Jaws: The Revenge Recap

Jamie

Jaws is back, Jack! And ready for a little revenge. When another shark related tragedy hits her family, Ellen Brody goes a little crazy thinking that she is the target of a vast shark conspiracy. Escaping to The Bahamas she is shocked to find the giant shark there waiting for her. Can she stop this voodoo shark conspiracy before it’s too late? Find out in… Jaws: The Revenge.

How?! Ellen Brody is still living it up on Amity Island. Her husband Martin has passed from a heart attack and her son Michael is off getting a PhD. But Sean is still there living a peaceful life as a police officer. Just a quiet life on the island during Christmas… PSYCH!! He is fucking eaten by a shark!!!! Ellen is now convinced that these sharks are out to get her. First Martin (who I guess had a heart attack obsessing over the shark?) and now Sean. All the evidence we need. Realizing his mom is going a little nuts Michael has her come spend the holidays in the Bahamas with his family. When they get down there she meets an older gentleman Hoagie and they start a romance. They have a nice peaceful Christmas in the Caribbean and not much goes on… PSYCH!!! A fucking shark shows up!!!! The shark is following them!!!! It eats a bunch of people and the Brody’s are all freaked out because this shark is totally voodoo conspiracy after them!!!! In a last ditch effort to rid the world of these giant sharks, Michael and his mom go out on a sailboat, shoot the shark with a electrode thing, and shock the shit out of it until it explodes/gets impaled by the ship. Finally they are happy because they don’t have to worry about any more sharks… or do they? (they don’t because this killed the series). THE END.

Why?! Ha, well the shark is apparently motivated by revenge. It’s actually a little confusing whether you are supposed to come to agree with that assessment. Sure this one family keeps on getting attacked by sharks but there is no actual explanation for why this family of sharks would follow them all over the world. It’s nonsense. The actual explanation is fleshed out in the novelization where a voodoo woman with a vendetta against the Brody’s curses them to forever be hunted by these sharks… which is straight Halloween Parts 4-6 Curse of Thorn bullshit. Also it makes these sharks more or less the evil pawn of a much more evil voodoo lady who never gets a comeuppance. Which is actually kind of sad for both the Brody’s and the shark.

What?! They were probably two movies away from having Ellen Brody stab the shark with The Knife of Power while reciting verses from the Necronomicon. In this film they just used the power of Miller Lite to drain their worries about a voodoo-powered shark out for revenge.

Who?! We get a bunch of fantastic special thanks in this. There are a couple Bahamas related people and Dr. John McCosker, an ichthyologist who obviously advised the production. But most notable was this Special Thanks:

Jaws credits

Thank you very much Selectmen of Edgartown, indeed.

Where?! We open on Amity Island a.k.a. Edgartown, MA, but quickly transition to The Bahamas. I like the choice if only for how weird and random it is and the Caribbean is used to good effect. A-.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! This takes place right at Christmas time. Why? No idea. I guess because they had to film in the winter and so they figured ‘Why not?’ Perhaps it’s a metaphor for the resurrection of the shark who died for our sins… three times. Anyway, very specific and factors into the plot, but not in a particularly important way. A-.

Let’s get one thing straight: this movie is incredibly stupid. Like extra dumb and not surprisingly I think people came to believe that the series could no longer continue without getting dumber. This is probably correct. Jaws 5: It’s Back! would not have been good. However, given our expectation for the film I think it’s surprisingly coherent. I kinda liked the Michael Caine scenes and some of the family stuff (even though it all seemed totally misplaced in the film) and you could kinda go along for the ride without much issue. But again: extra dumb dumb stupid. As for Birdemic: Shock and Terror I had actually already seen it. It was the film that made me officially decide that these were not the films we wanted to be doing for BMT. I remember watching it and finding it mostly excruciating and frustrating to watch. This viewing didn’t necessarily change that assessment. I will say that I’ve come to appreciate these incredibly low budget bad films because they often are the creation of quirky singular viewpoints. So you get a glimpse into someone’s mind. Like in Birdmic you clearly see that the creator’s background in software sales and passion for climate change is a big part of his life and thought process (and thus the crazy film he made). And that’s interesting… to a point. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jaws is back jack and with a voodoo twist (presumably, I’m just guessing) … that’s right, Jaws, a shark, is now consciously hunting the Brody clan. And in no way is that ridiculous. Let’s go!

The Good – Far more entertaining than you would think for a film that is purportedly one of the worst films ever made … or at least one of the worst sequels. Lorraine Gary is a delight. Caine is just hilarious in how much he doesn’t give a shit. Nice underwater … I’m going to call them vistas, sue me. The conch tagging scenes were beautiful.

P’s View on the Preview – This film is considered to be one of the worst sequels ever made. The reviews suggest it just looks like garbage and makes no sense. Going in I was certainly the most interested in the revenge story though. Is Jaws actually taking revenge? Do they try and explain it? If they don’t they why do they think Jaws is seeking revenge? Do they acknowledge the fact that in the three (fine, two canonical) films the shark always dies? So many questions and so little expectation!

The Bad – NONE OF MY QUESTIONS WERE ANSWERED. I really wished they had gone completely Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers on us, but alas, they do something even worse: they just kind of allude to shark vengeance and offer no explanation. Add to that the shark looking like crap, most of the actors being not great, and the writing being a mess and you can see why the film is reviled. And yet I kept coming back to the Leonard Maltin review … something about this film is very watchable.

You Just Got Schooled – I’m going to do a two-fer youtube video here. First, witness the original uncut ending of Jaws: The Revenge! Two major things changed between the original theatrical ending and the European (and subsequent home video) released. First, Jaws is merely killed by Ellen slamming a boat into it (wizzeak). Second, and you can’t notice it in the video, but Jake (Mario Van Peebles) dies in this version. The shark … looks atrocious. Which brings me to: A recent video in which the VFX is tastefully redone! I actually think it looks quite good. Good enough at least that you might not have cared that it was spitting in the eye of the original. I’m actually quite liking this entry to my recaps and I think I’ll continue to find “homework” to recap each week.

The BMT – I think I’ll remember this film for it giving me an epiphany: creature features are eminently watchable. Combine some sort of animal attacking people with a halfway decent directorial effort and there is almost nothing you can do to make me think the film isn’t at least watchable. Jaws: The Revenge? Why not? Anaconda? YUP. Bats? Fine, there is a limit, that movie is pretty rough. I guess the point is that Jaws remains the primary creature feature franchise, even years after it died, and that’s saying something.

Welcome to Earf – Michael Caine is in this and Get Carter (2000) with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – As mentioned above, this is legitimated considered on the worst sequels ever made. People happily mention it in 1987 worst of lists, where it takes a nice place next to Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (another crazy number four in a series). It was also so bad it was at one point added to the worst films wiki (although it was removed). This was a must see eventually considering its Razzie cred alone, but it is very famous for being a terrible sequel. Only took us about 450 films to get to it.

