Anatar (2022) [REVIEW] | Howard The Fuck

No, this isn’t a typo. And it’s not that kind of pun.

And yes, this poster is 100 % legit.

Since it’s my birthday, let’s review a movie i’ve been meaning to cover here for a while.

This is an actual italian parody/spoof of Avatar, that released in italian theathers, for actual money, with the intent of launching a new brand of “cinepattone” (aka a type of italian extremely low brow dumb comedies that once infested theathers every year around christmas), the “spaghetti-fi”, in the words of Anatar’s producer Salvatore Scarico, whom also literally and openly calls this an Avatar’s mockbuster film.

So much for clarity.

Reeling back my jaw from the freezing pavement after realizing this isn’t a troll style marketing campaign for another, real movie…. i must also point out this was never really properly advertised anywhere (or almost anywhere) and i stumbled upon its existence last year while browsing upcoming early dicember cinema releases here.

While this also gives me whiffs of Creators: The Past (a huge italian scifi epic that flopped back into the obscurity from whence it came)… you know, at least they marketed it at popular Italian anime/manga/videogames cons that year, Lucca Comics & Games. They tried proper. And at least that movie had William Shatner.

Here they were so spineless that at the last second (literally, 2 days before the intended 1st December release, hence 2 weeks before Avatar: The Way Of Water opened in theathers here) they chickened out – ha ha – and rescheduled the release between January and February 2023.

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King Of The Lost World (2005) [REVIEW] | Simians & Dragons

If there’s a big blockbuster movie coming and somehow involving monsters or aliens (among others) or elements that also relate to “B-movies”, you can bet The Asylum has already launched a mockbuster of it one week earlier or after, because they’re the Zoidberg of the film industry…. well, not quite, because they have actual budgets that don’t involve papermaciè monsters and so on.

BUT WAIT, this time we have a rare example of a “mockbuster double combo”, one that ironically did better to skirt around copyright lawsuits than what the later did with mockbuster of first The Hobbit movie from 2012, where they got themselves a lawsuit as they were stupid enough to use the word “hobbit” in the title of their mockbuster movie, resulting in the movie itself being delayed.

Obviously it was released to cash into the Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake (literally released 1 day before the Peter Jackson’s movie hit theathers, classic), but cleverly didn’t use the word “kong” in the title or marketing (which got 1976’s A*P*E in trouble), which also has the benefit of making this one sneak by quietly as you won’t find it by simply searching for “king kong films”, and also attaching itself to The Lost World, as in the original novel by Conan Doyle, not “Jurassic Park 2”. But did – because it was legally fair – put on the cover of the DVD this phrase “the epic story that inspired King Kong and Jurassic Park”. Which is technically true. 🙂

So is this the mash up of both King Kong and The Lost World the title promises?

Basically, yes. Kinda. By that i mean that the basic premise it’s The Lost World, and ultimately the plot follows more the beats of that instead of King Kong’s, but eventually we have natives… not facing other more primitive ape-men, but making ritual human sacrifices to appease the creatures of the jungle. Yep, you’d think it would make sense to have them making tributes/sacrifices to their giant ape god, but i guess that way the company would seem begging to be sued again, so nope, the giant ape in question doesn’t actually have anything to do with anything else besides just existing and being feared by all creatures, he just shows up fighting some giant dragon-flying lizards and accidentally ruins the ritual.

Also, the natives aren’t actually natives (more on that later) oddly brainwash the survivors to join them, those they don’t choose as sacrifices, and since there’s no Empire State Building for “Ding King” to fall over (there are planes and jets, interestingly enough), the giant monster will have to be dealt with the only sensible solution available: nuking his ass to oblivion.

Yep, this is exactly how they dealth with the “dinosaur” in “King Dinosaur”, because when in doubt, ask yourself how Bert I. Gordon would have written the finale for your film. Then at least make your own footage for the rushed resolution.

Speaking of the monkey, it show ups early….. but it’s also hidden at the same time, because the effects are so bad and it’s shown in such quick cuts you can’t even screenshot the darn thing to see any detail of this “vague blurry giant monkey” thing that showed up on screen for a second. Even when it’s finally shown properly (in the last 10 minutes)…it still looks quite blurry.

