Monday, February 9, 2009

Movie Journal: The Incredible Mr. Limpet

It's a widely accepted fact that during the first World War the U.S. Navy made use of a top secret weapon codenamed "Limpet". Thanks to "Limpet", the Navy was able to quickly pinpoint and sink hundreds of Nazi submarines. The Nazi's fear of the Navy grew, and so in order to eliminate this threat they called "Das Limpet", German engineers developed a high-tech weapon specifically for the job. However, when the time came, these weapons backfired, and an entire Nazi fleet was destroyed, making way for the U.S. Navy's passage to Europe.

And that, my friends, is how we pushed back the Nazi's U-boats surfing the Atlantic during World War I. Although, I may have failed to point out one minor detail; Limpet happened to be a talking fish, who was once a man.

Such a promising premise, isn't it? But I have some unfortunate news. Everything especially good about the movie is long over before the film is even a third of the way through.

I am referring, of course, to Don Knotts. His charm was so genuine and yet at the same time so different from so many other characters he's played, I have to say I was blown away. And then he had to go and get himself turned into a fish, which from a storytelling perspective is like sliding into a straight-jacket, as all the underwater characters he then had to interact with were shallow stereotypes. Even his exchanges with characters above water after that point were often ridiculous and hard to believe; since the voice-recordings for Limpet and live-action recordings for other characters were done separately, the timing is often off and the connection just isn't there.

I'm afraid this is just another mediocre movie trying to sell itself as a classic. Pity, because with a few tinkerings with the plot among other things, it really could have been great. Don Knotts was really something. As a result, The Incredible Mr. Limpet is both one of my very favorite films, and at the same time one of my most hated.

6 out of 10

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