comedy, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 11th, 2014 Movie – Bat Thumb

bat thumb

If there is one thing to be said about today’s movie, the creator had his thumbs all over it. I know, it’s a bad joke but it is true with this movie. Yes, the success of Thumb Wars brought about several other thumb infused parodies. Today’s movie is one that somehow ended up in my house and in my collection over the years. I’m not going to complain too much as a short comedy and some laughs, even if it is over how stupid something is, is always good for the soul. So let’s have a few laughs with today’s movie, Bat Thumb.

The plot: In Gaaathumb City, two crooks mug a tourist and escape down an alley but as they are splitting up the loot, they are confronted by Bat-Thumb. The crooks try attacking him with a board but when he breaks it, they make a run for it. Bat-Thumb captures them both and tries to get them to deliver a message to the rest of the criminals in Gaaathumb but the crooks aren’t exactly sure what he is trying to say. Later that night, Wuce Bane is hosting a party at his mansion when he meets Vicky Nail and after talking for a bit, the two proceed to make out. The next day, the Gaaathumb bank is robbed by No-Face and his gang. The bank manager calls the Commissioner and Police Chief, who contact Bat-Thumb. At Wayne Manor, Wuce is lying in bed with Vicky when the Thumbphone rings, and he tries to answer it without revealing his secret identity to Vicky. Wuce heads to the Batburrow to change and quickly heads over to the bank to meet with Commissioner and Police Chief. After they discuss who robbed the bank, Bat-Thumb prepares to head to No-Face’s old lair when he is approached by a young man claiming to be his sidekick Blue Jay. As Commissioner and Police Chief laugh and mock Bat-Thumb for his sidekick, Bat-Thumb tries to get rid of the kid and then heads off to No-Face’s lair. When Bat-Thumb arrives, he sees Blue Jay approaching and tries again to get rid of him but when Blue Jay starts crying, he reluctantly agrees to let him help. The two make their way inside and confront No-Face and his gang, who mock Blue Jay’s costume, but as Bat-Thumb deals with No-Face’s men, and Blue Jay consistently runs from them, No-Face catches them in a net. Strapping them to tables, No-Face explains his plan to use a special gas to erase the faces from everyone in Gaaathumb. No-Face leaves, leaving Bat-Thumb and Blue Jap in a trap that will erase their faces but Bat-Thumb is able to get free and save Blue Jay, then they head out to save Gaaathumb. In the city, No-Face has captured Vicky and begins using a gas to erase the face from everyone in Gaaathumb but Bat-Thumb and Blue Jay arrive and Bat-Thumb uses a giant fan to blow the gas away. No-Face is captured and as Vicky thanks Bat-Thumb for saving her, the people that were effected by the gas ask what will happen to them and Bat-Thumb says that they will stay that way forever. As Vicky, Commissioner, and Police Chief thank Bat-Thumb, Blue Jay shows up and they start laughing at him, though Bat-Thumb says that he will take him on as his sidekick, but they need to do something about his costume.

This is so stupidly funny that you can’t help but laugh at it. The voice acting was pretty good, though I have to admit it is still a little odd seeing people’s faces on thumbs. The story was kind of a mixture of the Tim Burton Batman movies and the old Adam West show, which is honestly a pretty weird mixture. The background settings were decent while the green screen effects for putting the faces were ok but I keep wishing it was done a little better. It is some stupid comedy that can give you a couple of laughs but isn’t worth hunting down to watch.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

February 19th, 2018 Movie – Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle

thumb wars

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

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adventure, comedy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 21st, 2017 Movie – Spaceballs

spaceballs

There is no better way to start a Saturday than with some laughs. Ok, there might be one or two better ways but starting with a laugh does make the rest of the day seem better. Now this right here happens to be one of, if not my absolute favorite, Mel Brooks movie. I think part of that is because it was the first one of his movies I ever saw in theaters. The other part is the subject that it parodies, Star Wars. Either way, it took quite a while before I ended up buying this movie on DVD. Not entirely sure why but I did decide to rectify that decision as soon as I could. So let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Spaceballs.

