ATTACK OF THE GRYPHON
Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
What's it about
A long time ago, but not in another galaxy (maybe a slightly gay dimension), the lands of Lockland and Delphi are embroiled in war. The King of Lockland commands his go-to sorcerer guy to unleash a mythical beast which has long been their protector. Unfortunately, the sorcerer is played by Larry Drake (meaning, he is evil), who turns the flying Gryphon against both warring kingdoms so that he can rule over the entire land. And so Lockland and Delphi join forces to fight the Gryphon, and the movie continues on until the $15 special effects budget dries up.
Is it good movie?
Making a low-budget fantasy is one of the hardest things to pull off, especially one that requires a flying half-lion, half-eagle creature be present for a good portion of its running time. I can empathize with anyone trying to create convincing costumes, sets and effects with only a handful of change compared to the big boys. Hell, ERAGON can spend $100 million on cool dragons and STILL be a piece of shit. Drawing the audience into another world is essential for any fantasy movie, and ATTACK OF THE GRYPHON fails right out of the gate. As the film draws on, the experience only gets worse, in a slow and agonizing way that Iím sure could be compared to Chinese water torture.
I only just found out that this was originally a Sci-Fi Channel movie, which helps me make some sense of all this. That sort of helps clear up why the costumes are utterly cheap-looking and why every one of the actors has a monotonous delivery. There is one thing in this movie for which there is no excuse, and that is the Gryphon, which is realized with some of the most hilarious special effects Iíve ever seen. This creature is supposed to be a terrifying and unstoppable force that strikes fear into men, but instead it sort of looks like a demo animation that I could whip up on my home PC in 3 or 4 hours. Whenever this thing is on-screen, you will find it hard to not piss yourself laughing. And this is often.
Perhaps not quite as funny as the Gryphon (although close) is Larry Drakeís performance as the evil wizard who commands the beast. Having played Dr. Giggles and Darkmanís nemesis in the past, Drake at least knows how to ham it up, and he does his best with the most outright ridiculous character. Amber Benson (from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) plays the Princess of Lockland, and shows as much emotion as a wheel of cheese, while Jonathan LaPaglia (Anthonyís brother) has similar range as the Prince of Delphi. The script settles for ripping off LORD OF THE RINGS and other fantasy canon works, and never approaches anything worth caring about.
Overall, itís a bad movie. When your movie is called ATTACK OF THE GRYPHON, and the attacking Gryphon looks less threatening than Dumbo, you have a problem.
Video / Audio
Video 1:85:1 Widescreen Format
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Four Trailers for movies (including LABYRINTH??!?), and one for a video game (FINAL FANTASY VII). Thatís all you get here.
ATTACK OF THE GRYPHON is the type of cheapie fantasy epic that everyone hopes to avoid at the video store. The special effects are dreadful, but the acting, writing and sets are no better. Leave it at the bottom of the bin, where it belongs.