Them! launched what would be Hollywood’s version of the Godzilla movie, expressing our atomic-age fears via giant bugs and insects instead of rubber lizards. This particular sub-genre has been largely forgotten by our collective movie memory, but Them! remains as an example of 1950s sci-fi done with a style and self-confident maturity that the category often lacks.
Think of this movie like a long, slightly boring lecture in history class, only with explosions. This attempt to do for the attack on Pearl Harbor what The Longest Day did for the D-Day invasion of Normandy succeeds on so many technical levels that it’s a shame that it fails to engage the audience emotionally in its subject matter.
\However, while it was initially a failure at the box office, I wonder if the film ultimately managed to recoup its budget through royalties from licensing pieces of the film as stock footage. It’s hard to find a movie about World War II in the Pacific over the next twenty or thirty years that doesn’t reuse at least a few shots from Tora! Tora! Tora!