The plot: The evil Spaceballs have squandered all of the clean air on their planet and come up with a plan to steal all of the air from the nearby planet Druidia. Dark Helmet, on board the massive starship Spaceball One, arrives at Druidia with the intention of kidnapping the Princess Vespa when she leaves for her honeymoon and ransoming her for the combination to Druidia’s air shield. On Druidia, Vespa doesn’t want to marry Prince Valium but King Roland says she has too; as he is the last prince and she must marry someone of noble blood. After walking down the aisle, Vespa races past the altar and heads to her car and leaves Druidia, taking Dot Matrix, her droid-of-honor, with her. On planet Spaceball, President Skroob denies reports about that planet’s limited air supply when he gets word that Helmet has spotted Princess Vespa. Skroob heads to the control room, choosing to walk after a transporter accident put his head on backwards, and after seeing Vespa’s position on the radar, orders Helmet to continue with the plan. Spaceball One begins firing on Vespa’s Mercedes and Vespa calls her father for help, while Helmet chastises the gunner and learns that he is surrounded by assholes. Roland contacts a mercenary called Lone Starr and his sidekick Barf, a Mog (half-man, half-dog), and begs them to save Vespa, offering them anything. Lone Starr asks for $1 million space bucks, which he needs to payback the notorious gangster Pizza the Hutt, and Roland agrees. Lone Starr and Barf locate Vespa, who has been caught in Spaceball One’s magna-beam, and they jam Spaceball One’s radar so they can approach the Mercedes undetected. Barf then climbs down a ladder to get Vespa and Dot but Vespa refuses to leave her matched luggage and so Barf is forced to carry it onto their Winnebago and they fly off just as the Mercedes is brought aboard Spaceball One. In the hangar, Helmet approaches the Mercedes only to find it empty and when the radar technician says the radar is repaired and they picked up a Winnebago, Helmet realizes that Lone Starr had saved her. The Spaceballs give chase and when Lone Starr tries to get away by going to light speed, Helmet orders Colonel Sandurz to go to “ludicrous speed”, which causes them to overshoot Lone Starr and when Sandurz pulls the emergency brake, Helmet goes flying into a control panel. Meanwhile, Lone Starr and Barf drop their Winnebago out of light speed only to find that the used up all of their fuel and are forced to crash onto the desert moon of Vega. Lone Starr and Vespa, who had been arguing over the intercom during their escape, finally come face to face and, after a brief hesitation, begin arguing again until Barf reminds them that Helmet will be coming back to look for them. Lone Starr says they should take only what they need to survive but Vespa insists they take all of her luggage. As Lone Starr and Barf carry the bulk of her bags, they stop and open up the giant trunk they are carrying to find a giant hair dryer inside and after arguing with Vespa about it, leaves it in the sand, as he and Barf pick up the now lighter trunk and continue carrying it. Back on Spaceball One, Dark Helmet and Sandurz can’t find any sign of Lone Starr or the others on their scanners so Sandurz tells a crew member to get a copy of Spaceballs. Helmet voices his confusion to Sandurz, as they are in the middle of filming it, but Sanderz tells him it is the latest in home video marketing. They watch the tape fast forwarding through everything that has already happened and, after a confusing moment where they are watching what is being filmed right that second, they soon find out where Lone Starr and Vespa are. On Vega, the group is camping for the night and Lone Starr and Vespa are talking about why Vespa ran from her wedding and the mystery surrounding Lone Starr’s parents, as his only clue is the medallion around his neck. As they get closer, the two are about to kiss when Dot Matrix’s “Virgin Alarm” goes off and she quickly breaks them apart. The next day, the group continues moving through the desert and end up passing out from dehydration (or lack of oil in Dot’s case) but they are rescued by the Dinks, a race of hooded desert dwellers, and taken to their home, the Temple of Yogurt, the Everlasting Know-It-All. Yogurt explains that he is the guardian of the Schwartz, while he and the Dinks sell Spacsballs merchandise from his temple. Later, Yogurt takes a look at Lone Starr’s medallion and is able to read the inscription but tells Lone Starr he can’t reveal what it says until the proper time. He then trains Lone Starr in using the Schwartz, having him lift up the giant statue, which Lone Starr succeeds in doing but then accidentally drops it on Barf’s foot. Outside, Helmet and Sandurz have their men combing the desert, literally, when Helmet senses the presence of the Schwartz. Sandurz locates the temple doorway and Helmet is upset to see the sign of Yogurt on the door, telling Sandurz that Yogurt has the upside of the Schwartz while he has the down side. Unable to go inside, Helmet disguises himself as King Roland and calls out to Vespa. Vespa runs out to her father only to find that it is really Helmet and both Vespa and Dot are captured. Yogurt gives Lone Starr some gas so he and Barf can go after them and as they say goodbye, he gives Lone Starr the Ring of the Schwartz and a fortune cookie, telling him to open it before he eats it. Meanwhile, Helmet takes Vespa to Spaceball City, where he contacts King Roland and threatens to have plastic surgery performed on Vespa to give her back her old nose unless Roland gives them the combination to the air shield. When Vespa faints, Roland agrees to give them the combination and once he does, Helmet comments on how “1,2,3,4,5” is the combination an idiot would use for his luggage. Skroob shows up and after hearing the combination, which he says is the same as his luggage, he orders Spaceball One prepped to leave and tells them to change the combination on his luggage. Lone Starr and Barf arrive at Spaceball City and knock out some guards so they can steal their uniforms and sneak inside. Once inside, they locate the Vespa and Dot but run into some more guards and are forced to fight their way out. As they run for it, the Spaceballs believe they have them captured but ended up capturing their stunt doubles instead. Outside, the group heads for the Winnebago only to have one of the Spaceballs fuse the lock with an errant blast. Lone Starr gives Vespa the gun while he works with Barf on getting the door open and Vespa quickly shoots the remaining guards after they singe her hair with a laser blast. They head to Druidia to find that Spaceball One has transformed into a giant robot maid and is using a vacuum cleaner to suck up all the air from Druidia. Lone Starr uses the Schwartz to flip the vacuum’s switch to reverse the air flow, restoring the air to Druidia, then flies inside the robot’s head to search for a self destruct button. After locating it, he heads outside to activate it, knocking out the guards along the way, but before he can press the button, he is confronted by Helmet. The two use their Schwartz rings to fashion lightsabers and begin fighting, with Helmet killing a cameraman and the two of them getting their Schwartz’s twisted, Helmet manages to trick Lone Starr and steal the ring then throw it down the drain. As Lone Starr dodges the blasts from Helmet’s ring, he is contacted telepathically by Yogurt, who tells him the ring was a fake and the Schwartz is within him. Lone Starr uses the Schwartz to grab a  mirror and uses it to reflect Helmet’s blast into Helmet’s groin, causing him to stumble back in pain and accidentally press the self destruct button. As the self destruct countsdown, Lone Starr races back to the Winnebago and they race out of there just before it explodes, while Helmet, Skroob, and Sandurz end up trapped on the robot after everyone else uses all of the escape pods and they are blasted into space inside the head. The group cheers over the robot’s destruction and head down towards Druidia and as they are landing, Lone Starr and Barf see a news report that Pizza the Hutt is dead and Barf gets excited at the thought of keeping all of the money. Landing at the palace, Roland is happy to see his daughter back and shows her that Valium is there waiting for her as well, which upsets Lone Starr and he quickly leaves with Barf. The two head to a Space fueling station and as they refuel, head into the diner to get some food but when a xenomorph bursts out of the chest of a nearby space traveler, then starts singing “Hello, My Baby” (ala Michigan J. Frog), they quickly leave. Barf complains about being hungry so Lone Starr gives him the fortune cookie Yogurt gave him but when Barf opens it, the image of Yogurt appears. Yogurt tells Lone Starr that the medallion is a royal birth certificate, making him a prince, then tells him to use the special fuel in the glove compartment in order to make it back to Druidia in time to stop Vespa from marrying Valium. Meanwhile, Vespa is upset that Lone Starr took the money and left but when Roland tells her he only took $248 dollars for “lunch, gas, and tolls”, she realizes that Lone Starr loved her. Just as the minister asks her if she takes Valium as her husband, Lone Starr and Barf appears and when she learns that Lone Starr is a prince, she shoves Valium aside and agrees to marry Lone Starr. The two are wed and fly off in the Winnebago while on a distant planet, the robot maid’s head and arm land on a remote beach, where two Chimpanzees from the Planet Of The Apes witness the three Spaceballs climbing out of her nose and one of them remarks, “Oh, shit. There goes the planet.”

