I honestly forget how) the Planet Patrol is able to send an agent to Earth that should be able to handle the job.
In a “normal” ’90s movie, this operative would be someone like Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man who seems like he could handle a 200-foot alien sea creature and live to tell about it. But this is Full Moon, so we just get a pint-sized alien named Mogyar who looks like a cross between a turtle and a jar full of boogers. Oh, and inexplicably Mogyar is Italian, so the humans are unable to communicate with him until they buy some Italian in 10 Easy Steps books — after which the little turtle booger talks like Father Guido Sarducci for the rest of the movie.
But who cares about story or believable characters? It’s a movie called Kraa! the Sea Monster with an Italian-accented turtle booger as its hero! It should be a lot of fun, right? Unfortunately not. At least in my case. With films as bad as this, your mileage will definitely vary. What made it a chore to get through these 69 minutes is that unlike Zarkorr! this one is — just hang with me for a moment — played seriously. I suppose you could say that Zarkorr! was too, but I found that one to be so over-the-top serious that it came around to hilarious. The actors in Kraa! merely take us half the way there and leave us stranded in the bad, boring territory of an entirely stupid giant monster movie that takes itself WAY too seriously.
On top of that, the footage of Kraa smashing through the models is mediocre at best. There are some great moments, such as when he slams his fists through a building adorned with a poster for the 1998 Roland Emmerich Godzilla film, or when Kraa cradles a giant Paul Bunyan statue in his arms while a tanker crashes into a gas station and explodes, but these moments are the exception to the rule. The rest of the footage is largely uninteresting, and shot in infuriatingly tedious slow-motion. I can understand wanting to see a giant monster crash through models in slo-mo, but we don’t need Kraa to walk in slo-mo, turn his body in slo-mo, roar in slo-mo, flail his arms in slo-mo, etc.
I wanted to release my tension and laugh to my heart’s content along with Kraa! the Sea Monster, but instead I was mostly bored and laughing at it. It’s hard not to when some of the special FX footage features a rough-print timecode at the bottom of the screen, and in certain shots on the Planet Patrol bridge they completely forgot to do a couple FX shots so we just see a giant green screen where the view screen should be. I’m guessing Full Moon’s kaiju sub-label (responsible for only two films) was running out of money quickly and Kraa! the Sea Monster was rushed out to stop the bleeding.
If you’re brave, go ahead and watch this one and let me know if your experience is any different than mine was.
Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie, I’ll be checking out the even more kid-friendly sequel/re-edit of Kraa! the Sea Monster, Planet Patrol! Color me not that excited! See ya then!