Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

Don’t get excited by the promise of adult entertainment; there’s more skin on the poster than in the film.

“From the depth of space they came to vanish beneath the sea.”

Directed by Kevin Connor
Starring Doug McClure, Peter Gilmore, Shane Rimmer and Lea Brodie

Professor Aitken and his son Charles (Gilmore) launch an expedition into the depths with the aid of American engineer Greg Collinson (McClure). When they undercover a golden statue from Atlantis, the crew of their ship threaten mutiny against Captain Daniels (Rimmer) to seize the gold. Before it can all go down, however, they all get abducted by a giant octopus!

The crew are taken to the Seven Cities of Atlantis, where Aitken is taken to meet the royalty with their yogic flying and their world-manipulating Martian mind control (yeah; they turn out to be Martians.) Meanwhile, Greg and the crew are taken to work on the wall repair and sentry detail with the Captain of the Mary Celeste and his sexy daughter Delphine (Brodie).

When monsters attack, Greg leads a breakout, rescues Aitken from having his brain used as a battery and leads the crew back to his diving bell, where they have to leave Delphine because she has gills!

And then there’s the mutiny to deal with, and the octopus again.

What’s wrong with it?

It’s a 1970s monster movie with Doug McClure, so it’s pointless to complain too much about the effects, or McClure.

Okay, a little about McClure. He’s pretty much the doyen of this kind of film and by 1978 his once handsome face is lined deep with the weight of that fact. He’s not even sleepwalking through the role; he’s just… living it, as if he can’t help himself but it’s the last thing he wants.

And while I’m about it, the monsters are pretty low-grade puppet work. In a lot of ways, this is like the 1970s equivalent of a SyFy Original creature feature.

The plot is muddled. There’s just too much here and not enough done to develop any of it. The Atlanteans are from Mars and have manipulated humanity for their own benefit for millennia, but this is just a throwaway line. The captain of the Mary Celeste is another throwaway, and Delphine is basically there because they felt they needed a love interest, but voluntarily fails to make it to the closing credits; she just… disappears.

There is precious little sign of the Atlanteans’ vaunted mind powers in their own city, or rather cities.

Of the seven cities, three are sunk, and of the other four we see about two streets and a couple of rooms.

What’s right with it?

The film lacks anything really good about it, and that’s kind of its problem.

How bad is it really?

Warlords of Atlantis isn’t bad, it just fails to be anything more than one of a number of films of its ilk.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Crossing a swamp, the party are attacked by huge flying fish. Aitken cries out: “Coelacanths! They’re supposed to be extinct!”

What’s up with…?

  • The octopus that drags four guys off the deck of a ship and down through the ocean for several minutes without any ill-effects?
  • The coelacanths?
  • The ‘Irish’ crewman’s collection of doubtful hagiographic oaths? He swears by a different saint each time something dodgy happens.


Production values – For the time… it was probably still pretty blah, but it certainly hasn’t dated well. 14
Dialogue and performances – There is nothing much to write home about here; it’s all competent people doing a job that is no better than competent. 12
Plot and execution – Too many ideas in not enough time results in a shallow, over-stuffed film which doesn’t look at any of its concepts in detail. 15
Randomness – This film actually looks more random than it is. Aside from the coelacanths, everything is an idea that was supposed to be a major part of the plot; it’s just so rushed4
Waste of potential – With the lack of anything really bad, you’d think this should have been better. 13

Overall 58%


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