Bring a Friend – This week we watched Birdemic: Shock and Terror for the Bring a Friend cycle as another creature feature. Fun fact: the movie was filmed in Half Moon Bay just south of San Francisco where I just so happened to have gone for a wedding two months ago! Like legit … I saw the double decker bus and passed by the cafe in the beginning of the film. As for the film: the birds look so ridiculous you can’t help but be delighted by them. Sure the movie is mostly boring, kind of gross, and weirdly obsessed about global warming (to no satisfying conclusion), but the birds themselves are kind of enough to sustain 60% of the film. If Teen Witch is a solid A, and A Talking Cat?! is a C-, this is somewhere in between. I’m going to give it a B- I think. It isn’t nearly entertaining enough to sustain the runtime, but I understand the allure of the film are far as entertainingly bad films. I could maybe be convinced to watch the film again with a bunch of people.

Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!

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Jaws: The Revenge Quiz

After your husband and son were attack and killed by a quiz you realized “wait on second, maybe the quiz is hunting us!” That is right before they locked you up in an asylum. But what if you were right? … You aren’t, but what if you were? You still aren’t.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot

1) In the beginning of the film Ellen Brody lives on Martha’s Viney- … er, Amity Island with her youngest son soon after Martin Brody passed away. How did Martin Brody die?

2) After her son dies she heads off to live with her son Michael in The Bahamas. What does Michael do for a living? What does his lovely wife do for a living?

3) Once down in the Caribbean Ellen starts to hit it off with Hoagie, the lovable pilot who bums around town. What two concerns does Michael have about Hoagie though?

4) Michael and his bestie Jake (Mario Van Peebles) get a glimpse of Jaws and decide to track him. But why do they do that instead of immediately warning everyone?

5) How do they defeat the dastardly Jaws?

Answers

Jaws: The Revenge Preview

Jamie is spirited away by Vampiro to the nearest Viking settlement, all the while grumbling about the threat of the little old librarian. “You must forgive me,” he implores, “I never thought this day would come.” Upon arriving at the settlement Vampiro whispers in the ear of their leader Vikling. Vikling stares in astonishment and beating his spear against his shield summons the warriors of his clan to kneel. “He has come, the destined warrior. He shall defeat Vlurg, the Viking scourge of Vikling.” Jamie is led with knees a-quaking down to a seaside cave which serves as the home of Vlurg. Tiptoeing in he comes face-to-face with the most terrible creature he has ever witnessed. It’s got horrific teeth and a full six-pack. Its nicely muscled legs are well proportioned to its bulging biceps. It is like a giant, horrific looking Dwayne Johnson. Just a true specimen of a monster. It smiles sickly and takes a step forward but catches its toe on a rock and trips. In a crazy freak accident it falls and snaps it neck, instantaneously killing it. Dragging the corpse from the cave Jamie is cheered. “You have defeated Vlurg! Now we can use Vlurg as bait for the monstrous Frang. For it is your destiny to defeat Frang for Vikling. You don’t even want to know what Frang is… I’ll give you a hint: It’s a giant shark.” Jamie can only sigh sadly. That’s right! We’re finally finishing the Jaws franchise with Jaws: The Revenge. Apparently it’s now the case that the shark is stalking the Brody family and follows them down to the Caribbean to kill once again. This is the worst plot imaginable and yet the most ludicrous parts of the novelization (the shark was cursed by a Voodoo woman with a grudge against the Brody’s!) didn’t even make it into the film. Let’s go!

A stunned Patrick stares at Stick and Stones, his mouth agape. “What is the Z-Movie Multiverse?” Sticks and Stones visibly relax, their corruption seeming to be glossed over by a much more interesting question. “Gosh dern it. Well, you see, the world you come from is one universe among many. The one your buddies Rich and Poe come from is the Bad Movie Multiverse. That’s where the Obsidian Dongle came from originally, and it connects all of the bad movies that ever were and ever will be. This? This is a slightly … less polished universe, the Z-Movie Multiverse. Where all of the borderline unwatchable garbage comes from. Something happened to send you here, and we’re here to help send you back. You don’t belong here. Get it?” Patrick stares blankly at Sticks and Stones. “Wait … Rich and Poe are real?!” “Enough talking,” Sticks says gruffly and grabs Patrick and throws him through the next door onto a beautiful beach set. “Just watch for the birds.” Patrick looks around at the weird hovering CGI birds, unmoving and non-threatening. “This place is so weird.” He says, knocking one of the birds down easily and wandering down the beach after Sticks and Stones. That’s right! We are also watching Birdemic: Shock and Terror. One of the worst films ever made, this not-really-a-film has become a cult classic alongside Troll 2 and The Room among bad movie aficionados. Let’s go!

Jaws: The Revenge (1987) – BMeTric: 88.6

JawsTheRevenge_BMeT

JawsTheRevenge_RV

(Below 3.0 is absolutely crazy. Not that surprising that the rating is going up with the votes … except usually with truly worst-films-ever type deals people are literally seeking out the film to try and see a terrible film, so sometimes it stays really low. So maybe it doesn’t really quite fit into that category.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Watchable but mediocre retread of Jaws, the fourth time around, with Gary as the widow of sheriff Scheider (from the original film) who’s convinced the great white shark is deliberately seeking out and killing off members of her family. Marginal movie sunk by stupid, abrupt finale; Caine wasted in frivolous supporting role.

(Watchable … is an interesting word to use here. Everywhere else I’ve heard it is literally so dumb it is unwatchable. I’m also surprised this isn’t a BOMB. This is one of the worst reviewed films of all time, so it does seem like Leonard is going a bit light here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnYzwUkm-PY

(This is a real television spot. There is also a crazy “trailer” on youtube, but the music choice (Blondie’s One Way Or Another) suggests that it is probably fake. So I’ll stick with this one. It is … fine. The conceit of Jaws hunting this one family down is ludicrous though since “Jaws” is killed at the end of each and every one of these films. One more and they might have gone full Halloween and made some story about a cult creating a super-Jaws to attack the family which would have been amazing.)

Directors – Joseph Sargent – (Known For: White Lightning; The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Colossus: The Forbin Project; MacArthur; Future BMT: Nightmares; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Jaws: The Revenge in 1988; Notes: Directed of the more famous original Star Trek shows (The Corbomite Maneuver). Was directing from the 1950s, with this being his last non-TV movie of his career.)

Writers – Peter Benchley (characters & novel) (uncredited) – (Known For: Jaws; Jaws 2; The Island; Future BMT: The Deep; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Jaws 3-D; Notes: Was a speechwriter for Lyndon Johnson, he wrote the novel Jaws that the entire series is based on.)

