In League With Sea Monsters
Not buying the title of the 1955 hook, line and stinker The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues. First of all a U.S. measurement defined “league” is three nautical miles, or 18,228 feet (a nautical mile is 6,076 feet which is just shy of 800 feet longer. No wonder jogger fish look so worn out all the time.) The word originally meant the distance a person could walk in an hour. I’d rather Uber™.
Simple math tells us that the Phantom’s headlined depth would have him originating 182,280,000 feet below the ocean surface. That’s 34.5 miles down and five and a half times deeper than the science (i.e., United States Center for Coastal & Ocean Mapping) measured distance of 36,070 feet, or 6.83 miles. Maybe the Phantom came from the middle of the Earth, where the dumbassery side of the Internet claims is hollow. (Just like their heads – heh.)
And because this is sticking in my head like a bad song, a fathom – as in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) – is six feet. So that would mean the Beast rose up from 120,000 feet or 22.27 miles deep. Maybe Beast and Phantom commute to work together.
Nevertheless, the Phantom, who would’ve been crushed into seaweed by the ocean’s pressure at the deepest point, has no problem swimming all those miles upstream to knock crab fishermen out of their dinghy in shallow water and eat them. (Off camera because hey, the ’50s).
That established, The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues is an low-tide mess, from the first attack (and glimpse) of the “phantom” Fish Man (c’mon dude – I can see your flipper zipper), to the interwoven story arc that sucks right up until the “wake me up before you go go” yawn-inducing finale.
Here’s the low down on the down low: A man-sized fish creature (played by a woman, by the way) makes a fisherman dead in the water. The freshness-expired body washed up on the beach catches the attention of two government agents, one of whom tries to get a sample of a radioactive sea chunk. The monster does not like people taking his things and behaves accordingly, getting all attack-y and making bubbles come out of both ends.
More blah, blah, blah – the other agent blues clues it together with all signs pointing to local marine biologist Dr. King as having been the science behind the monster’s citizenship. With the feds closing in the doc heads for the dock, packing waterproof dynamite and for his fishing expedition. Too bad the fuse was so short.
Too much water and not enough slaughter. The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues throws mathematically incorrect shade on sea monsters the world over. And under.
P.S. The title still bugs me. So then there’s 1954’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea…