Warlords of the Deep
The inconsistent and uneven Warlords of Atlantis was the fourth and final collaboration between producer John Dark, director Kevin Connor, and square jawed actor Doug McClure. The first three period set fantasy adventures The Land that Time Forgot (1975), At the Earth’s Core (1976) and The People that Time Forgot (1977) were all produced under the auspices of Amicus Productions and were based on works by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Warlords of Atlantis broke with this tradition in both its means of production and its writing. The screenplay was concocted by Brian Hayles who spent most of his career writing for British television. He contributed six serials to Doctor Who (The Celestial Toymaker, The Smugglers, The Ice Warriors, The Seeds of Death, The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon) and many of these adventures had strong socio-political allegorical undertones, this narrative dimension bleeds into the screenplay for this film. Hayles’ screenplay emphasises action over plotting and character development, and the result is energy and excitement at the cost of effective storytelling. The film also differs in its stress on science-fictional elements and in its interest in the future of mankind. However Warlords of Atlantis still celebrates unlikely feats of engineering and places its trust and support in the unshakeable symbol of the eccentric Victorian scientist. The result is a film that maintains the iconography of the Amicus pictures, but develops a series of themes that offer an altogether darker vision than that presented in the earlier films.
© Shaun Anderson 2011