Michael De Guzman (written by) (as Michael de Guzman) – (BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Jaws: The Revenge in 1988; Notes: Was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the TV movie Caroline? (Also directed by Sargent). This was his only non-TV movie of his career.)

Actors – Lorraine Gary – (Known For: Jaws; Jaws 2; Car Wash; Future BMT: 1941; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Jaws: The Revenge in 1988; Notes: Has been married for 62 years! Her and Sidney Sheinberg got married when they were 19 and 22 respectively. She declined a spot in acting school to study political science at Columbia. This was her last film, she had retired in 1979, but came out of retirement to reprise her classic role in Jaws.)

Lance Guest – (Known For: The Last Starfighter; Late Phases; Future BMT: Halloween II; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Notes: Has done a lot of theater, including a somewhat notable role as Johnny Cash most recently that he has seen some acclaim for.)

Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: New Jack City; Ali; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; The Hebrew Hammer; Stag; Future BMT: Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Solo; Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Notes: Son of Melvin Van Peebles, who is widely credited for helping to create the Blaxploitation genre. Has a B.A. in Economics.)

Budget/Gross – $23 million / Domestic: $20,763,013 (Worldwide: $51,881,013)

(Like … not bad. But at that point Jaws had become a punchline. It ended up (somewhat oddly) representing the 80s trope of running series into the ground. This is despite the fact that the horror series like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street did that way better than Jaws ever could. And yet it was Jaws that was made fun of in Back to The Future Part II.)

#26 for the Christmas – Setting Only genre

jaws4_christmassetting

(From the (very incomplete) list, we’ve only seen Getaway. It is interesting that they seem to have been a major thing in the 80s and early 90s, but their ability to pull in the big bucks seems to have waned over the years.)

#51 for the Creature Feature genre

jaws4_creaturefeature

(Literally just watched two of these in the Anaconda Series. The Predator is coming out this week, so it seems somewhat likely we could go back-to-back as well. I couldn’t say why it waxes and wanes … maybe it takes a bit to reload and look around for the new tech needed to really kick start the genre every couple of years.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/34): Illogical, tension-free, and filled with cut-rate special effects, Jaws 4 – The Revenge is a sorry chapter in a once-proud franchise.

(Was it a once proud franchise? When? After the second and before the third when they explicitly sold out to become a giant advertisement for Seaworld? Reviewer Highlight: The shark models have so little movement that at times they seem to be supporting themselves on boats, instead of attacking them. Up until the ludicrous final sequence of the movie, the scariest creature in the film is an eel. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Watch Out! I’m a Big Ol’ Shark and Imma Gonna Get’cha! (A-)

jaws_the_revenge_ver2

(OK… I love this poster. I would put this up on my wall. Both because it’s fun and it’s also funny because you’re not sure whether the shark or the person is out for revenge… the idea that the person is out for revenge is already hilarious. But the idea that the shark is out for revenge is even funnier.)

Tagline(s) – This time… It’s personal. (FFFFFFFFFFuck)

(That is crazy. It’s straight up a joke. Like someone got tired, suggested it as a joke, and then had it taken seriously.)

Keyword(s) – 1980s; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.6 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 86.5 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003); 86.0 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 85.5 Jaws 3-D (1983); 82.3 Glitter (2001); 81.1 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 76.2 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989); 74.7 Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988); 73.2 Howard: A New Breed of Hero (1986); 72.3 Caddyshack II (1988);

(Kind of a funny mix of films that are set in the 80s and films that were actually just … made in the 80s. We are actually definitely going to finish this list … and I don’t even think it’ll take that long. I have absolutely no idea why Sex and the City 2 would have this keyword attached.)

Notes – This is one of British screen legend Michael Caine’s notorious “paycheck pictures”, along with The Swarm (1978), Ashanti (1979), Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), The Island (1980), The Hand (1981) and Blame It on Rio (1984). When Caine was asked about this movie in an interview, he answered, “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” (classic anecdote … how did he survive making five paycheck films in four years though?)

Lorraine Gary’s final film, and her first film role in eight years.

The movie’s main tagline “This time it’s personal” was parodied in Back to the Future Part II (1989) where the fictional “Jaws 19”, directed by Max Spielberg, has a movie poster that says, “This time it’s REALLY personal!”. The phrase “This time it’s personal” has since become a clichéd tagline for several sequels. (Deserved there … although Back to the Future Part II must have been on their game. These two films were released in the same year)

Michael Caine accepted his role after seeing only the first line of the script, which was, “Fade in: Hawaii”. Caine had wanted to shoot a movie in Hawaii for a while. (lol)

The original script features a cameo for Richard Dreyfuss’s character from the original Jaws (1975), marine biologist Matt Hooper. In Hooper’s scene, he calls the Brodys and is greeted on the phone by Thea, who knows him as “Uncle Matt”. Hooper is established as being close to Michael and Carla, who calls him “my second favorite marine biologist”, and he gives them his condolences about Sean’s death. Hooper and Michael discuss their careers, the late Martin Brody, and Hooper’s once spending Christmas with the family, with Martin dressed as Santa Claus. The scene ends when Michael heads off to summon Ellen to the phone to talk to Hooper.

Roy Scheider was offered a cameo, but declined, stating “Satan himself could not get me to do Jaws part 4”. Reportedly, if Scheider had accepted the bit part, the shark would’ve killed his character at the start of the movie. The end result has Scheider in the film through archive footage from the original film that is inserted during some scenes in the film.

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in John Wilson’s book “The Official Razzie® Movie Guide.”

The only movie in the franchise which doesn’t take place in the summertime. The first Jaws takes place around July 4th, Jaws 2 takes place in June, Jaws 3 takes place at some point in the summertime, and this movie takes place around Christmas and New Year’s (Secret holiday film?)

According to this film, the events that occurred in Jaws 3-D (1983) never took place, which would explain why Mike did not marry Kathryn, and why he isn’t working as an engineer at SeaWorld, and this also would explain why Sean now works as a Deputy in Amity Island, as if he never moved to Colorado. (HA)

Would be one of Judith Barsi’s last films before her untimely death, at the age of ten, one year after this film’s release. Lance Guest, who plays her on-screen father Mike Brody, served as one of her pallbearers at her funeral. (Oh gosh, that is a terrible story)

Bruce the Rubber Shark was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor in this film, thus making him the first animal nominated for one. (Probably the first not-real thing as well)

Michael Caine said: “Won an Oscar, built a house, and had a great holiday. Not bad for a flop movie.” He was paid 1.5 million dollars for seven days work in the Bahamas, and the schedule was so tight, that the producers were unable to spare him, so that he could attend the Oscar ceremony, and he went on to win the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

Mario Van Peebles wrote his own part.

Michael Caine is the second actor to follow up an Academy Award-winning performance with a Razzie Award-nominated performance in a Jaws (1975) sequel. The first was Louis Gossett, Jr., who won an Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), and then was nominated for a Razzie for Jaws 3-D (1983). (Amazing. Why did I not remember that Louis Gossett, Jr. won an Oscar?)

Set mostly in the Bahamas, the film’s storyline includes its Junkanoo Festival, previously known to movie-goers from also featuring in the earlier James Bond movie Thunderball (1965). The annual parade is also featured in the later movie After the Sunset (2004). (Bahamas baby. We are a-traveling the Caribbean)

Mostly set in the Bahamas, the bulk of the movie was filmed on Oahu, Hawaii’s North Shore, near Turtle Bay, and on the northeast side of the island.

Director Joseph Sargent briefly looked into the possibility of producing the movie in 3-D, and contacted the company who had supplied the cameras for Jaws 3-D (1983). However, they told Sargent that they could not guarantee the cameras would work reliably in the climate of the Bahamas, and so the idea was scrapped. (Good)

Comedian Richard Jeni considered this the worst movie of all time, and built a substantial portion of his stand-up comedy act around it. (Lol here’s the link)

On the TV Tropes site, the film, specifically the novelization, is the Trope Namer for Voodoo Shark, defined as an attempt in a story to explain away a plot hole, except that it falls flat, because the explanation itself is a plot hole, and which ends up raising more questions. The name of the trope refers to the novelization of the film, which explains the shark’s motivations as being the result of a curse by a voodoo witch seeking revenge on the Brodys after a scuffle with Michael. (HOLY SHIT THEY DID HALLOWEEN IT!)

According to ‘Rating the Movies,’ “After a miserable theatrical showing in the U.S., the film was given a new ending for its European release.” The ending is the version where when the shark is stabbed, the shark is blown to pieces (using three shots from the first movie). This ending also has Jake (Van Peeples) floating around after the shark’s destruction. When the film was released to video in North America, the European ending was used. When AMC aired Jaws: The Revenge in the early 2000s, they would show the American ending where the shark is stabbed, bleeds profusely, then sinks. As of 2014, however, AMC shows the European ending, rather than the American one. This often leads to confusion for viewers on the original ending, when watching a re-run on television. (Wowza, that is a bit nuts)

The shark’s head exploding is explained when Jake throws an explosive, that’s powered by electrical impulses into the shark, before he is grabbed by the shark and taken under the water, and later when the shark is impaled by the broken bowsprit in the exact spot where the bomb is, it ignites the bomb, which causes the shark’s explosive demise. (I’ll leave that there, that is ludicrous)

Awards: Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Visual Effects (Henry Millar, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Joseph Sargent, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Lorraine Gary, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Michael Caine, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joseph Sargent, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael De Guzman, 1988)

The 13th Warrior Recap

Jamie

Ahmad Ibn Fadlan is an ambassador from Baghdad who gets caught up in a Viking quest to defend a town under attack from mysterious monsters. Can he stop the monsters (and get (with) the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… The 13th Warrior.

How?! Ahmad Ibn Fadlan is a totally rad emissary for Baghdad, exiled because he was just too sexy and the ladies loved cool Ahmad. On his journey as an ambassador he meets up with a bunch of even radder Vikings who are informed that they must help a king whose lands are being attacked by mysterious monsters. They are also told that a stranger, a thirteenth warrior, must join their group if they hope to succeed. Obviously Ahmad is chosen because he’s rad and ladies love him. They go to the Viking manor and find evidence that the rumors are true and the town is being attacked by a mysterious force that eats their victims. They prepare for battle, but after a brief skirmish they realize they’ll have to do more to survive and they start to put up barricades. Meanwhile the ladies still love cool Ahmad. After a large nighttime battle with the monstrous force they again realize that they’ll have to do better to survive as their group is dwindling (the ladies still love Ahmad to this point). They go to an oracle and are told to take out the enemy Queen in her lair and kill their leader who possesses the Horns of Power. They proceed to go there and do so, but the leader of the Vikings is poisoned. In his dying effort he is able to defeat the final forces and crush that dude and his Horns of Power. Everyone is sad but also happy and Ahmad forgets about the ladies that loved him and heads back home. This may in fact be my worst ever synopsis. I have only the movie to blame. THE END.

Why?! Ahmad really just gets caught up in all of this, but eventually you get the sense that he kind of digs the Viking lifestyle of fighting and drinking and, pardon my French, making sweet, sweet love to Viking queens. He always like “No, I can’t do that for God or whatever,” but then he does… because he’s a Viking at heart.

What?! Before each battle Ahmad slams a couple Coors Lights and when the Vikings asks how that’s OK with his religion he exclaims “It is mere water to quench my thirst.” Seriously though I thought this section would be trouble until a prophecy at the end reveals that in order to conquer the bad guys they must defeat the leader who wears the Horns of Power. While perhaps not a MacGuffin in the truest sense of the word, it is definitely awesome in every other sense of the word.

Who?! There are two interesting credits here. The first is Dr. Leroy Perry, a sports chiropractor who got a special thanks on the film. He is apparently a big deal LA chiropractor and likely entered this production after Banderas sustained a back injury early in filming. For a while there he was part of a number of films, but IMDb doesn’t have any credits after this one. The second is that Michael Crichton ended up doing uncredited reshoots on the film and is listed as an director on IMDb. This is the reason that the film was not released for over a year after filming as Crichton had final cut rights and didn’t like McTiernan’s version (which also tested poorly). So he did his own reshoots and that’s what we ended up seeing. This also may explain why the film is so close to the book (which is nearly unfilmable) as it appears that Crichton had a lot of control on production.

Where?! The whole setting can only really be gleaned from the book/historical person that the story fictionalizes. So we can presume this takes place in modern day Russia… but it’s kinda lame. D

When?!  One can assume that this takes place in the 10th century because Banderas’ character is based on a real person who wrote about the culture of Vikings in his travels. The whole story was concocted as a reimagining of the Beowulf mythos as a twisting of the true tale of a Viking battle. But of course no one in the film is like “Yo, it’s the 10th century, bro. Viking time.” D

This film is really interesting… but no matter how much I wanted to say that it was underrated and actually good I couldn’t make myself do it. Why? Because it’s kinda boring and they botched the big action pieces that could have taken it to another level. I actually listened to the audiobook for the novel that this was based on and it is shockingly similar. That would be fine except that as I listened to it the only thing I could think was “This could be a really great film as long as they made major changes and really amped up the action scenes.” Guess what? They didn’t. And in the end it pretty much matched the book. Interesting as a concept, but boring as a film. Matched with it was Edison Force starring our boys LL Cool J and Justin Timberlake. JT in particular gives the worst performance I’ve actually seen put to film and the entire film seems like a less successful 88 Minutes or Righteous Kill (if that can be believed). It is a terrible film and also kinda funny to watch at times if only for JT embarrassing himself. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever just want to go on a relaxing holiday up north, a little sauna, a few laughs, but then get hooked into a battle against some cannibals with magic horns of power?! Me neither, but Ahmad Ibn Fadlan did, let’s go!

