Man, 1999 was a crazy year for Star Wars fans. Everyone was getting ready to see The Phantom Menace and the marketing and merchandising for it, and Star Wars in general, was being promoted like crazy. One day before the movie came out, a TV special aired that had to be the absolutely craziest thing I had seen in years. I was honestly caught off guard by how ridiculous this thing was, but I ended up laughing at it the entire time I watched it. I ended up buying it on DVD sometime after it came out, as well as a couple of the other short spoofs that came out several years ago, so let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle.
The plot: In outer space, a pair of Thumbellion ships are attacked by the evil Thumbpire. One of the ships is destroyed and the second one is captured and brought on board the Thumbpire ship, where soldiers breach the ship’s doors and begin attacking the Thumbellion soldiers inside. Two digits, Prissypeo and Beeboobeep, are trying to figure out a way to save themselves and decide to use Princess Bunhead as a bargaining chip. The tell her that they are escorting her to safety but secretly lead her towards Black Helmet Man and his soldiers, then quickly jump into a escape pod, after one of the soldiers reveals that they had led Bunhead to them, and launch themselves towards the planet’s surface below. When a soldier asks if they should follow after them, Black Helmet Man says no, as the freaky little hooded creatures will capture and sell them. He then turns to Bunhead and says that it is time for her to turn to the Nail Side of the Thumb but when she refuses, he says she will die and walks back to his ship, tripping over some debris as he does. On the planet’s surface, Prissypeo and Beeboobeep are captured by the freaky little hooded creatures and, after being dragged along behind their vehicle, are sold to Uncle Soondead. Inside their house, Loke Groundrunner is complaining to his Uncle Soondead and his Aunt Gonnabiteit about not feeling needed and Soondie tries to console him by saying that he needs him for the harvest but Loke just whines some more about how they don’t understand him and runs out of the house. Outside, Loke is crying as he stares at the sunset when he is approached by the man with the silliest name in the galaxy; Oobedoob Scoobi-Doobi Benubi. Benubi calls out Loke for being a cry baby and when Loke asks what he wants, Benubi says he is there to collect his digits and has Loke follow him back to his place. Inside, Benubi smacks Beeboobeep on the head a few times until he starts playing a video recording of Bunhead, who was picking her nose because she didn’t realize the recording was on. Bunhead then tells Benubi that the Thumbpire has built a big, dangerous weapon thing and she needs his help, but Benubi and Loke are busy looking up the hologram’s dress. Loke says that he would like to help but Soondead and Gonnabiteit need him and when Benubi calls attention to their names, Loke quickly rushes home only to find that they have been “clipped”. Loke says he will join Benubi to fight the Thumbpire and Benubi, after mocking Loke for joining after everyone he knows has died, tells Loke to touch his tongue to his (Benubi’s) to make it official but when Loke balks at it, he says to just come one. They head to a nearby settlement and meet up with Hand Duet and his copilot Crunchy, who is trying to keep a low profile as he owes Gabba the Butt a lot of money. Hand says he only accepts girly giggles and, seeing some Thumbpire troops approaching, Loke and Benubi quickly start giggling and Hand says that’s enough for the the advance and leads him to his ship, Hand’s Hand. As the Thumpire soldiers begin shooting at them, they quickly board it and take off. Above the planet Daldar, Black Helmet Man threatens to blow it up unless Bunhead tells him where the Thumbellion base is located and she reluctantly does so but Black Helmet Man still orders an attack on the planet, telling his men to make it spin. Inside the Hand’s Hand, Benubi feels the people of Daldar all getting nauseous from the spinning just as they are captured by the Thumbpire’s giant space station. Inside, they are confronted by Black Helmet Man and he and Benubi begin fighting with thumbsabers (which emerge from the top of their heads). As they fight, Black Helmet Man asks if Benubi is still easily tricked, and when Benubi says no, Black Helmet Man yells out “Touchdown.” Benubi throws up his hand and Black Helmet Man quickly slashes him with his thumbsaber. Loke and the others all scream out at the death but Loke hears Benubi’s spirit telling him to run and they do, joined by Bunhead, who escaped somehow. They quickly get onto Hand’s Hand and leave, hiding out in an asteroid until the heat dies down. Inside the asteroid, Loke feels a presence calling out to him and meets a Puppet, who offer to teach him the ways of the Thumb, asking Loke to touch his tongue to his in order to start the training. On board the Hand’s Hand, Loke starts training and the others all laugh at how awful he is doing but when Loke asks if he is a master now, the Puppet laughingly agrees. Heading to the Thumbellion base, they learn that the space station has a built in self destruct button, which is at the end of a corridor on the space station. Loke leads a group of fighters to take on the station but are attacked by the Thumbpire’s Fist Fighters. With the Thumbellion fighters being destroyed, Loke makes a run at the button and ends up being confronted by Black Helmet Man. The two engage in a thumbsaber battle on top of Loke’s fighter and Black Helmet Man reveals that he is Loke’s mother, revealing a pink dress underneath his cape but before he can attack, Hand’s Hand flies by and knocks Black Helmet Man off of Loke’s ship. Loke then says that he will trust his feelings to destroy the space station but he hears Benubi’s voice saying to use the instruments, as they are designed to hit small targets like the button. Loke uses the system to destroy the space station and they return to the Thumbellion base, where they hold a chili cook-off to celebrate their victory.
This is such a ridiculous spoof that you can’t help but find yourself laughing at it. The voice acting was great and I liked the way they imposed the actors faces onto the thumbs. The story was a great spoofing of Star Wars, mixing a little bit of Empire Strikes Back into it as well. One of my favorite parts was the introduction of Hand Duet, whose opening monologue was a a nonstop name drop of several Harrison Ford Films, while Gabba the Butt referred to him as Indiana Ford. The visual effects were pretty funny, doing their best to make everything possible finger/thumb/hand shapped. I thought the “fist-fighter’s” design of just being a fist holding a dumbbell was pretty ingenious. Definitely something that Star Wars fans will want to own just for the laughs out of it, while it is good for laughs even if you don’t like those movies.
Rating: 4 out of 5