Jack Ellway (Adam Baldwin) is a marine biologist living on the island of Malau with his son Brandon (Emile Hirsch). Jack is studying the marine life around the island. Seismic activity in the area may be affecting the natural underwater life. Jack wants to know if so and how much. There have also been a strange cluster of drownings in the area.
In the meantime Brandon has found an unusual reptilian creature in the forest. While Brandon is making friends with the three foot baby salamander-type creature something much larger is off shore. But not for long. A nine foot amphibian ventures on shore and begins busting up nighttime beach parties. The creature is captured but where it came from is still a mystery.
Jack along with Dr. Ralph Hale (Peter Adams) take a submersible and go into the ocean to explore a newly opened trench caused by the underwater earthquakes. While taking samples the submersible is attacked by something big. Really big. Later they find that the trench was a dumping area of banned pesticides. The pesticides have created a creature that has been mutated due to a diet of highly concentrated man made materials.
Several reporters on a near-by island get wind of the discovery and take a boat over to Malau. On the way they are attacked by an even bigger creature than the one that was captured. Pictures from their camera reveal the size of, what they believe is, the parent of their nine footer. It’s huge and it’s heading this way.
While the military is called in to assist in dealing with the creature, one of the local fishermen tries to steal the nine footer to sell to an interested buyer. The nine footer gets injured but manages to get away. Without the nine footer there is nothing to stop mama from going on a rampage.
“Gargantua” was released in 1998 and was directed by Bradford May. It is a made for TV film. The plot is very similar to “Gorgo” 1961 but the early sixties monster movie doesn’t translate very well to the late nineties made for TV screen.
It starts out a little slow but when the monster shows up there are a fair number of explosions, tramplings and gunfire. The monsters aren’t terrific but they’re fine. The special effects aren’t bad considering it’s a TV movie. Despite the monster bells and whistles it’s mostly a family movie. At times it’s sad, almost to the point of being a tear jerker and sometimes heartwarming. If you’re looking for your regular monster movie this may not be the movie for you. If, on the other hand you need a family film with some giant monster in it this has what you’re looking for.
The film was shot on location throughout Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia so there is some nice cinematography here as well.
The movie was released the same day "Godzilla" 1998 was released so everyone tries to compare the two. Don’t. It is nothing like “Godzilla”. This is far more subdued. Britain had “Gorgo”, Japan had “Gappa” 1967 and America has “Gargantua”. Monsters can have families too.