The Good – Let’s get this out of the way: I dug this movie. And not in an ironic way. If this was cleaned up a bit and was made in like 1980 I think it might have been kind of good in the Conan the Barbarian kind of way. But it was instead made in 1999, and is not cleanly made. So it is merely a somewhat tolerable film in the medieval genre, that is really the best you can say about it. Beautiful though.

Ps View on the Preview – The director of this film is actually really interesting. Made Predator, Die Hard, and The Hunt for the Red October back-to-back-to-back. He was a true legend, someone that is still mentioned as “hey, maybe he could still make something great if given the chance.” But he perjured himself to the FBI and went to prison and now no one seems to want to touch him with a ten foot pole. And by all accounts this film was a complete mess with audiences and cut / shot to shit by Michael Crichton. It is bananas, and the only reason this is even on BMT’s radar.

The Bad – And it is cut to shit. The movie is at turns kind of boring and extremely confusing. It is beautiful, but that only really gets you so far. It helped immensely that I brushed up on my Beowulf so I could pick up what they were … just kind of throwing willy nilly at the screen. I also had to watch the film in pieces. It really doesn’t grab you. And this is coming from a person who said he dug the film. Yikes.

Get Yo Rant On! – It is tough to think on something to rant about here … how about the gall of Michael Crichton to think he could make Beowulf interesting (his words not mine, that is literally why he wrote the book, as a kind of dare to make the story interesting to modern audiences). I can’t speak to whether the book was successful … but the movie is pretty boring, so probably not very successful there. I still bet you could make the story interesting though … like set it on an alien planet and make Grendal an actual alien monster or something? I’ll take my payment for this idea in Bitcoin, thanks.

The BMT – Naw, this isn’t a BMT film at all … but I could probably watch it again. For the vistas! I love vistas and this movie has them in spades. But it is nowhere near as bad as a BMT film should be. It is one of the better actual films we’ve seen for BMT in the last year easily … which I guess is terrible?

Welcome to Earf – Antonio Banderas is in The 13th Warrior and Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone who was in The Zookeeper with Adam Sandler who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – The only mention I found in an actual worst of list was it being mentioned as being … not that bad. But it is easily found on worst flops lists. Like this one. That is basically why it is famous after all.

Bring a Friend – This week we watched Edison as part of the bring a friend cycle. And unfortunately the only thing you can really say about it is that it is generic. Sure Justin Timberlake’s acting is straight up hilarious in the film. And some of the directorial choices are kind of off the wall. But if you’ve seen any number of cheesy corrupt cop dramas you’ve seen this movie. There is no twist, or mystery, no killers like in Righteous Kill to keep things interesting. It is just m’boy Justin T cracking the case with good journalism and taking down some fratty F.R.A.T. bros. No biggie. As far as bring a friend is concerned though I would give is a D+. It is hard to fault the film for its mere existence, but why does it exist? Why did I watch this? I will never watch it again, and would never recommend it to anyone. The extra few points is because JT’s acting is amusing on occasion. If you like guns though there is a good shoot’em up right in the beginning. Watch the first 10 minutes and then turn it off.

I did not read the book.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The 13th Warrior Quiz

You have been chosen as the 13th person to take this quiz. Actually … thay is entirely possible given the number of people who read this website (heeeeeyyyyyoooooo, sick burn on us). Get ready for it, because it’s …

Pop Quiz Hot Shot

1) Why was Antonio Banderas’ character sent to the north in the first place?

2) And then why is he chosen as the 13th warrior to go on a short jaunt even further north to help handle a super tiny … cannibal problem? Super tiny. Don’t even worry about it, you’ll barely notice it.

3) And during the journey the northmen can’t help but make fun of this weirdo that is now tagging along with them. They specifically note his horse and sword. Why?

4) Why could Banderas drink alcohol even though he specifically says drinking is against his religion?

5) During the film there are four major battles. The first in the hall. The second is the big stand in the village against the calvary. The third is when they take the battle to the cannibals in their lair. And the final battle again is in the village. How many of the 13 warriors died in each?

Answers

The 13th Warrior Preview

Patrick and Jamie are transported to the Top Hat Land, the land of the Top Hat Man. Their tale of how they met, battled, earned a grudging respect for, and ultimately became good friends with the Top Hat Man is a really exciting tale full of adventure and good humor. Maybe someday you’ll get to hear it… it’s really great. Too bad this is a different story. They walk into Top Hat Man’s kitchen where he is doing his morning sudoku over a warm cup of the blood of innocents. He looks at us with surprise. ‘Oh hi, guys. I didn’t expect you. You need something?” Boy howdy, do they. “I need to escape the horrorscape that I’m trapped in before I am destroyed by the many terrors I’m encountering,” says Patrick. “And I need to totally own this vampire in a dance-off,” says Jamie. The Top Hat Man ponders while consuming one of his recently captured souls of the damned. “Hmmm, I’m only a simple all-powerful demon my guys. I think I can maybe do one of those things. Which should I do?” When Patrick open his mouth to ask for rescue from his dire situation he is quickly interrupted by Jamie, “I want to learn the Top Hat Dance to put this piece of shit Vampiro to shame.” Patrick winks out of existence. When the Top Hat Man finishes the Top Hat Dance Jamie realized it’s not that much different than the patented Twin Dance he and Patrick have mastered. “Seems pretty obvious in retrospect, Top Hat Man. Guess I didn’t really need your help in the end. But nice seeing you.” Jamie winks out of existence.

Back in Dracula School, Jamie pulls out all the stops in performing his sensual yet classy dance routine. Vampiro is stunned. He falls to his knees and stammers, “Just as the Viking legend foretold…” That’s right! This week we’re watching The 13th Warrior. It is the classic story of a Middle Eastern emissary caught up in a Viking war that we know and love. It was well known at the time of release for being totally recut and reshot after test audiences responded poorly to it. It ended up sitting on the shelf for almost a year before finally being released in 1999. Let’s go!