Spaceballs met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, several critics enjoyed the movie but felt it was a far cry from some of Brook’s earlier works. Mel Brooks got George Lucas’ permission to parody any and all things Star Wars related on the condition that no merchandise be produced for the movie. George Lucas did love the script and had his special effects company, Industrial Light and Magic, help with making the film, had the Millennium Falcon appear in a cameo at the diner, and also allowed Brooks to use an unused escape pod clip from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $38.1 million off of a $22.7 million budget but received even more success when it hit home video, becoming one of Mel Brooks most popular movies.

This is such a funny, and quotable, movie to watch. The acting was really good, with Rick Moranis (Helmet), Bill Pullman (Lone Starr), John Candy (Barf), and Mel Brooks (Skroob/Yogurt) all doing great jobs in their roles. The story was well written and did a good job of parodying Star Wars, while also ripping briefly on Star Trek, Transformers, and Planet Of The Apes as well. I have to admit that, after learning about the deal Brooks and Lucas made about no merchandising from the film being produced, it makes that whole merchandising scene with Yogurt that much funnier (side note, I loved how the “Spaceballs coloring book and lunch box” were actually a Transformers coloring book and lunch box with a Spaceballs sticker slapped on them (also, I totally had that Transformers lunch box as a kid)). I will admit, some of the comedic timing and pacing didn’t seem as good as his previous movies but there were still a lot of laughs to be had, with the pairing of Candy and Pullman, as well as Moranis with George Wyner (Sandurz) and Brooks (Skroob) making for most of the laughs involved. A really funny movie that has me geared up for some movies coming down the road.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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