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Home > Movies > 31 Monstrous Failures #17: Kronos

31 Monstrous Failures #17: Kronos

October 17th, 2011

One of the movies I’d long intended to watch was the 1957 sci-fi thriller Kronos. Once, about 25 years ago, I caught it on late night TV only to fall asleep midway through and wake up an hour or so later during a rerun of the documentary series The World at War. It took me several minutes to realize that the constant bombardment of planes and tanks was being meted out against the Nazis, and not an outer space robot.

A quarter-century later, the films that once were consigned to the wee hours are now available to watch in the time and manner of my choosing. And so, this past Saturday, I took advantage of my long flight back from England to see what I’d missed at last.

I fell asleep again. But at least I had enough foresight to first hit “pause.” It’s because of this that I can report that…

Kronos!

…is not very good.

It has some decent building blocks, including performances by sci-fi stalwarts Jeff Morrow and Morris Ankrum, and an effective musical score by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter.

Its skyscraper-sized robot monster sports an unusual, decidedly non-humanoid design. It’s a telescoping, boxy thing with a translucent dome, a pair of antenna and four piston legs. And the special effects aren’t too bad, aside from the cartoon animation employed for “walking” scenes (as seen in the screencap above).

But I realize just why it was so easy for me repeatedly to fall asleep during this flick. It’s only 80 minutes long, but not until the 37-minute mark does Kronos poke his dome above the surface of the ocean. Up until then, it’s a lot of tedious plodding about the arrival of a flying saucer and its mental possession of an Earth scientist. And a helicopter. Flying around. A lot.

There’s an intriguing, if nonsensical idea here: aliens from a distant world have learned the secret of transmuting energy into matter, and have as a consequence used up all of their resources. Instead of, say, converting some of that matter back into energy, they instead send a colossal “accumulator” to Earth in hopes of sucking us dry. It’s up to Science! to stop Kronos before the aliens launch more accumulators.

All well and good, but this is one of those silly films in which top military brass base their strategy solely on the word of a single scientist. And when he turns out to be an alien quisling, they immediately accept at face value the advice of another researcher at that same institute (“LabCentral”).

Inexplicably, Kronos stomps around destroying cities with lightning bolts from its antennae. Never mind that its mission is not to conquer or destroy our world, but to collect our energy. Which it then shoots at people.

Thankfully, the aliens–whom, I must reiterate, are smart enough to create matter from energy–didn’t expect anyone to think of shorting out the terminals on their giant walking battery. Which is what our own smarties do, courtesy some convenient “omega particles.”

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