Back in the alleyway set Patrick reappears. Now that he thinks about it he kind of wishes he had also asked to learn the Top Hat Dance, although he doubted it was better than their patented Twin Dance anyways. Nearby Sticks and Stones, unaware that he has returned, are finishing the end of a heated conversation. “Gosh dern it! We lost him! If our corrupt police captain who wrapped us up in all of that corruption with that corrupt city official finds out, that’s it! No more corruption money for us, Sticks and Stones, the most corrupt cops in the Z-Movie Multiverse.” At that moment Sticks notices Patrick. “He’s back” he growls, “how much of that did you hear?” That’s right, we’re also watching Edison (Force). Known either as simply Edison or Edison Force, this star-studded film (featuring Morgan Freeman, Justin Timberlake, and *cough* Kevin Spacey) was shelved for one year before being quietly released as a direct-to-DVD feature. Let’s go!

The 13th Warrior (1999) – BMeTric: 16.6

The13thWarrior_BMeT

The13thWarrior_RV

(Wowza that 2011 inflection! It is so steep there! I think this kind of confirms one of the original theories I had about all of this. The 13th Warrior is exactly the type of film people outside of the US would end up voting a ton on. So it is very likely that is why the vote count increased so dramatically at that time.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  In ancient times, exiled Arabian nobleman Banderas travels with some Norsemen to their homelands, there to face possibly supernatural nighttime marauders, who eat their victims. Sturdy, action-packed adventure with horror overtones, realistic but in the heroic tradition, shot on spectacular Canadian locations. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead, itself inspired by true travel writings and the medieval tale of Beowulf.

(A true rarity. Two and a half stars is pretty common in my opinion, Leonard Maltin is pretty gentle with a lot of reviews. But three stars points to this being possibly genuinely enjoyable. Maybe he just loves the visuals more than he hates the muddled story.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui7GUCzlBTM

 

(I. Am. Getting. Amped. Although you can totally see why this is considered a complete mess of a production, so … I guess we’ve got that going for us. It isn’t surprising that the critics tend to say it looks nice, but is thin on plot. This trailer proves that: it looked nice, but hey, guess what, you don’t need a plot in a trailer.)

Directors – John McTiernan – (Known For: Predator; The Hunt for Red October; Die Hard; The Thomas Crown Affair; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Future BMT: Medicine Man; Last Action Hero; Nomads; Basic; BMT: Rollerball; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Known for including unsubtitled foreign language dialogue in his films. Born into the biz, but basically retired after Basic.)

Michael Crichton – (Known For: Runaway; Westworld; Coma; The First Great Train Robbery; Future BMT: Physical Evidence; Looker; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Basically stopped directing after the 80s. This is literally his only credit after 1989 for directing and it is via uncredited reshoots. Just nuts.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel) – (Known For: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Jurassic World; Jurassic Park; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Twister; Jurassic Park III; Runaway; Westworld; Disclosure; Coma; The First Great Train Robbery; The Andromeda Strain; The Terminal Man; Future BMT: Congo; Sphere; Rising Sun; Looker; BMT: Timeline; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Probably my favorite thing about Crichton is his kind of obvious hatred of scientists (at the very least his penchant for making them pure evil). They always know what is best, but their hubris ends up nearly destroying the world. What disasters!)

William Wisher (screenplay) – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; Future BMT: Exorcist: The Beginning; I.T.; Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist; BMT: Judge Dredd; The 13th Warrior; Notes: Had bit parts in both Terminators and The Abyss … so probably knows James Cameron quite well.)

Warren Lewis (screenplay) – (Known For: Black Rain; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: He is credited as contributing to the 1969 film Latitude Zero. This seems extremely unlikely as it is 20 years prior to his other credits and would make him 70 years old at the very very least. But I can’t find additional information on his birthdate or age anywhere.)

Actors – Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Shrek 2; Shrek Forever After; Shrek the Third; Spy Kids; Philadelphia; Desperado; The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water; Knight of Cups; The Mask of Zorro; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Acts of Vengeance; Frida; La piel que habito; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; The 33; Bullet Head; Puss in Boots; Black Butterfly; Future BMT: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D; Machete Kills; Play It to the Bone; Never Talk to Strangers; The Other Man; The Legend of Zorro; The Body; The Big Bang; Original Sin; Gun Shy; Two Much; Autómata; Assassins; Of Love and Shadows; Justin and the Knights of Valour; Four Rooms; Imagining Argentina; Black Gold; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; The Expendables 3; The 13th Warrior; Notes: Was married to Melanie Griffith for nearly 20 years. He looked pretty swanky with his new GF at the Starlite Gala though.)

Diane Venora – (Known For: Heat; Romeo + Juliet; The Insider; The Cotton Club; True Crime; F/X; Ironweed; The Substitute; Hamlet; Wolfen; Bird; The Young Girl and the Monsoon; Looking for an Echo; Future BMT: Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; All Good Things; The Jackal; Surviving Picasso; Stateside; Three Wishes; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: Originally a theater actor. She even was reportedly fired from the show Thunder Alley because she was playing the part like she was on Broadway.)

Dennis Storhøi – (Known For: Zwei Leben; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: Norwegian actor. Nearly all of his credits are productions in Norway. It is hard to tell, but it is possible this was his one foray into an American production.)

Budget/Gross – $85–160 million / Domestic: $32,698,899 (Worldwide: $61,698,899)

(Yeah the budget numbers are all over the place according to the IMDb notes. It is probably in the $115 million range prior to marketing. Regardless one of the largest bombs in history.)

#51 for the Adventure – Period genre

13thwarrior_adventureperiod

(Only narrowly beats out The Three Musketeers (2011) which is … embarrassing. Had a bit of a lull, but it is kind of struggling to reassert itself. Kong: Skull Island and The Jungle Book suggest that there is still an audience for something like this … if it is attached to a known quantity.)

#15 for the Medieval Times genre

13thwarrior_medieval

(Our highest grossing. In kind of a lull now. Possibly because of things like Game of Thrones eating away a bit at its audience? Didn’t help that that King Arthur film bombed hard.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (29/88): Atmospheric, great sets and costumes, but thin plot.

(Thanks Rotten Tomatoes, Jesus. Could you maybe give me less to work with here. So basically … eye candy with literally nothing behind it? Whatever, this movie is going to be boring I bet. Reviewer Highlight – With a budget said to be more than $100 million, it displays a lot of cash on the screen, but little thought. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Umpteeth Bore-ior (B-)

thirteenth_warrior_ver3

(Did a little NYPost with that one. Not the best of the posters, but it’s what’s on IMDb so I default to that. I kind of like the spacing and all the pieces to this one including some font work. Should have played up the orange tones. Give it a little fire.)

Tagline(s) – Defy fear (C+)

An Ordinary Man…An Extraordinary Journey! (F)

(Two versions of the poster exist with these two different taglines. They should have burned one of them… I’ll let you guess which one. Defy fear is fine (although almost a tongue twister to say and mostly nonsense). The second one is… not good.)

