Ape vs. Monster (2021)
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Ape vs. Monster is an American giant monster film produced by The Asylum. A mockbuster of Godzilla vs. Kong, with some resemblance to Rampage as well, it was released to theaters and on VOD on April 30, 2021.
|SPOILER WARNING: This section may contain major plot and/or ending details. Proceed at your own discretion.|
A space capsule nearly collides with the International Space Station. The station takes one picture of the object as it passes by, which it transmits to the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and reports possibly signs of life inside. The capsule deploys parachutes and lands in the New Mexico desert, where the creature inside soon breaks out. Dr. Linda Murphy of Langley calls an emergency Pentagon meeting in Washington, D.C. She identifies the capsule as the ELBE, a secret U.S.-Soviet deep space probe launched in 1985. The mission was brokered by future presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin in the hopes of making alien contact, a revelation which they thought would end the Cold War. However, with contact lost in 2007, it was deemed a failure. Ethan Marcos orders Murphy to retrieve the capsule before the Russians learn of its return and report on Abraham, the chimpanzee inside.
Murphy and General Reynolds lead two HMMWVs to the landing site. Reynolds and four soldiers approach the ELBE, which they find empty, its insides splattered with a strange green liquid. The chimpanzee, now grown to massive size, attacks them, killing Reynolds. Murphy rushes to their aid, but stumbles over his body and hits her head on a rock. As she loses consciousness, she watches a woman knock out the chimpanzee with a tranquilizer gun. When she revives, she learns that the woman is Eva Kuleshov, a paleontologist/astrophysicist and her former Oxford classmate, now working for the Russian government. With their superiors having agreed to continue the secret partnership between their countries, the two scientists bring Abraham to Langley to confirm that the green liquid, surely of alien origin, was responsible for his mutation. As they leave, a Gila monster laps up some of the substance left behind.
Abraham continues growing at Langley and breaks his restraints when he awakens. The military prepares to kill him, but Kuleshov holds them back at gunpoint while Murphy deploys the knockout gas. The standoff rattles the American-Russian partnership, with the loyalty of both scientists questioned. Marcos defends Murphy, noting that she grew up with Abraham. Kuleshov has a tense conversation with her superior, while Murphy leaves a stuffed animal in Abraham's hand. Meanwhile, the now-enormous Gila monster eats an MP guarding the ELBE site. Murphy investigates and finds his remains. Marcos orders her to follow the creature as it moves east. Back at the lab, Kuleshov's team discovers that the alien liquid is rapidly dying from exposure to Earth's atmosphere. As the samples taken from Abraham's blood are more stable, she decides to inject the rest of the liquid into him to better preserve it.
Murphy and her lab tech Jones find a bridge destroyed by the Gila monster and a train speeding towards the chasm. She tries to contact the train, but the creature's electromagnetic interference prevents her. The Gila monster intercepts the train, throwing the lead car at their Humvee, but they evade and begin pursuing the creature on foot. With their communications down, Kuleshov takes an Apache to look for them. She finds them at the same time as the creature, who crushes a soldier with them. The helicopter's weapons have little effect on it, but it retreats underground.
Abraham escapes from Langley, shredding the stuffed animal Murphy left. As she puzzles over his sudden growth, Kuleshov mentions a rumor that he has destroyed the Extraterrestrial Defense Initiative, a successor to the Strategic Defense Initiative. The Gila monster strikes again in Huntington, West Virginia, while Murphy, Kuleshov, and Jones travel to Washington. Marcos suggests they go to Murphy's father Noah, a key figure in ELBE, for answers. Having not spoken to him in a decade, she insists he doesn't need to be involved. The scientists note that Abraham has a lower concetration of the alien substance than the Gila monster, since he inhailed the material as it penetrated the capsule instead of ingesting it. General Delaney, Reynolds's successor, is determined to destroy the monsters immediately, ordering the scientists to track them down. Murphy mourns Abraham, who her distant father told her would beome the most important animal in history. With the Gila monster causing power outages in Huntington, she sees an opportunity to save him. The scientists find Abraham's blood in Huntington, where the alien cells within are dying. Murphy realizes Kuleshov's deception. Furious, she leaves her behind as a Special Forces team from Langley engages Abraham. He routs them and locks eyes with Murphy, but the fires started by a flamethrower cause him to flee. Kuleshov disappears with the Apache.
