Plot: Far beneath the surface of the Atlantic, the Ocean Lab II is home to a group of scientists with a bold initiative. The purpose of their work is to find out if man could colonize on the ocean floor, no small task to research. The group is used to dealing with difficult circumstances, but a sizable earthquake pushes them to the brink. The quake is a big one and rattles the fault line to the point that the Ocean Lab II is uprooted, sent spiraling into a deep trench. While chances of recovery are low and a rescue attempt would be dangerous, a small team assembles to mount a rescue. Thanks to a state of the art vessel and a squad of dedicated searchers, the small chance of success seems like it might be enough. The group heads down into the trench and throws caution to the wind, exploring far beyond previous boundaries. Time is running out, but the crew pushes on and soon discovers an underwater world they never expected. Surrounded by dangers never thought possible, can the small rescue squad find the Ocean Lab II’s survivors or will they be claimed by the deep as well?
Entertainment Value: This movie is worth checking out just to see Ernest Borgnine play hide & seek with a giant fish. The Neptune Factor is one of those movies with a long build and a final act that brings the heat. Thankfully the story build never gets dull thanks to a cast of impressive talent. In addition to Borgnine we have Ben Gazzara, Walter Pidgeon, and in a vapid, vacant eyed performance, Yvette Mimieux. Mimieux is like either heavily sedated or just soulless here and I had a lot of fun watching her. The rest of the cast takes the material seriously and turns in fine work as well. Borgnine is always awesome and he holds up his end in The Neptune Factor quite well. The story is a basic rescue mission with some sci/fi and creature feature elements weaved in and while not remarkable writing, the cast elevates the script.
No nudity in this one or much blood either, thanks to an odd G rating. But what The Neptune Factor lacks in breasts and gore, it makes up for with production values and fun special effects. I loved the set designs on this movie, from the labs with all kinds of cool little visual touches to the inside of the underwater vessel. The inside of the ship has all kinds of switches, flashing lights, and other little details that really add to the environment. These details make things seem cutting edge, albeit in that special 70s way. The special effects are of course dated, but they’re well done for the time and are fun to watch. The giant fish and other sea creatures help provide a lively final act that give The Neptune Factor that warm drive-in texture. And like I said, just seeing Borgnine do battle with a giant fish is worth the admission price. Not much in terms of off the wall dialogue and aside from the sea creatures involved, not much insanity. But even so, The Neptune Factor is a fun watch and genre fans shouldn’t sleep on this one.
Overall Insanity: 1/10