Keyword(s) – arab; Top Ten by BMeTric: 62.5 Bitch Slap (2009); 61.7 Ishtar (1987); 54.9 Cannonball Run II (1984); 53.6 Best Defense (1984); 49.7 The Sin Eater (2003); 46.3 Legionnaire (1998); 44.3 American Dreamz (2006); 41.3 2012 (I) (2009); 38.8 Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012); 38.7 The Delta Force (1986);

(Oooooof what a keyword. Anyways, All of these sound awful and I want to see none of them. I also am unsure what 2012 has to do with arabs. Ishtar is fine, but Cannonball Run II is straight up racist. This keyword is bonkers.)

Notes – In accordance with the book, John McTiernan’s version of the Wendol’s mother was an old woman, which was filmed with veteran actress Susan Willis. When Michael Crichton took over and did the reshoots, it was decided that brutally killing off an old lady did not reflect very well on the heroes. Crichton decided after the fact to make her younger, sleeker and tougher. In the final released film, Wendol’s mother is played by actress Kristen Cloke (uncredited), but the final credits still list Susan Willis as the Wendol’s mother (although she is nowhere to be seen in the final cut). (This movie seems like a gem …)

Graeme Revell had composed a complete original score when the movie was slated to be released as “Eaters of the Dead” in 1998. But after the film was deemed unwatchable during test screenings, Michael Crichton took over the project and rejected Revell’s original score and brought in Jerry Goldsmith to rescore the film, renamed “The 13th Warrior.” (Unwatchable …)

Although rumors persist that ‘The 13th Warrior’ was one of the most expensive movie flops ever with a budget of $160m (the figure given on the-numbers.com for its combined production and marketing costs), the producers claimed that the actual cost of the film before marketing was $90m. In the U.S. The 13th Warrior grossed $32,698,900 and only $61,702,600 worldwide. (So a giant bomb, got it)

The film omits an explanation of who the “mist monsters” actually are. In the novel, author Michael Crichton reveals they were the descendants of the Neanderthals.

One of the Viking ships used in the movie is now to be found in the Norwegian pavilion in the EPCOT-center, Walt Disney World, where it is used as a playground for kids. The Disney-company is also the owner of Touchstone Pictures that made the movie. (Fun fact)

Since Michael Crichton published his novel “Eaters of the Dead” in 1976, the basis of this film, it has become regarded as one of the most notorious hoaxes in Librarianship Circles. The Ahmad Tusi Manuscript that Crichton referenced in his bibliography as being the source of this story, is completely made up. The name of the translator Fraus Dolus is in fact two Latin words meaning both ‘hoax’ and ‘fraud’. The University of Oslo, where this manuscript is supposed to be kept, have (since the book was published), on an annual basis had to send out letters telling enquirers that they have been the victim of a hoax. (That’s pretty good, have to give Crichton credit there, that is hilarious)

Adapting “Beowulf” for his novel and then for this movie, Michael Crichton changed some of the original names for ones that sounded similar: Beowulf is here named Buliwyf, Hygelac becomes Hyglak, the Grendel transformed into the Wendol, etc. (So yeah … this is just Beowulf?)

Originally titled ‘Eaters of the Dead’, the film went through several re-edits after test audiences did not react well to the initial cut. After re-shooting several key scenes with Michael Crichton taking over as director, the title was changed to ‘The 13th Warrior’. The budget, which was originally around $85 million, reportedly soared to more than $110-115 million before principal photography wrapped. With all of the re-shoots and promotional expenses, the total cost of the film was a rumored $160 million. (Wow. That is nuts)

When Ibn Fahdlan (Banderas) and Melchisidek (Sharif) enters the tent at the beginning of the movie the latter speaks Greek which eventually leads to a conversation with the viking Herger (Storhoi). Melchisidek speaks Greek, and though Herger obviously understands Greek he responds in Latin which Melchisidek fortunately understands.Though it is not stated why a Northman could understand both Latin and Greek as there were no official connection between Scandinavia and Byzantine in the 10th century, the logical assumption would be that Herger learned the languages due to him taking part in the viking raids/travels into modern day Russia (where the first scenes are filmed) and from there south into what was then the Byzantine Empire. The dominant language of the Byzantium realm was Greek with Latin as a second language. The vikings made at least one attempt at conquering the capital of the Byzantium Empire. (Whaaaaaaa, there are like a thousand notes like this on IMDb each one more confusing than the last)

Was filmed two years before its eventual release date, which had been pushed back several times. (And that is why we are watching it, for reals)

The idea of 13 warriors is taken from Scandinavian myths regarding the danish king Hrolf Kraki (Pole-Ladder). The legend goes that Hrolf Kraki had an entourage of 12 warriors (like Buliwyf in the film) and in some versions, one of them is Bödvar Bjarki, a hero who shares parallels with the hero Beowulf. Some scholars has suggested that the story of Bödvar Bjarki is simply another version of the story of Beowulf. (Very interesting stuff)

In John McTiernan’s original cut there was no final duel between Bulywyf and the leader of the Wendol. (Huh, then why add it in?)

Director Stuart Gordon first optioned the rights from Michael Crichton’s book in the early 1990s and generated a lot of interest in the project, before ‘Martha Coolidge’ (QV) got interested before John McTiernan was ultimately actually hired to direct it. (Sounds like a real prize …)

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Recap

Jamie

Garfield is back, Jack! And boy howdy does he get into some trouble when he ends up in England swapped with an identical fancy Lord cat, Prince. Will Jon be able to get Garfield back (and maybe disrupt the bad guy’s dastardly plot (and get the girl)) before it’s too late? Find out in… Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

How?! When Garfield finds that Jon is preparing to propose to Liz he does everything in his power to stop it. When Liz is unexpectedly sent off to England to give a speech at a big symposium, Jon decides to be all romantic and surprise her there with a ring. Unbeknownst to him Garfield and Odie tag along in his luggage. At the same time a cat that looks exactly like Garfield named Prince inherits a manor instead of the expected heir, Dargis. Upset that he won’t be able to turn the place into a booming spa business, Dargis throws the cat in a river (seriously). When Garfield gets lost he is picked up by the caretaker of the manor, mistaking him for Prince and vice versa when Jon does the same with Prince. They both learn to love their situations with newfound appreciation of lasagna and dancing and shit. When Prince finally makes it back to the manor he teams up with Garfield to take down Dargis. Jon, Liz, Prince, and Garfield storm Dargis’ meeting with the manor’s lawyers only to have Dargis take Liz hostage… which ends fine when Dargis gets his dick chomped by a dog (yup). Jon then proposes to Liz, thus setting up the squeakuel where Jon and Liz are about to have a baby, which freaks out Garfield and Liz’s cat, Arlene. They attempt to throw a monkey wrench into their babymaking plans, but ultimately find that they love their expanding family all the same with the surprise twist when Arlene has kittens. That’s all made up. THE END.