Here’s the part where i would try to mount a legit, proper critique of the special effects… to just take the piss on them, but to be honest it’s exactly what i expected from an Asylum movie (especially a pre-2010s one), any further elaboration it’s really pointless and devoid of value for anyone.

BUT i didn’t expect them to pull off shit like “mummy mannequin” that’s supposed to be one of the guys being attacked, immediatly encased in giant spider’s webbing and dropped as a decaying mummified corpse 2 seconds later. It’s not that it looks bad, surprisingly, but its the way it’s presented that sucks, you could at least try to make the damn thing look as big as the person it’s supposed to be, or to make it look like it has some weight to it. Come on.

If nothing else, it starts pretty fast with a plane crash… as in, no pussyfooting around with establishing any of the characters or even spending some time on the plane ride itself, there’s no time or money for that, let’s get to the disaster already, we’ll figure everything else (like characters or motivations) later. Maybe.

As you could have guessed, the movie at its heart it’s a very loose adaptation of The Lost World, it’s no period piece of sorts (as it’s not set in the early 20th centhury like the original novel was), to be honest though i really didn’t expect it to be, since even their later 2009’s adaptation of The Land That Time Forgot wasn’t… totally, they at least found a way to kinda do both with the sci-fi twist of a portal/rift… but then again they did went with the Bermuda Triangle angle for that.

Here we don’t have any sci-fi elements, but we have a strange subplot that the tribal people you expect to be natives from the island (as they were in King Kong).. aren’t actually natives, but people that also crash landed there, kinda reverted back to a tribal lifestyle, and also brainwashed other survivors of plane crashes into joining them.

Well, maybe some were natives, but i’m just guessing, it’s never properly explained, and the entire subplot makes very little sense, to the point it would be better to have it cut entirely and just have the tribal people in the “lost world” just being prehistoric humans native to the island, instead of this convoluted non-sense.

But i’m inclined to believe it’s written this way to avoid the script having too many similarities to King Kong (or The Lost Word), deliberately put there to differentiate it enough so to avoid any risk of being properly sued. Or maybe i’m wrong, i could be.

acting is the kind i would like to write off as “ok” for this kind of hokum, with the bigger names delivering the best performances (and they’re names a more general audiences might actually recognize, with Boxleitner and Steves Railsback)…and i will, the bigger actors do a decent enough job to even out the moments where other actors either way over or under act their parts in a noticeable way.

The acting overall leans more to the “decent” side than most Asylum flicks, same for the characters, and you also get giant scorpions, dragons, giant spiders, some of which were not in either King Kong nor The Lost World, but yeah, more monsters it’s a good trade off, all things considered. I’ll take this instead of no monsters or a lot of padding.

So overall, King Of The Lost World….it’s alright, things happen at a decent pace, it’s not overly long, honestly it’s kinda one of the best mockbusters the Asylum spunked out over time, as it’s in itself an entertaining jungle romp, aside from being a double bootleg of two classic tales (leaning definitely more on side of The Lost World than King Kong), despite the very little on-screen presence of “Ding King”.

It doesn’t mean it’s good, it’s not, but it’s NOWHERE as bad as the reception and metascore on IDMB would lead you to believe, there’s definitely some effort, and it’s not a bad effort, considerin the tiny budget it has, i mean, even the aforementioned The Land That Time Forgot -also from the Asylum – had a noticeably bigger budget put to it.

Might be worth a look if you’re up for some low budget jungle adventure mish mash from the infamous company or having a mockbuster marathon.

Not that bad, surprisingly so.

Mega Piranha (2010) [REVIEW] | Rider (Bycicle) KICK!

No, it’s not a spin-off of the “Mega Shark” series, nor a companion piece to Mega Python VS Gatoroid, despite being all produced by The Asylum. It’s that other type of Asylum movie, a mockbuster, but one incredibly desperate, in a way.

As in, the usually try to fool people by chasing after popular big budget production with cheap, fast features titled in a similar way to the movies they’re trying to indirectly rip-off, the plot is usually quite – if not completely – different.

Which is why we ended up with Transmorphers and stuff like Age Of Tomorrow, among many others. But, as i said, they usually do this with huge Hollywood productions, to feed from the crumbs left by the “actual movies” people went to see in theathers.

In this case, it just happens in 2010 we got a very loose remake of the original Piranha from 1978, Piranha 3D, handled by one of the better modern directors for horror and genre cinema, Alexandre Aja, and he definitely crafted a good modern B-movie in the spirit of old Roger Corman creature features, quite good, quite fun, which a direct sequel, Piranha 3DD, which went completely for total exploitation (almost Troma style), and was also quite fun in its own right.

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[EXPRESSO] Ape VS Monster (2021) | Cranky Kong VS Zilla

Maybe it’s the pandemic and all, but i kinda missed having the Asylum pop-up to do their mockbuster version of whatever Hollywood blockbuster came out.

There’s something oddly comforting, almost reassuring in that.

And given how much Godzilla VS Kong was delayed even before the pandemic, you’d think they would have used this unexpected advantage to make the mockbuster come out earlier, but nope, so only now it’s time for the off-brand, million times cheaper Asylum offering, with Ape VS Monster.

In mockbuster tradition, the plot actually doesn’t have much to do with the movie/s “mockbustered”, and this time it’s about an ape that comes back to earth from a space pod launched decades before, crashing and releasing an alien substance, accidentally making the ape itself and a passing Gila monster grow into giant size. Eventually they fight, after the faffing about of the human characters, mostly good for old Cold War cliches, and so Eric Roberts doesn’t have to leave his war desk too much, while the main protagonist tries to save the simian, Abraham, whom she shares a special bond with.

Of course they copied that here too.

Considering everything, like not having the backing of the Monsterverse narratives, the budget, and… The Asylum being The Asylum….i will admit they really tried with this one, even if the monsters – mostly – looks about as “good” as you would expect, the production values are slightly better than i expected (cinematography is also a tad better), and there’s a bit more to the plot and to the characters (mostly), direction is fine, making for an entertaining 90 minutes low budget flick.

I have more to say (and we’ll talk about this one in more detail eventually), but for what it is, it’s actually alright, honestly surprised it ain’t worse.

Dino Dicember #31: Triassic World (2018)

Because “Mesozoic Trilobite Massacre” was too original a title for The Asylum.

But then again, someone would have corrected them, since trilobites went extinct earlier. Still, i want a movie about them or other pre-historic creatures that aren’t dinosaurs. Come on, people, make it!

And yes, this is a mockbuster of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, with it being released 3 days earlier, at least in the U.S. It never came in theathers in my country, or any streaming service here, but there’s a UK DVD release for it.

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Dino Dicember #7: Carnosaur (1993)

Another famous one, the first Carnosaur movie, another example of good ol’ Corman’s craftmanship , as he throw this one together very fast, even by its own standards, just to have it out in theathers before Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. A tradition of knock-offs (and “mockbusters” before the term itself was coined) that can’t even wait for the movie they’re knocking off to be released, with scripts written on a bar napkin and then pushed into production, as they damn well knew they wouldn’t survive direct competition in theaher, a legacy carried on by The Asylum in the last decade.

With somehow worst results, but let’s stay on topic.

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Monster Island (2019) [REVIEW] | Some Monsters Mild Aggression Tantrum

Monster Island 2019.png

Cards on the table: it’s an Asylum production, and is both directed and written by Mark Atkins, who brought us Sand Sharks, Planet Of The Sharks, 6 Headed Shark Attack, and Knight Of The Dead, just to lay off the sharks (poor things).

The UK DVD cover art is actually decent, and promises a mindless monster melee between giant squid, werewolf thingies, reptilian monstrousities and one that seems like an Orga rip-off… I love these covers, i do, but often than not they end up being better than the movies themselves, when we talk mockbuster and D-movies powerhouses as Asylum, and like the bottom feeders they are, this time they released Monster Island to steal the breadcrumbs of Godzilla II: King Of The Monsters, which came out on the 30th of May 2019 in US theathers, and this one on the 1st of June, 2 days later. Continua a leggere “Monster Island (2019) [REVIEW] | Some Monsters Mild Aggression Tantrum”