At Langley, Murphy discovers that beams of cosmic energy from the Andromeda galaxy, attuned to the alien substance, have been directing both monsters. At the Pentagon, the Hubble Space Telescope sends footage of an alien spacecraft approaching Earth, and Delaney suggests using the EDI to destroy it, despite Abraham smashing its operations center. Since the signals reaching Abraham are weaker, Murphy believes that he can resist the aliens' control to a degree. Marcos calls in Noah as an advisor, with Murphy giving him a chilly reception. Nonetheless, they agree to work together; Murphy believes their best chance is to disrupt the cosmic beams, and Noah suggests a bio-electric pulse. With both monsters and the ship converging on Washington, the transmitter for that pulse is mounted on the Washington Monument. As the attack on Abraham begins, father and daughter reconcile.
The Gila monster bursts out of the ground near the Capitol Building while the transmitter frees Abraham from the aliens' control. Delaney continues firing on him as he climbs the Washington Monument. A stray missile destroys the monument, crushing the general and the transmitter. With the military prepared to level the city to stop the monsters, Murphy and Jones race to retrieve a prototype transmitter at CityCenterDC, while Noah remains behind. Murphy manages to repair it, freeing Abraham, but the Gila remains a threat. It devours Jones, but Abraham intervenes to save Murphy. The Gila monster seizes the advantage with a bite to the neck. Kuleshov, disobeying orders from her superiors, asks for Murphy's forgiveness before flying the Apache into the Gila monster. Roaring in pain, it releases Abraham, who quickly snaps its neck. Taking the chimpanzee's benevolence on faith, Marcos orders the helicopters surrounding him to stand down. The alien ship withdraws.
In the aftermath, the U.S. government brings Abraham to a base outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, with Murphy in charge of studying him. Noah offers to help her, to which she agrees.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Daniel Lusko
- Written by George Michael Phillips
- Produced by David Michael Latt, Paul Bales
- Executive producer David Rimwai
- Music by Mikel Shane Prather
- Cinematography by Marcus Friedlander
- Edited by Cameron Ames
- Production design by Stacey Rich
- Assistant director Philip Seegar
- Visual effects supervisor Glenn Cambell
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Eric Roberts as National Security Advisor Ethan Marcos
- Arianna Scott as Dr. Linda Murphy
- Katie Sereika as Eva Kuleshov
- Shayne Hartigan as Lab Tech Jones / Blair
- Narek Kirakossian as Secretary Pudovkin
- Irina Pickard as Chem. Eisenstein
- Rudy Bentz as Noah Murphy
- Gregg Marcantel as General Reynolds
- R.J. Wagner as General Delaney
- Malcolm Green as Marine Myers
- Case Matthews as Captain Tsao
- Quinn Baker as Special Ops Shaw
- Buck Burns as MP McDaniels
- Sir Gregory Salonis as St. Peterson / Harker
Weapons, vehicles and races
- Main article: Ape vs. Monster/Gallery.
- The CGI model used for the mutated Gila monster is a stock 3D model titled "Dino Beast" which can be found on Turbosquid. It emits the MonsterVerse Godzilla's roar just after it bursts out of the ground in Washington, D.C.
- Eric Roberts also starred in The Asylum's first MonsterVerse mockbuster, Monster Island.
- All of the Russian characters are named after famous Soviet filmmakers: Lev Kuleshov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and Sergei Eisenstein.
- The train that the Gila monster attacks is a British Rail InterCity 125, despite film taking place in the United States of America.
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