Why?! Garfield’s main motivation is to disrupt Jon’s plans to propose to Liz. He seems to think that Jon getting married will result in him taking a secondary role in Jon’s heart and thus is scared. As for the antagonist, he just needs to get Prince out of the way so he can inherit the manor and turn it into the moneymaking luxury spa he’s always wanted. While it would seem like he should just wait a decade for the damn cat to die of natural causes, I think they imply that money was tight and this might be his only chance… I think. I may have made that up in my head because there is no reason to not just continue to freeload and wait for the cat to die.

What?! No major product placement and no MacGuffins. Instead I looked around to see if there was any interesting connection between this film and other films. Indeed I was surprised and delighted to find that somehow this has the exact same plot as Beethoven’s 4th starring Judge Reinhold (and a St. Bernard). This is why we’re here. To make sure you know this.

Who?! Twin Film Alert? Are Prince and Garfield twins? I mean they are certainly optical twins (in that they look exactly like each other) but I’m not sure it would be contended that they are actually genetic twins… perhaps relatives of some sort lost to time. Still, I think it’s fun that an argument can be made that both the Garfield films are twin films.

Where?! England, duh. And it is certainly central to the plot given not only the sights and sounds of London that we are provided with, but the fact that the Peerages of England plays a vital role in the plot. Gotta give this an A. Just the notch below calling this Garfield: A British Invasion or something.

When?! I. Do. Not. Know. God… why do you have to keep asking when Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties takes place. I don’t know, OK? Is that OK by you? Seriously, I didn’t really check when this took place and am definitely not going back through to see what I can find. Deary me, no. F.

Now this is the derivative piece of garbage that I kind of expected from the first one. Just putting Garfield in a different country with a twist on a classic (cliche?) tale and them eating beef pie and stuff. It is just not good. It also seemed like in the end they maybe got tired and stopped writing plot, because the latter part of the film is just littered with montages that are more or less meaningless. Still only 80 minutes though so that’s good. As for A Talking Cat!?!, a chill went down my spine when I started this film. I’m a little confused as to why and how the film actually exists. Was it a bet? It is straight up the level of filmmaking of high school productions. It was weird and unpleasant but I could see it being really fun to watch in a group because of how weird and unpleasant it is. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever read Garfield and think “I wish this could be more like the literary classics of my youth!” Well guess what? If you just lift (oh so subtly) the plot of The Prince and the Pauper it can be! And we get Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. What does the classic Mark Twain novel to do with the classic Dickens novel? Well … nothing. Let’s go!

The Good – An absolutely devastating pun in the title. Again, I actually don’t think Garfield’s CGI looks too bad considering he (and Prince) are constantly surrounded by actual animals. Sweet London vistas.

Ps View on the Preview – After the innocuousness of the first film, this one … looked like they Marmaduked it. You see, in Marmaduke, instead of just telling children the story of Marmaduke (who, it would seem, lived in Kansas in the original strip) they instead started the film by having Marmaduke move to Los Angeles. This distracted from what is important (Marmaduke is a giant dog, and his unmanageable size gives his owner a headache!) and instead created a false story about Marmaduke trying to fit in in a new place. Going in I was poised to hate it.

The Bad – I felt that critics were a bit too harsh on the original Garfield which, in retrospect, served as a fine transition for a classic comic character to live action. It kept the movie isolated to the familiar Garfield world. The sequel throws all of that goodwill in the trash and goes straight for the oh-so-simple fish-out-of-water story as expected. You straight Marmaduked it, son! Every single thing that my mind was able to gloss over in the previous installment all of a sudden came into stark and horrific detail once Garfield is asked to interact with the unfamiliar. Everyone is a non-character with little to no depth … which is glaringly obvious once they are placed into real life London (and … really fake just-outside-of-London). Garfield becomes merely a joyless kids’ comedy. Poor show chaps, poor show.

Get Yo Rant On – Alright Jon Arbuckle you piece of garbage. You illegally imported two animals into the UK. I don’t think Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is going to believe your excuse of “my cat snuck into my bag and I didn’t notice”. And then, once there, you just basically let them run free? Is that hotel dog friendly? Did you even inform the cleaning staff that you had animals in the room and that they should be cautious when entering? You didn’t feel the need to pop a do not disturb sign on the door so they wouldn’t open it? And you lose your cat (and honestly, more importantly, your dog, which may contain parasites that could be ecologically devastating to the British dog population … you seriously are just unconcerned about heartworm you goddamn asshole?). Goddamnit, Jon! Get your life together! End rant.

The BMT – This can be filed under kids’ film with Marmaduke. I still don’t really like watching them, they are mostly dull, but I do appreciate the variety of kids’ films out there. You have the ridiculous B-plots. The fish-out-of-water fare. The just goofy for the sake of being goofy stuff. There is a kind of fun variety, and mostly the good ones are just heart warming and amusing enough to pass. This is in the fish-out-of-water field, and if you want to get more specific a fish-out-of-water sequel. I did manage to find a good version of this tale: Babe: Pig in the City, where they took the famous Babe and put him right out of that water.

Welcome to Earf – Jennifer Love Hewitt was also in Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties and I Know What You Did Last Summer with Freddie Prinze Jr. who was in Wing Commander with Matthew Lillard who was in In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf (again)!

StreetCreditReport.com – Kind of shockingly I can’t find any lists with this on it. It did get nominated for two low-level Razzies which is cred enough I guess. It also bred this thing, which is a pretty standard experiment at this point (although I typically hear of it concerning someone watching the same film every week/day for a year). My favorite part is the guy ultimately marking out the general themes of The Prince and The Pauper. Why yes, this is a satirical take of “it’s the clothes that make the man” more or less.

Bring a Friend – This week we watched A Talking Cat!?! as part of the Bring a Friend cycle. Ultimately the film is one of the loosest interpretation of what a film can be that I’ve seen. The initial fright you experience realizing what you’ve gotten yourself into is somewhat amusing, and the third act is just ridiculous enough to warrant the cult status. The film is in no way entertaining though, mostly just pointless and dull. I could believe that one needs an audience to really appreciate it, or that the viewing experience ages a bit once you know how to pick up the odd beats the film is laying down. And I use the term film loosely. I think I want to give it a C-. This is basically the bare minimum I would expect from a cult bad film, and is borderline boring trash, saved only by the soothing monotonous line reading of Eric Roberts as Duffy the Cat. Mark it down based on the initial terrible impression the film gave.

Now you might ask: did you read The Prince and The Pauper? … Nope.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs