The truth is down there–Ed Harris and David Duchovny enter the abyss in “Phantom”

Phantom movie banner

Advance marketing for the new Ed Harris and David Duchovny submarine movie Phantom used “Something is Down There” as the tagline for the film.  Sounds supernatural?  We think so, too.  If so, it’s about time we get David Duchovny back in full supernatural X-Files mode, and back on the big screen.  And Ed Harris isn’t a stranger to the supernatural or submarines, starring in the 1989 film The Abyss, and genre favorites The Truman Show, Apollo 13, The Right Stuff and the original Coma.  But they dropped the earlier tagline and are now using “You’ll Never See It Coming,” “Brace for Impact,” and “The Enemy is Within.”  Sounds like a supernatural thriller.

So what about the “Inspired by Actual Events” part?

Not much has been released about the actual events inspiration for the film.  Scenes in two trailers released seem to mirror scenes straight from one of the best submarine thrillers ever made–The Hunt for Red October, based on the novel by Tom Clancy featuring Sean Connery as a Russian sub captain and Alec Baldwin as the original Jack Ryan.  Red October was inspired by actual events–a failed mutiny aboard the Russian anti-submarine ship Storozhevoy by Valery Sablin in 1975.  Might that be the source for Phantom?  The current movie poster has “WWIII” down the center.  Maybe it’s another Philadelphia Experiment tie-in?

Phantom 2013 theatrical poster

Prolific genre action character actor William Fichtner (The Dark Knight, The Perfect Storm, Armageddon, Contact, Ultraviolet, Elysium and The Lone Ranger) and sci-fi legend Lance Henriksen (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Aliens, Alien³, The Right Stuff, The Terminator, Tron: Uprising, The Legend of Korra, The X-Files) also appear in Phantom, along with Sean Patrick Flanery (Dead Zone, Young Indiana Jones, Dexter) and Jason Gray-Stanford (Lt. Randy Disher from Monk).

So there’s a lot of reasons genre fans might want to check out Phantom.

The two trailers released also illustrate the difference between a ho-hum trailer and an enticing trailer.  Let’s start with the ho-hum:

I would have passed on this altogether when I watched this much longer version with better music placement and better editing:

Strangely enough the newer trailer is the first one above.  And interesting they aren’t trying to use any Russian accents.

If you want to get in the mood for the next submarine movie, you should track down the best submarine thriller ever made, The Bedford Incident, from 1965, starring Richard Widmark, Sydney Poitier, Martin Balsam, and James MacArthur.  Or classic World War II sub movies, like 1951’s Operation Pacific with John Wayne, Patricia Neal, and Ward Bond, 1951’s Submarine Command with William Holden, 1957’s The Enemy Below with Robert Mitchum, and 1958’s Run Silent, Run Deep with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.  Or of you just want some Naval realism you can always watch Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles.  If classics aren’t your thing, then there are lesser modern efforts, like 1995’s Crimson Tide with Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington or 2002’s K-19: The Widowmaker with Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson, both still decent action flicks.  Of course it’s always fun to see how they re-created Jules Verne’s original classic Nautilus in 2003’s steampunk The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Phantom opens in theaters March 1, 2013.

C.J. Bunce

Leave a Reply