Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bigfoot: The World's Greatest Ninja?

If there's one creature who is more elusive than a Master Ninja, it's Bigfoot. He goes where he wants, when he wants, and no one is ever really able to see him. And this despite the fact that some "Bigfoot scholars" believe he's a migratory animal who moves up and down the northwest coast, passing unseen through some pretty well-inhabited areas.

Movie critic and political commentator Michael Medved believes in Bigfoot, so who am I to question? I wonder if the film I'm reviewing today convinced him. It's probably one of the finest pieces of Bigfoot scholarship, even if they don't address the theory that Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) are big hairy Ninja the likes of which exist nowhere in the world but my home of the American Northwest.

(Although I don't quite get how Bigfoot can be so stealthy when he apparently stinks worse than a Venezuelan garbage dumb in July.)

The Legend of Bigfoot (1976)
Starring: Ivan Marx and Peggy Marx
Director: Harry Winer
Rating: One of Ten Stars

This film is supposedly a documentary that chronicles a ten-year quest by a professional tracker to determine the migratory habits of Bigfoot and to acquire irrefutable film documentation of their existence. It's actually a collection of nature photography that wasn't quite good enough to make it into the PBS and Mutual of Omaha programs, intermingled with out-of-focus shots of guys in fur-suits and rubber feet.

"The Legend of Bigfoot" is crushingly dull unless you're really REALLY into Bigfoot and nature films. And even if you're really REALLY into nature films, you're going to find yourself wishing that Marx would get to some point, or that Bigfoot would rear up and eat him. At the very least, I suspect you're going to find yourself reaching for the remote so you can scan past the boring bits. What do wild pigs have to do with Bigfoot? What do Caribou hunters have to do with Bigfoot? What do "ground squirrels in love" have to do with Bigfoot? While the ground squirrels are damn cute, they have NOTHING do to with Bigfoot, yet we are treated to scenes of all the above that seem as long as the ten years Marx supposedly hunted Bigfoot. (Oh... and what self-respecting tracker drives a red VW Bug, even if it was the Seventies? And drives it into the remote central Washington back country in the middle of winter?)

Will the film make you believe in Bigfoot? Only if you can believe that someone and/or his camera crew is capable of getting crystal clear film of any living animals except the mysterious, stinky Bigfoot. As hoaxes/mocumentaries go, this is very badly done. It's far more likely that, if the film doesn't put you to sleep, it will motivate you to change the station the next time they're discussing the critter on "Coast-to-Coast AM". The theories featured in "Legend" are almost as stupid as the ones they aspouse on that show--Bigfoot as an extra-dimensional visitor is actually almost more believable than Bigfoot as migratory animal that literally moves as fast on the ground as Canada Geese fly through the air.

Supposedly, Ivan Marx--the tracker whose quest is documented in this film, and who supposedly took the blurry images of Bigfoot--was a leader in the field of Bigfoot research. I am definitely in the wrong line of work. The bar for being taken seriously in the field of Bigfoot scholarship must be seriously low, perhaps even lower than that in the field of studying scantily clad women to prove they cause earthquakes.

The people who take Bigfoot research seriously must also be very stupid, if "The Legend of Bigfoot" is the sort of material they consider valid. (Although this essay at explains exactly what sort of documentarian Marx is. In brief, he's a fraud who makes Michael Moore look like Ken Burns. If "serious Bigfoot scholars" do web searches, they probably know what a piece of trash this film is.)

Why this film was included in the "Chilling Classics" DVD multipack--which is where I came across it--I'll never know. Perhaps someone mistook it for the Bill Rebane film known as "The Legend of Big Foot" (note the space), but never bothered to actually watch it before doing the digital transfer. Or maybe they got so bored they figured it HAD to be a Bill Rebane film. (And I apologize to Mr. Rebane for dumping on him while not even reviewing one of his movies. After all, I plenty of that here.)

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